For the last few days my iPhone’s home screen has been acting up. Â The bottom row of icons has been completely unresponsive. Â Since they are my least used icons, I only noticed once and a while, and they seemed to work intermittently.
Today though, the problem finally showed how bad it was. Â The bottom row on my number pad in the Phone application is completely untappable[sic]. The zero, star, and pound symbols respectively are impossible to tap. Â I had to make a phone call to a client and was not able to until I SMSed myself the phone number so that the iPhone made the number tappable.
Here is a quick video demonstration to show what this looks like.
The odd part, as I pointed out in this video, is that the keyboard in all applications functions just fine. Â All letters on the keyboard function as they should with no dead spots.
In case you are finding this page because you too have had similar problems, here is a list of the solutions I tried and what the result was.
- Restarting the iPhone by shutting it off and turning it back on.
- A hard restart by holding both the home and sleep buttons in.
- A full restore of the software using iTunes.
- A full restore without restoring a back up. (see update below)
None of these have resulted in a change. I still believe this to be an issue with the software, in some way, since the keyboard obviously functions perfectly.
Update 9:37pm EST: Helllooo Murphy’s Law! As fortune would have it, the moment I published this entry Viddler, and all of Limelight Networks, went down for a few hours. Go figure. It is back up now though.
Update 8:00am EST, June 17, 2008: This morning I decided I would do a full restore as suggested by Corey Wiley. The difference between the full restore I did before and this one, is that I downloaded the firmware update myself, and asked iTunes not to restore my back up. This would mean that every file on the iPhone would be brand-new.
This didn’t work either. In fact, the message that comes up immediately telling you how to edit your home screen, was nearly impossible to get rid of because I couldn’t hit the “DISMISS” button.
How to do a full restore
I thought I’d take a moment to jot down the steps to do a full restore of your iPhone’s software. It is fairly easy but I realize for some people this computer stuff isn’t second-nature.
- Open iTunes and dock your phone.
- Download the latest iPhone software. I recommend only downloading from Apple.com. No third party Web sites. To download the latest version, which is version 1.1.4 as of this writing, you may download it here.
- Hold down OPTION (on the Mac) or SHIFT (on Windows) and click the “Restore” button in iTunes when your iPhone is selected in the source list.
- Select the .zip file you downloaded. ((The .zip file is actually the .ipsw file you downloaded.))
- Once the iPhone is finished restoring, do not choose a back up to restore from, ask to set it up as a new phone.
Again, doing this did not solve my issue. However – I still believe this is a software issue because of the way the keyboard performs so well.
I’ll be calling the Apple Store nearest me, which is 1 1/2 hours away, and telling them that I’ll be bringing in my phone to have it replaced next week. Unless of course I’m really brave and I wait until the iPhone 2.0 software update comes out, but I doubt I can hold out that long for a working phone.
Update on June 26, 2008: Today I went to the Apple Store in Whitehall, Pennsylvania and, after waiting for an Apple Genius for only a few minutes, they quickly replaced my iPhone. Â They swapped the SIM card so my new phone was usable right away, but it didn’t have any of my contacts, photos, music, etc. on it. Â My recommendation is to make sure you do a full backup of your iPhone before taking it back.
A happy ending!
Last edited: 7:12pm EST on June 26, 2008.