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Friday, November 26, 2010

Solved! iPad IOS 4.2 freezes at Preparing to Sync - Stuck, Stops, & Frozen (4.2.1)

Like a lot of the modern iPad owner's world, I had anxiously been awaiting the update my iPad from the Apple IOS 3.X to the newest 4.0 version, which was 4.2 (4.2.1). While it was supposed to be originally release on Friday, November was held back for 10 days before finally being release on Monday, November 22nd.

I, like many iPad users rushed to my iTunes (after making sure I had the latest version of both iTunes and OS X) to try and upgrade my iPad.

This of course, is when the waiting begins. First you need to download the 500MB+ IOS 4.2.1 update from Apple which can take some time depending on your connection speed. Once that's downloaded, then you are ready to start the upgrade.

For me, the upgrade went very smoothly until the point where iTunes displays the message "preparing to sync" then my Mac Mini (also applies to Macbook Pro, iMac, and other OS X devices) seemed to "freeze" where the upgrade stops, the Apple computer is frozen with the traditional beach ball spinning in iTunes and it appears that your upgrade is completely stuck.

After about 15 minutes, I started to get nervous. Still, with no error messages I decided to let it run...and run...and run.

About 55 minutes was the total time that my iOS 4.2 upgrade on my iPad took before it finally started syncing with the Apple iTunes software. 5 minutes later, the upgrade was completed and I could now use the Apple iPad on iOS 4.2.1.

Checking around to see if my experience was similar, there were a number of people reporting problems with the iOS 4.2.1 upgrade for the iPad (whether it was the 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB versions) freezing, locking-up, and even crashing when attempting to upgrade their devices.

In some cases, people were canceling, stopping, or closing iTunes and starting over after 10 or 15 minutes. Others were restoring factory settings, backing up, restoring, and then trying it all over again with the same results, often failing.

The key here is to LET THE "preparing to sync" run for as long as it takes. It could take anywhere between 5 minutes and 90 minutes (or even longer) depending on how much data (movies, music, photos, apps, etc.) that you have on your iPad. For example, my iPad is running at about 55GB, or 85% of the capacity. Be patient, let the beach ball (or hourglass if you're running in Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7) run for as long as it takes to complete. It will complete, at some point. Just be patient. :-)

The reason? The upgrade is processing all of your data and files during that time and depending on the volume and file size can take a considerable amount of time.

Don't have the time and want to speed it all up? Un-sync or remove all of your Apps, Videos, Music, Emails, Calendar, Notes, and Photos from the iPad so there is less data to process. You can shrink the time of "preparing to sync" down significantly and in some cases to less than 5 minutes if you're in a real hurry.

In any case, do not is just a matter of time until your iOS 4 upgrade completes!

Did this post help you out? If so, please leave a comment! Along with the amount of files or data and the time to process, if possible.


Barb said...

Thanks for the post! I was starting to worry! Now I will be patient and let it run.