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October 11, 2011

UPDATE: Facebook app bricking iPhones -- Facebook apparently working on a fix


For the latest update, see below.


It happened to me this morning: I downloaded the new Facebook app update for the iPhone and minutes later, my iPhone 4 fell into a dark coma.

I reset it several times (hitting the power and home buttons at the same time), then plugged it into my computer and iTunes. Twenty minutes later, it was back to normal. I deleted the Facebook app and reloaded it a few minutes ago.

It wouldn't download to my phone.

This appears to be a common problem, if you look at Twitter and search for "Facebook iPhone brick." Or just search for "Facebook iPhone." How common? Don't know yet. But it's clear Facebook has some type of quality control issue with the app.

On Apple's discussion forums, people have been talking about an apparent bug in the Facebook iPhone app. Check out: "Did the Facebook app update kill my phone?"

Did the Facebook update brick your iPhone? What are you doing about it?

UPDATE: At about 2:30 pm today, a Facebook spokesperson emailed me the following statement:

“We test all products vigorously before we launch them. However, as with all new technology products, occasionally unexpected bugs will surface once people start using products on a mass scale. We are committed to providing the best user experience possible, and are listening to and following up on feedback.”

In a followup email, I asked when an update that fixes the problem will be released, this person replied: "Will come back to you on this."

So, I guess we wait.

This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location:
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 10:32 AM | | Comments (20)
Categories: *NEWS*


I downloaded app last night and had no luck loading it even after turning phone off & back on. This morning same problem however when I turned phone off & back on this time app loaded but was extremely slow to change to groups or even home page. It finally seems to be working ok now.

I don't like the new facebook for iPhone I just upgrade it this morning & it sucks>:(

It bricked my iPhone last night. The install process froze up and I had to restart my iPhone (after giving it significant time to wake back up). After shutting it down, it refused to boot past the white apple logo screen, I had to DFU restore it.

I've just had this happen to my phone - a 3GS. The update failed, and hung the phone completely. Successive resets saw the phone hanging at the Apple logo. I plugged the phone into the Mac to reset / restore in iTunes and the phone wasn't even detected.

40 minutes later it now appears to have reset itself.

This app needs to be taken out of the store and investigated as it seems to be causing a too many issues.

Updated today to the new fb app and it froze. Took the phone and rebooted and got the message that the phone had gone into safe mode. preformed all procedures to get out of safe mode but the phone was stuck. preformed the hard reset, nothing, preformed the master clear and now the phone is stuck at the apple screen and has been for 3 hours now. iTunes does not even pick up that the phone has been pluged in. :(

Same thing has happened to me twice today. Don't download the new facebook app if you have an iphone. I have the 3GS and have never once in the two and half years owning the phone had this problem. I almost only use facebook as an app and will not be doing so until this is fixed. Thought it broke my phone. Calling it a brick is putting it too mildly.

Just had this happen to me. Successfully installed the fb app and it wouldn't load up. Deleted it and tried to re-install and it bricked my iPhone. Repeatedly coming up with the reset screen. I assume I'll have to restore it with itunes. Brilliant.

I updated @ 6am. The download got hung twice. I rebooted, finished to download on a WiFi, and the app wouldn't load. The description said to restart phone if this happened. I did, and I got a black screen until a did a soft reset. Then the iTunes logo popped up. I couldn't plug it in at the time, so I just left it. I woke up later in the afternoon, and both the phone and the app work perfectly.

Just wanted to provide as quick update as I'm the same user as a couple comments above.

Left the phone switched off/sitting with the apple logo on it for a couple hours. Then reset it and it worked.

Was hesitant to restore it as I hadn't synced it in a while.

To anyone else who doesn't want to lose data they haven't backed up, might be worth leaving for a couple hours and hope it fixes before restoring it.

This is APPLE'S bug, NOT Facebook's! I am an iOS developer and I can tell you, there is no way that an app should ever "brick" your phone. If the app is faulty then it should just crash. It is Apple's job to ensure that iOS is immune from this sort of thing (boot failure, locking up, etc.).

I've had several times where this happened with my phone. Each time was when I synced to MobileMe with my keychains from my desktop computer, then it corrupted/invalidated the app validation certificates that Apple invisibly stores on the iPhone. This made it not bootable, had to restore.

I wouldn't be surprised if when you upgrade Facebook, since now it's a universal app, then it gets a new "app id," which is an internal thing the iOS system uses deal with behind-the-scenes aspects. The new version probably tries to access the existing stored login on your Apple Keychain, but iOS might think that's an invalid access attempt. That would cause iOS to lockdown the phone, people say because it's part of the jailbreak prevention -- though in this case it's gone awry. I am just making an educated guess,

But no matter what, iOS should never do this because of anything that a validly downloaded app did. Your best bet is delete facebook app, delete your keychain sync data on MobileMe website, then resync MobileMe to desktop, then download new facebook app -- should work fine. You might even be able to just delete facebook app before downloading new version, but it's probably a good idea to resync keychains first to be safe.

You might even need to delete the facebook stored data from Keychain Access on your Mac.

Let me know if any Windows users are affected.

Noticed a new update and it seems to be working now.

Wow, all i did was delete the app and it froze my phone.

Do not like the new app. Is there any way to go back to the old version?? Wished I never updated it. My favorites are gone and I can't find them on the new app. Just want to go back to the way it was!!!!!

Hey everyone, just wanted to save some of you from restoring your phones unnecessarily. I too was stuck on the Apple logo screen after updating Facebook...I couldn't stand the thought of restoring since I hadn't backed up so I took Scott's advice above and it worked.

Just plug it in so the battery won't die on you and leave it sitting there on the Apple logo for a couple hours. Eventually it will come back to life.

Totally freakin' ridiculous that a simple app update caused all of this! I will be using the mobile webpage in Safari for a few days until this gets sorted out. Thanks everyone for the info!

This happened to my iPhone 4 and my wife's 3gs. I downloaded FB 4.0 and it never worked. I deleted FB and saw that a day later 4.0.1 came out. Attempted to install this and it failed. Did a hard reset on both phones and the phones stayed at the apple logo during boot. I reset them several times. The iPhone 4 finally came back 20-30 minutes later. The 3gs took overnight to boot back up. grrrrr

Annoyed that people got theirs working... I had exactly the same problem, failed installation and phone hung on apple logo, then eventually showed the "connect to itunes" screen. Thought all I could do was restore, and so I did - losing a year's worth of pictures, videos, contacts and messages in the process. Well done Facebook.

Had similar problems on 10/11/2011. Updated my Facebook app and it was hung up trying to open the app. Shut the app down and reset the phone. Tried opening the app once again and it was hung up again. Tried to shut the app down again, but the phone was locked up. Tried to do a hard reboot and all I got was the apple logo on my screen for 3 hours. I tried to do a restore from iTunes and the phone wasn't recognized. I work across the street from an Apple store and brought my phone over to their Genius bar for some was still bricked. They tried to restore the phone as well an received no recognition. But did say there was an unknown error message that caused the failure. They gave me a new phone...wish I had backed up more recently than 3 weeks ago.

Downloaded on an IPhone 4. The app just hangs at login. Deleted it now. Facebook are douches.

This EXACT thing happened to me yesterday. Apple screen and it would even connect to the charger. Had I not (in a fit of aggravation) found this blog I wouldnt have been able to save my phone. This trick made me scream for joy and I shared it with my friends on FB which i now will also be accessing via Safari until they work this out. Thank you put putting this out there....I "like" you :-)

I tried to update my Facebook app on my iPhone 4 last night. Minutes later, my phone got stuck on apple logo. Then I tried putting it on recovery mode. I tried to do a restore and I got error 3194 "IPhone could not be restored". Then I tried to schedule an appointment at our apple store and they said, my phone went bad. They won't replace it because it's "6 days" out of warranty. I went back to work and plug the phone in again and all of a sudden, it turned back on. I deleted the Facebook app because it is still on "waiting" mode for installation....I'm glad my phone is working again!!!!

Don't replace your iPhone. The bug just freezes your phone and drains the battery. Keep it charged and it will power on. I was afraid that I was gonna lose all my info but it just turned back on for me...

Good luck!

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About Gus G. Sentementes
Gus G. Sentementes (@gussent on Twitter) has been writing for The Baltimore Sun since 2000. He's covered real estate, business, prisons, and suburban and Baltimore City crime and cops. He was one of the first reporters at The Sun to use multimedia tools and Web applications -- a video camera, an iPhone -- to cover breaking news. He hopes to cover Maryland geeks and the gadgets and Web sites they build, and learn -- and share -- something new every day.

Gus has a wife, a young daughter and two feuding cats. They live in Northeast Baltimore.
This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location:

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