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I restarted the iPhone, plugged in the lightning to supply the power, and started the upgrade from iOS 12.4 (I think it was) to 13.

It is stuck at the Apple logo screen with the horizontal bar, with the bar showing what is like 99%, and it has been like that for 1.5 hours now. What can be done?

P.S. To see what might be able to fix it. Please see my answer for the possibilities. Unfortunately, I waited for iOS 13.1, 13.1.1, and 13.1.2, and none could fix it.

  • With iOS 13 being so new it's gonna be hard to tell, but I would be tempted to just turn it off and back on again. – Steve Chambers Sep 20 at 13:42
  • Depending on what data is being migrated - interrupting this prematurely could cause data loss. But if you can’t wait overnight for the filesystem check and you know you have a backup - that restore process is pretty well documented. Is that what you seek here in the end? Reverting to 12.x during the signing window? – bmike Sep 21 at 17:00
  • what is a signing window? you mean the window at the Genius Bar in the Apple Store? They told me it is a one-way street: I have to go to iOS 13 no matter what (except perhaps restore to factory iOS 12). I waited for 6 hours and it was still stuck. I had perhaps 80GB of photos in the phone (with a few short videos, and it is 128GB phone, I think), but it shouldn't take that long because it may just need to rebuild index and not convert each photo. I could leave it on for 24 hours but I doubt it will fix the issue and the iPhone is getting a little hot when it is plugged in and working – nopole Sep 21 at 21:06
  • @bmike the Apple Store told me iTunes would factory restore it to iOS 13 by default. If needing to be iOS 12, it probably needs some extra steps. But if it is just factory restore, iOS 13 would be better than getting iOS 12 and then upgrading later. (by the way, I don't back up the iPhone) – nopole Sep 21 at 21:17
  • Apple Configurator can download IPA and restore. The code signing window is when Apple will validate their image for your serial number as valid so you can restore to older OS. You need USB and tools to accomplish this in general. apple.stackexchange.com/questions/286149/… – bmike Sep 21 at 21:49
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You may want to read If you can't update or restore your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch on Apple's website. Essentially, You have two main options.

1. Force restart your iPhone

In other words, force your iPhone to reboot. How you do this will depend on your model of iPhone. Since you haven't specified this, refer to Force restart iPhone on Apple's website.

2. Put your iPhone into Recovery Mode

If you have an iPhone 8 or X follow these steps:

  1. Connect your iPhone to a computer with a Lightning cable
  2. Open iTunes on the computer
  3. Press then release the volume up button on your iPhone
  4. Immediately press then release the volume down button on your iPhone
  5. Hold the side button, and keep holding it down till you see the Recovery Mode screen (this appears after the Apple logo

If you have an iPhone 7 follow these steps:

  1. Connect your iPhone to a computer with a Lightning cable
  2. Open iTunes on the computer
  3. Press and hold both the side button and volume down button on your iPhone
  4. Keep holding them down till you see the Recovery Mode screen (this appears after the Apple logo)

If you have an iPhone 6S follow these steps:

  1. Connect your iPhone to a computer with a Lightning cable
  2. Open iTunes on the computer
  3. Press and hold both the Home and Lock button
  4. Keep holding them down till you see the Recovery Mode screen (this appears after the Apple logo)
  • it is an iPhone 7 Plus. Does the Recovery mode requires that I backed up my iPhone earlier? I don't back up my iPhone. – nopole Sep 20 at 14:15
  • please see the PS in the original question – nopole Sep 21 at 1:28
  • @太極者無極而生 Your ps should all be an answer imo. The question is better when it’s short and simple. Many answers and even wrong answers are fine and better than a question that is more like drafts of a short story – bmike Sep 21 at 11:58
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First Attempt:

Following Monomeeth's answer, I pressed the Sleep / Wake button together with Volume down and the iPhone restarted, and the horizontal bar moved back 20% and worked its way up to 99% and stopped there for another hour. And I repeated this 2 times already and it was doing the same thing.

Second Attempt:

And then, I went to an Apple Store, and was told that I can try 2 things. Use a Mac to connect to the iPhone and use Recovery Mode, and try

  1. to upgrade it from the computer and hope to keep the data on the phone,
  2. restore it to factory setting, and lose all data on the iPhone.

So we tried (1) and it is the same result of 1% till finish and it got stuck. So it looks like I have to lose all data.

But there is a third choice: use an old iPhone first, and wait for iOS 13.0.1 or iOS 13.1, and see if the upgrade using the Mac can successfully handle it. My Photo Album on the iPhone was corrupt one time and the iPhone rebuilt the albums. I wonder if the upgrade to iOS 13 is related to this issue (the upgrade cannot handle the photos to rebuild the index for iOS 13, and it could not go on).

Third attempt:

I waited for iOS 13.1 and went into iPhone Upgrade from Macbook, and the weird thing is, the Macbook was downloading iOS 13.1, and after about 15 minutes, the download wasn't finished yet, but the iPhone went onto upgrade itself using iOS 13.0.

So I had to wait for the download to complete, and then go again into iPhone Upgrade for iOS 13.1.

And it didn't fix the problem. The upgrade again stopped at about 99% of the grey horizontal bar.

And then, I waited for iOS 13.1.1, and repeated. And it failed.

And then, I waited for iOS 13.1.2, and repeated. And it failed.

So I finally "restored" it to the latest iOS, which is 13.1.2, and it could restore and boot up this time. But I had to download everything and sign in again and set up everything.

I wasted about 8 hours total and lost almost all info on the iPhone. Sure, I should have backed up the iPhone regularly, but I wouldn't expect an iOS upgrade cause my phone not able to even boot up, and let me try and try again, with the final way to restore it to "factory".

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