I've been nagged to update an iPod to iOS 5 for weeks now. Since it's not mine, I want to be as careful as I can. I'll follow the procedure exactly as Apple recommends, and the device has never been jailbroken. For all intents and purposes, a normal iPod.

However, I'd like to inform this person of all the possible risks that this could have. Since I've never done this upgrade before, I have no idea how it'll go.

So, my question to you: What could happen and what is the likelihood that it will?

(I don't need impossible-to-find statistics, though they might be helpful; I'd just like something like 'Oh yeah, I updated 150 devices and 3 were xyz')

BTW, this is the second-latest iPod and it currently has iOS 4.latest.

  • Is it covered under warranty? You could post the model number or call apple and ask what the repair cost might be. Don't update(heck even borrow) someone's goods without knowing you can make it up if needed. This is an irreversible upgrade but very reliable ( failure rate well below one in 100,000 by my estimate )
    – bmike
    Mar 24 '12 at 16:48

The worst that could happen is that the iPod could become "bricked" (or unusable) during the install process. This rarely happens, but if it does, it's easily solvable by restoring from iTunes.

What I would suggest would be to create a complete backup of the iPod before you upgrade. Once you've done that, then I would have no worries about upgrading the software. Really, unless you're messing around with jailbroken devices, iOS software upgrades are almost always painless.

I've upgraded all four of my iOS devices. Only one has been jailbroken in the past, but all of them upgraded without a hitch. So rest easy, and have fun updating your software!


Don’t worry about it, nothing will happen.

In the off chance that something does go wrong, you’ll always be able to reset the iPod to factory settings and start over with a fresh iOS 5 install.

It’s virtually impossible to break an iPod just by upgrading it the recommended way.

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