I was using my iPad 2 today and everything was behaving normally. It had 90% battery and is running iOS 6.0. Then, suddenly, it displayed the Apple logo boot screen for a couple seconds and brought me to the device activation screen.

Upon my attempting to activate it, it tells me that "the activation server is temporarily unavailable" and suggests activating it with iTunes and a USB cable. When I proceed in this manner, iTunes shows it as a normal, activated device but refuses to sync with it.

A few minutes later, the exact same problem (and associated symptoms) occurred on my iPod touch (4th generation), also running iOS 6.

Additional info:

  • iTunes displays an alert, "The software on the [iPod/iPad] "[device name]" has expired and must be updated to a newer version." They are both completely up to date.
  • The contents of the devices are displayed perfectly fine in iTunes.
  • Both devices remember their lock screen backgrounds.
  • Syncing the device proceeds to step 5, until it says, "iTunes cannot sync apps to the [iPod/iPad] "[device name]" because the apps installed on the [iPod/iPad] could not be determined."

What in the world is happening, and how can I fix it?

  • I can see a couple topics on the Apple Support forums detailing the same issue from the past couple days, but they don't have any helpful information. – Timothy Mueller-Harder Oct 1 '12 at 1:37
  • Ah! It seems it's very probably because the beta has just expired! I'll try downloading a non-beta version from the Apple developer portal, as iTunes is too stupid to realize the difference between iOS 6b4 and iOS 6. – Timothy Mueller-Harder Oct 1 '12 at 1:42
  • Beta or pre-release software, with a few exceptions, is off-topic for Ask Different. – Daniel Oct 1 '12 at 3:53
  • @DanielLawson this isn't quite about beta software - I hit this problem too today and I was running the GM. I think the update to GM via the phone doesn't remove the beta4 timeout. – w00t Oct 1 '12 at 7:18
  • @DanielLawson But it's not like it falls under the NDA or anything... I'm not sure I see what the problem is here. – Timothy Mueller-Harder Oct 1 '12 at 7:26

This problem happened as the iOS 6 beta 4 expired today, so all devices that were running that version of iOS will need to be updated to the non-beta version. As iTunes and iOS don't see a difference between the two (as they're both called simply "6.0"), this update needs to be done manually, with the following steps:

  • Download the appropriate version of iOS 6.0 from the iOS Dev Center.

  • Connect the device to iTunes.

  • Option-click (Shift-click on Windows) the "Check for Updates" button on the Summary tab of the device in iTunes.

  • Select the .ipsw file in Finder and choose Open.

Your device will then install the update and everything should be fine.

  • 1
    Thanks this did the trick - I never used option-click on the Update button before. It saved me from having to restore everything from my old backup. – w00t Oct 1 '12 at 8:38

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