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How to fix iPhone restore error 2005 and maybe other restore failures

After my Genius encounter last week, I got a very nice email from a former Apple retail employee (who requested anonymity) describing a “firmware reset” procedure that, in all likelihood, is what the Genius actually did to fix the problem I was having, in which the phone wouldn’t boot and attempts to Restore from iTunes failed with error code 2005.

This is also called putting your iPhone in DFU mode, or Device Firmware Update mode.

How to do a firmware reset
Note: If this screws up your phone, it’s not my fault. This is unsupported and you may have to go to the Apple Store anyway. Perform this procedure at your own risk.

  1. Connect the iPhone to your computer and have iTunes open.
  2. Press and hold both the sleep/wake and the Home button until the screen goes black.
  3. Release the sleep/wake button but continue holding the Home button for about 20 seconds.
  4. After about 20 seconds, you should see your iPhone pop up in iTunes in recovery mode, asking for a restore. Your iPhone LCD should remain black. This is firmware reset mode.
  5. Restore it from iTunes normally.

“From my experience, it does take a couple of tries to get it into ‘firmware reset’ mode. I stress when the iPhone initially pops up in iTunes, the phone will still have a black screen. Only after you start the restore will the iPhone display anything in the LCD.”

And another note about the declining quality and standards for the “Geniuses”:

As a former (Mac) Genius (worked 2007-09) […] I can attest that most Geniuses including myself did not know jack about computers and the quality has gone way down. They key factor is cost. Geniuses were paid $50-65k back in the day […]. Now an average Genius gets paid about $30-35k. Yes there are certifications, and all geniuses are certified Apple technicians. However, the certifications have been Fisher Priced very much down. For example, to certify today, a Genius is not expected to be able to use or even open Terminal and run commands. […] Remember a Genius is a retail employee, and believe me from first-hand experience, I was treated like one.

It’s not a huge surprise that Apple’s retail stores have gone through the same shift as every other retail chain: first hiring knowledgeable staff and correspondingly providing great service, then slowly cutting costs (matching common practices by other retailers) by reducing salaries and hiring standards until the salespeople are much lower-skilled and provide mediocre service at best. It’s just sad that even Apple succumbed to it.

Anyway, thanks to this anonymous ex-Genius, I’ll probably save myself (and hopefully many others who find this post) a few trips to the Apple Store.

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