Friday, September 12, 2008

iPhone 2.1 - unknown application 0xE800002E - A FIX!

Update 11/24/08: With the iPhone 2.2 update I at first thought Apple had broken this in a new way, but I've also read reports that the bug has finally been fixed with iTunes 8.02 and iPhone 2.1. I'm now inclined to give Apple the benefit of the doubt, but do proceed with caution.

The bug that's been plaguing many iPhone users was not fixed with 2.1:
Gordon's Tech: iPhone application update error not resolved: don't buy your iPhone until it's fixed: "Unknown Error: 0xE800002E"
So the bad news is that Apple didn't fix the problem.

The good news is that after installing 2.1 and iTunes 8 there is indeed a fix. It works under 10.4.11 and it kept working when I upgraded to 10.5.4.
1. Upgrade to iTunes 8 and iPhone 2.1
2. Sync iPhone so you have a backup (I make a zip of my backup directory)
3. Restore iPhone to original state using the restore button on the info (a commentor says it's the summary tab) tab. This wipes the phone.
4. When the phone mounts iTunes will ask if you want to treat it as a new phone, or restore from backup.
5. Choose restore from backup. This doesn't restore everything -- but don't worry.
6. Sync (this will take a while if there's music involved) - this restores the rest.
When all is done everything should be in place. In the past the restores still left me with a lot of cleanup, but this time I only had to arrange a few icons. My passwords were largely restored, I did have to reenter my Gmail un/pw.

How do I know this solved the problem?
  1. When I did this iTunes said I had no updates. The App Store on the iPhone said I had 4 updates. I actually used the App Store to apply the updates -- a process that has NEVER worked in the past and has caused many problems for most users. This time it smoothly applied the updates, and when it was done it said there were no more left.
  2. Since applying the fix I have applied an app update from iTunes.
I assume this problem arose from one or more of:
  1. DRM schemes that don't handle changes in iPhone ID when there's a restore from backup (maybe fixed in 2.1)
  2. A permission or keychain problem arising from an OS X bug (because I've seen something similar on the desktop that breaks updates.
P.S. I need to credit a Mall of America Apple Store "genius". He thought this would work, though that was prior to 2.1. I think it really needed iPhone 2.1 and iTunes 8 to work and stay working.

Update 9/18/08: Based on the comments I can add
  • It's working very well for everyone. Cookies, game scores, etc are saved.
  • The icon order is not preserved -- you have to reorder your icons. I ran into this myself but only a small number were disordered. In some cases they're restored in alphabetic order. This is pretty easy to do of course.
Update 11/9/08: A commenter suggests doing a 2nd 'restore' to restore icon ordering:
...if you restore a *second* time, after the sync step, then all your icons and placements will be as they were prior to the restore.
My icon rearrangements weren't too bad, so, for myself, I'd choose to do some post-restore manual correction. If you're feeling brave and try this, please add a comment so we can see if it works for people for whom icon order restoration would be a big job.


Anonymous said...

thanks, that worked

Tim Reed said...

Seems to work on my iPhone 3G, iTunes 8 and Firmware 2.1. Installed outstanding updates to 2 apps. I'll keep you posted if there are any issues or related problems.

Anonymous said...

Did this save your data, ie: high scores in games, etc. I know they are just games, but I am tired of this bug making me delete and reinstall each time, losing all the settings, customizations, scores, etc. Apple should be truly ashamed of this bug

Anonymous said...

What is the backup named? Where can I find it? I'm on XP

John Gordon said...

I didn't look at games data, but I didn't lose any of my appigo tasks or other data.

I only had to reenter my google gmail passwords.

John Gordon said...

I don't know where the backup is stored on XP -- sorry!

Tim Reed said...

Hi Anonymous - This has info about the location of iPhone backups on XP:

Personally I know jack about Windows, so you're on your own. iTunes normally does a decent job of dealing with device backups and restores so you probably can just make sure you have a couple of backups in iTunes (check Preferences), then follow John's instructions. Works awesome for me, lost nothing, and don't have to deal with deleting apps to get updates installed, etc.

No promises though - your experience may end up a total disaster.

John Gordon said...

[I received a comment from anonymous, but on my iPhone my finger hit the wrong link. I'll post it myself ...]

Followup to earlier: I can confirm that it saved all my high scores, etc, and even cookies in browser, etc.

Nice... It did scramble the crap outta my icons on my 3 panel screens (it seemed to restore all my 3rd party applications in Alphabetical order.)

But it definitely CURED the 2 bugs I hated most: The 0xE800 error whenever I did an update: It Now Works PERFECTLY, silently updating, and just working after sync, no delete and reinstall workaround needed; And a new bug in Remote 1.1, where I would get an error when trying to select a playlist song, but would work correctly when I chose a song by Artist or Album listing.

By the way, I used to see the Apple Genius Bar employees do and recommend this procedure all the time last year with the original IPhone. (But I only own 3G)

Anonymous said...

Finally a fix that seems to work. I believe they may have fixed the issue in iTunes 8.0 and iPhone 2.1 but you still need to do this backup/restore before it starts to work. It also solved the problem I was having of applications NOT being transferred to iTunes when downloaded directly to the iPhone. At last, everything is working !! :o)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip! One minor correction: "Restore iPhone to original state using the restore button on the info tab. This wipes the phone." should read "Restore iPhone to original state using the restore button on the SUMMARY tab. This wipes the phone."

Paul said...

I would like to testify that this solution resolved ALL of my sync issues between my iPhone 3G (with 2.1) and iTunes 8. After many hours and hours of headaches and frustration, I am finally able to transfer apps from the iPhone to iTunes and update apps from iTunes to the iPhone. Thanks so much!!

Paul said...

It half worked for me still says I have three updates that are already updated on my phone. Also, one application did not restore at all from iTunes, I had to delete it from iTunes then download it again and it came back. There are clearly still problems!

John Gordon said...

Hi Paul. I also found one app that installed in an odd way - not displaying the full name. I deleted it from iTunes and my iPhone.

I wonder if there might be a hardware defect in the mix of this bug.

Otherwise I've been doing well, but watching for any recurring issues.

Anonymous said...

This didnt do the job for me.
After i restored it and installed a backup my apps were gone. And when i try to sync my apps again from itunes i get the same error again so rightnow i cant even install my apps i had b4 i did the restore. God damnit why is evrything so damn protected from apple.... always sync sync sync cant even select one single file and delete/move it if you want ... Also itunes is showing 884MB Other files which means apps and stuff but they dont show up on my iphone.
All that has been restored are my pics and settings.

I was really happy when i first got my iphone untill that crappy error came up ... I'm afraid i have to completly restore my iphone without any backup and start from scratch ...

John Gordon said...

Re anonymous who couldn't get it working. I would suspect either the source Mac is in a bad state (hardware problems?) or the iPhone has hardware problems.

I'd run Disk Utility on the Mac and the the hardware check utility that came with your system DVD.

Then if the Mac hardware is ok remove all USB hubs, check USB cables, etc.

Then if that's ok you can try a complete wipe and see if the iPhone works, but I wonder about bad memory on the phone.

Anonymous said...

Nice and fast reply, but i'm using pc (vista ultimate) and i dont think something is wrong with the hardware of the computer. I rather think the backup is corrupted or something cause i had some succesfull backups in the past aswell. I think the problem started when i tried to put a backup from my 8gig iphone on my 16gig.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the help. This bug has been irritating me since I bought the phone! But your fix seems to be working so far. Thanks again.

Robb Smith said...

Very nice fix! Worked exactly as described. This has been driving me nuts for weeks.

John Gordon said...

We should absolutely be able to restore to 16GB iPhone from an 8GB iPhone backup -- but who can say if Apple supports that.

As for the Vista machine -- it may indeed be robust, but I'm OLD with oodles of experience. Ten years ago weird stuff was software, now it's often hardware. Since all the good stuff is made in the same Taiwanese or Chinese plant (and the bad hardware in a lesser plant) every machine gets problems.

(Though the iPhone is a new enough platform that you get both).

Anonymous said...

(The same anonymous guy were it didnt work)
I restored my iphone without any backup now and installed my apps from itunes. Evrything seems to be ok now tho i lost all my sms's, settings and settings from apps... :S Ah well at least its working again.

Anonymous said...

This has been bugging me for weeks. Finally a fix. No problem at all and saved all the data as well. All I had to do was re-arrange some icons. Thanks for the help

David Foureyes said...

Cheers friend! Thanks for the easy instructions. Worked like a charm.

Also nice to know the info came from a fellow Minnesotan ;)

Anonymous said...

Brilliant. This has been doing my head in for ages! I can now spend money on apps in the iTunes store without all the sync hassles :-)

Thanks a lot (3G + Mac)

Anonymous said...

iTouch 2.1, iTunes, Vista SP1.
The manip worked perfectly even if it took time because of the contents to sync again !
No more 0xE800002E error by updating the apps.
No data loss except the organizations of icons.

Chico said...

much thnx! this problem has had me in a rage for the past 3 months. cheers!

Mr.Ballou said...

Thank you!

greg said...

thanks for the post and comments, everyone.

before i go through with this, i wanted to clarify: when i backup and then restore the iphone, does it backup and restore all the music, even if i manually manage my music? or do i need to be automatically managing music for the music to restore with the backup?

i have an 8gb 3g. thanks, folks.

Anonymous said...

Just want to say thank-you. This worked for me and outside of having to re-arrange icons, preserved all data including passwords. This has driven me nuts since getting the iPhone -- I expected problems with Microsoft operating systems but not Apple. I could not upgrade an app from my iPhone, now it works fine. Don't understand why Apple hasn't posted this solution. The only thing I would add is that the whole process took a long time but be patient, it's worth the wait.

Anonymous said...

It appears that you need the iPod/iPhone fully sync'd back up (and so with everything loaded) before a restore will replace all the icon ordering. So ... to add one more step for the adventurous (because for me the restore takes hours, and is therefore not really worth it), if you restore a *second* time, after the sync step, then all your icons and placements will be as they were prior to the restore.

The Executioner.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this - there is one pain in the butt I can say goodbye to thanks to your guidance.

Now for the other 23 pains...

John K said...

This solved the problem for me as well. Thanks!
Since I could not sync applications downloaded on the phone to iTunes, I thought I would loose all the data. So, I figured I would bite the bullet, restore and set everything up again. After the restore, sure enough none of my apps existed. Oh well, time to start downloading them. To my surprise, as I downloaded the apps again, any of the data that existed was restored when I reinstalled the app. It lessens the pain of getting the apps again knowing the data might be there at the end. Now apps sync as they should and an app even updated properly.

In my case, I think the problem originated with a flaky USS 2.0 card in the PC (running XP) where I was running iTunes. I think this caused a problem with my original upgrade to version 2.1. I have since moved to a new machine where USB 2.0 is onboard.

Cortex said...

The issue was solved for me after the installation of firmware 2.2. No more problems for updating apps via iTunes or directly on my iPhone (Wifi).

Cam said...

Hey guys. I'm currently having this issue with iPod Touch 1st Gen jailbroken. The workaround (delete > resync) works, but it's such a pain because I've now got an update for a game that I paid for in the app store. I've put some time into the game and don't want to just lose my data. I also don't want to restore my iPod because I have other things on there that WILL be lost even if I back it up (jailbroken preferences (dock and themes), patched mob installation and the like.) Is there another way?

David B. said...

i have the SAME exact problem as Cam

.jailbroken and everything it'd be great if ANYONE could help

Also it would be Great if anyone could send me an email

Anonymous said...

Yeah I've got the iPhone 3G and this did not work for me....infact now I have more apps to update. It's just a pain. I tried the restore method like ten times and nothing. mad bummer.