/ Technology

When software updates go bad

Software updates can bring fantastic new features to our tech. But we’re seeing more and more times when devices lose functionality or even become completely unusable after a supposed improvement.

The advent of smart TVs has also brought software updates to your living room. These updates can improve various aspects of your smart TV experience, but we’re also discovering potential consequences.

Samsung’s H6400 range of smart TVs has proved popular in 2014, but we’ve received a steady stream of complaints from owners. Frustratingly, programmes played through the built-in Freeview HD tuner have been suffering from a lip sync problem. With a mismatch between the picture and sound, it was a bit like watching a badly dubbed film.

We contacted Samsung and discovered that this was caused by a software update released after the TV launched (and after we’d tested it, too). Selected TVs were affected so badly that some buyers thought their TV was faulty and took it back.

A speedy response from Samsung

Samsung released new firmware in August to fix the problem, and we have independently-verified on our H6400 TVs that it does appear to work. You can download it over the internet directly to your TV (in the settings menu).

We discussed the problem update with Samsung. A spokesperson told us:

‘A firmware update was successfully released in August 2014, which resolved an issue affecting a small number of H6400 models. Samsung is aware of a limited number of unresolved cases, which we are investigating as a priority.’

Frustrated by Apple’s iOS 8 update

rich avatarRich Parris: Despite my iPhone 4 having more computing power than the first manned spacecraft, somehow it’s ‘too old’ to run Apple’s latest iOS 8 software update. And that means before long I’m expected to reach for my wallet and get a whole new phone. But perhaps I’m one of the lucky ones.

I visited my parents the week after Apple made iOS 8 available, and my mum had an iPad, updated to iOS 8, and an iPhone 4 of her own which couldn’t update. Snuck into the update was Apple’s change from regular old iCloud to new-look iCloud Drive – which my mum’s phone couldn’t access, but her updated iPad could. The result? Every single work file she’d saved to iCloud was no longer in sync.

All of the docs on her iPhone were boxed in there, and her updated iPad hadn’t ported a single one over. What followed was an hour of me helplessly searching for a fix and a further hour of me manually sending each file across.

There have been countless complaints about miserable experiences on iOS 8. But updating an operating system should make life easier, not harder. These days a software upgrade is also used as a shorthand way for manufacturers to say, ‘if your old device can’t run our latest software, then it’s time to spend again’.

Have you been affected by a botched update? Or been left behind as your device isn’t compatible with the latest software?

paulj says:
9 October 2014

Jan 2014 iTunes for Windows update broke the application & took a complete uninstall / reinstall to fix. Later updates broke functionality (podcasts) and caused copious out-of-memory errors.


A LG recommended firmware update on a LG Blu-Ray player left the player completely dead.
Neither LG or the retailer would sort the issue out due to the player being 15 months old.
Seems to be grey area on who is responsible for the effects of software upgrades.


Tomtom have caused me a few problems with their updates.

When they release a software update, you can’t get any other updates until you install it. Several times this has resulted in a complete reinstallation.


On the other hand, Tomtom should be congratulated on still providing updates on a product that is over 7 years old when other companies let us down so badly.

I hope they continue to provide updates for many more years on a product that works very well most of the time.

When they have an update, I just wish you could still update satellite positions and know you need to update it properly next time. I only use my satnav occasionally so it only gets updated when I am about to use it and it is a real pain when things go wrong or it can take a very long time to locate the satellites if I don’t update it.


My golden rule is ‘Never be first’, let someone else find the problems. I’d agree software updates seem to be getting much less reliable, maybe commercial pressure to get something new out there is over-riding the need for careful testing.
For all my Apple stuff I always check sites like TUAW and Macupdate first to see if anyone’s had problems with an upgrade before doing it myself. The iCloud drive problem was widely flagged on sites such as these.

Bookworm says:
10 October 2014

There have been a couple of update problems relating to an older Sony RDR pvr whereby when the freeview update has come through it has completely messed up the tv guide resulting in users being unable to use it until a fix is sent through or having to program the guide to “France” to enable some form of use. The first time it happened Sony (although not their fault) were very slow to react, but the second time happened they were much more on the ball.

Norm says:
11 October 2014

I’ve had a few issues, first with my 2 year old iPhone4s . I download iOS 7 and my phone lost wi-fi and a few other functions, I took it to the Apple store and they gave me a new one, no quibble. That was a result. Next I downloaded iOS 8.0.2 to my ipad2 last week and pages stopped working because I’d automatically installed iCloud drive and its not compatible. Apple said I needed to upgrade to Yosomite but its not released yet. Synced it all up on my Macbook Pro and suddenly everything works again.

Vincent says:
22 December 2014

I’m having problems with my iPad 2 since the iOS8 update, first Apple tell me its a software fault and the next iOS update should resolve it, then they tell me its a hardware fault.

Though they refuse to identify what hardware has failed until I’ve spent over a month asking them and only after I’ve emailed every Apple CEO/Manager who’s email address I can find.

They then tell me its a failed memory module and that I can get it repaired for £299, which I say is quite expensive.

They then explain that the £299 is for a refurbished iPad 2, wait I don’t want a refurbished iPad 2 I want mine repairing ? still waiting on an answer to this question . .

Read all about my Apple Customer Service experience thus far here https://discussions.apple.com/thread/6573494?start=0&tstart=0 any and all advice accepted on this matter.

Joolzp says:
2 June 2015

LG 3gs software update has totally ruined my phone, nothing will load and apps keep shutting down half way throughout stuff…..I just get a blank screen, this is by far the worst phone I have ever had and I think the guys at the 02 storekbew this and had a load of LG 3gs that they were told to move…..it seems funny that wen I was in the store asking about which phone I should get for myvupgrade that every member of staff seemed to have the LG 3gs and praised it saying how good it was…..nah the guy at the door was talking on an iPhone wen I entered the shop…….I have been sold a diff phone to keep figures up……garbage absolute garbage…….I shall be going back to 02 store on Saturday but I very much doubt I will get any joy…….seriously hacked off!


I have a 32GB Nexus 7, bought Jan 2014. Whenever an Android update has become available, I have installed without problems. Accordingly, 2-3 days ago, when I was notified Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) was available, I hit download and install. And that was the end of the old Nexus!
When it tried to restart, it went into a loop of updating apps, saying it was starting, pretty circles spinning, updating apps, saying it was starting etc. I left it looping all night till the battery went flat. I hoped recharging and rebooting would cure it but no luck. I went to Google forums and tried various “fixes” such as “clear cache partition” (whatever that is) but had to resort to factory reset, meaning I lost all my stuff. However, it is at least now working again though different and less familiar somehow. I won’t be updating the OS in future!


After years of waiting so I could afford it, bought a 2nd hand iPhone 4s in mint condition. Before using it, upgraded to the latest OS. Then discovered that the battery barely lasted a day with no use at all. Worse still, I would fully charge it last thing at night, switch it off, then when I turned it back on again in the morning, it showed 62% charged. So it had swallowed 38% of the charge in a few hours, switched off!

I thought I must have a dud battery so bought a new one, exactly the same thing happened. The phone is unusable. Thanks Apple, I have just wasted my money, I will never, ever be buying an iPhone again.


To be fair iPhones have moved on a great deal since the 4S, and putting the latest iOS on a machine that old (in technology terms) was never going to work terribly well. Additionally, when you say it was in mint condition, it may well have a nice appearance, but if it had the original battery then it will have seen a great deal of use – and subsequent loss of charge retention. Getting the same result with a brand new battery raises a couple of questions: if it was brand new it would have lasted longer, so are you sure it was brand new? The second point is that something might be wrong with the iPhone itself. Apple could sort that, but you bought a second-hand and outdated ‘phone, and faults come with the territory.


I got an original Nexus 7 not long after they came out. I was very happy with it, but last year I got a notification that an OS update to Android 5 was available. I thought that this would give some improvement, so downloaded it. After that, the tablet’s performance was glacial, and often froze altogether. I sent feedback to Google a number of times asking them for a fix, but no response. As it was unusable, in frustration I got a Galaxy Tab S2 last month, £320 but with a £50 trade-in on the old tablet. I applied and was accepted for the cashback. I thought I’d better do a factory reset on the Nexus 7 before I sent it off, losing all my data that wasn’t in the cloud, only to find that it was then working perfectly! I’ve now given it to my wife for playing games so didn’t get the cashback. Although I like the Tab S2, I wouldn’t have needed it if Google had provided some support for the Nexus, so I’m £320 down the drain unnecessarily. I won’t be buying anything with Google’s name on again!