Apple OS Updates Fix Bugs, Brick Some iPads

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Apple released new versions of its iPhone, Watch, TV, and Mac operating systems this week, but not all of the updates went smoothly for some users.

Apple pushed several operating system updates across its product range this week. Rather than aim for big new features, these maintenance updates target bugs and performance. As is sometimes the case, some users reported trouble with the new code -- specifically that the latest version of iOS bricked their iPads.

The release notes for iOS 9.3.2, which Apple pushed out Monday to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, say the new OS resolves an issue impacting Bluetooth-based audio quality on the iPhone SE. The minor update also fixes a problem that caused the dictionary to fail, addresses an issue that prevented typing email addresses using the Japanese keyboard, moves to prevent MDM servers from installing customer B2B apps, and fixes a problem plaguing Voiceover for users using the "Alex" voice.

The one new "feature" allows iOS device owners to use both Night Shift (reduces blue light late at night) and Low Power Mode at the same time. This was a user-request function.

However, a number of MacRumors readers report that iOS 9.3.2 has bricked their 9.7-inch iPad Pros. The affected users are seeing "Error 56" with directions to plug the iPad into iTunes. Apple's support documentation defines Error 56 as a hardware problem and suggests users restore their device from iTunes. MacRumors says it believes Apple will likely need to release another update (iOS 9.3.3) to solve this problem, but the company has not acknowledged the issue publicly.

Beyond iOS, Apple also released new versions to tvOS, OS X, and watchOS. These updates largely target bugs and peformance.

For example, tvOS 9.2.1 makes performance improvements to the newest (fourth) generation Apple TV. It doesn't apply to earlier versions of the Apple TV. Apple didn't provide a changelog to highlight what's new.

The same goes for OS X El Capitan 10.11.5. This update, says Apple, is focused on performance improvements and security enhancements.

WatchOS 2.2.1 takes a stab at notifications and connectivity problems. Apple said it resolved an issue that prevented some notifications from displaying properly. WatchOS 2.2.1 also improves some under-the-hood issues facing developers, particularly how the OS handles certain API calls.

Apple updated iTunes, too, with some usability tweaks.

Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference is scheduled for June 13, and the company is expected to reveal iOS 10 along with new versions of watchOS and Mac OS. This week's updates are likely the last before we see beta versions of iOS 10, OS X 10.12, and watchOS 3.0.

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