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Bugs & Fixes: TinyUmbrella and iTunes 1013 error strike again

Ted Landau, | April 23, 2011
Ted Landau troubleshoots his way out of an iPhone that refused to update with both the help and hindrance of TinyUmbrella.

In an article I wrote last March (When an iOS update fails), I detailed my frustrating experience with a 1013 error in iTunes that occurred during an attempt to update my iPhone to iOS 4.3. The error left my iPhone in recovery mode. I was forced to do a complete restore of the device to get it working again. A second attempt at the update led to the same failure. It was only after I tracked down the cause to a modification of the /etc/hosts file that I was able to get the update to succeed.


I assumed that was the end of the matter. As it turns out, I assumed incorrectly. In my prior diagnosis, I had been wrong in more ways than one. I had been wrong about the exact cause of the problem and wrong about what I needed to do to fix it. The unraveling of this mystery led to two surprises—one unwelcome and the other welcome.

Last week, when I attempted to update my iPhone to iOS 4.3.2, the dreaded 1013 (and recovery mode) error reappeared. Nothing I tried would get the iPhone to exit recovery mode. My only hope seemed to be yet another time-consuming full restore.

But the nagging larger question was: why was this still happening? Last time, I determined that the cause was a redirect line ( added to the /etc/hosts file. I blamed myself for its presence, noting that I had added the line during some research I was doing and had probably forgotten to remove it when I was done with the task.

I was wrong. It turns out that I had remembered to delete the problematic line. What really happened was that a new copy of the line had been re-added to the hosts file, without my knowledge and behind my back, via the TinyUmbrella application.

TinyUmbrella is a Mac application that can store SHSH files associated with each iOS version for your iOS device. With these data preserved, TinyUmbrella can later restore your iOS device to an older version of the iOS (something that is otherwise impossible to do in Tunes with any recent iOS hardware). Most people will never need to do an iOS downgrade. Still (as I have written about previously), there are situations where it can come in handy. That’s why, as a matter of routine, I launch TinyUmbrella prior to doing an iOS upgrade, to make sure that I have all recent SHSH files stored. I did so prior to updating to iOS 4.3.2.


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