The Apple iPad can quickly become its user's favorite device for e-mail, surfing the Web, managing finances, playing games, and many other functions, what with its versatility, intuitive user interface and wide range of applications available. So it's that much more stressful in the rare event that the iPad crashes or appears to be locked up. It is normally possible to recover the iPad from this state by putting it into DFU mode and connecting it to iTunes so it can be recovered.
Why iPads Lock up
It's small and it has a simple interface, but at its heart, the iPad is a computer. Despite it being a stable device, things can go wrong with it -- most likely corrupted memory. Lockups are rare and, in most cases, easily can be fixed with a factory restore that will make your iPad work like new. In rare cases, the issue will persist and may continue to happen frequently even after you have completed a factory restore from the iTunes desktop software.
Recovery With iTunes
The recovery process starts with you putting your iPad into DFU mode, or "Recovery Mode," as Apple calls it. The process works equally on Windows or Mac OS X. The only requirement is that you have iTunes running and you have your USB cable to connect your iPad to your computer. The Apple support link in the Resources section will take you step-by-step through the process of putting your iPad into Recovery Mode and restore your iPad to factory settings. Sadly, your data stored on the iPad will be lost during this process, but you can restore the iPad with the last backup you saved from iTunes.
Genius Bar or Phone Support
In the unlikely event that you were unable to restore your iPad by following the steps in the Apple Support guide, you may have to visit the Apple Store, if one is in your area, and talk to the Genius Bar team. The experts there have other tools and software that are not available outside Apple. These utilities will help them debug your device and determine if it can be restored or if it should be replaced. Following your visit to the Genius Bar you will end up with your own iPad reset, or you will be given replacement options based on the warranty status of your device. If you aren't near enough to visit an Apple Store, you need to call Apple's tech support for assistance. Depending on your warranty status, you may have to pay for the call.
Restore Your Backup Onto Your iPad
Following your reset, the iPad is in the same state it was in when you first purchased it and took it out of the box. It is a clean device with none of your settings, applications, or information installed. You now need to restore your information from one of your past backups from iTunes. The guide in the Resources link takes you through this process and makes sure you don't miss any steps. The restore process is easy, but may take a long time depending on how many applications how much media you had installed. Even if your original iPad was broken and you came home with a new one, you can still put this backup onto your new iPad.
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