Apple TV Authorization Server Problem Causes Mass Factory Restores

I was in the process of attempting to install the Apple TV 2.2 update and then rent a movie for the family tonight when my Apple TV began a loop where it would get through the introductory Apple TV movie and then start to load the main screen but end up in a cycle between that and the shiny, silver-grey Apple logo. I attempted a factory restore by holding “Menu” and “-” after a power cycle, but that did not work either, even after multiple reboots.

With all my attempts failing, I made a broad assumption that it was the hard drive (my unit is one of the original) and I was resolved to putting in my own drive and taking the opportunity to hack the base image (why not!?) when I checked out Twitter to find many, many other users in the same situation, all of us quite unhappy.

As I scanned through all of the tweets, I saw one from Steve Falkenburg who suggested that disconnecting the unit from the network, rebooting it while still disconnected and then trying the factory restore once again should enable the ability to put it into factory reset mode. This “solution” wound up working like a charm, but I had three episodes of Freakazoid! that were not backed up yet that are now gone, gone gone, plus it is a bit late to start a family movie.

After performing all these steps, it turns out the problem was with authorization servers at Apple, making the error that much more inexcusable.

For the moment, all Apple TV users should HOLD OFF installing the 2.2 update until this situation is completely resolved by Apple. One of the downsides to not having DVD or CD drive (or supporting USB storage devices) is that there is virtually no way for Apple to fix real issues with bad firmware updates without forcing users to perform a factory reset or taking their units to a local Apple Store or sending it into Apple service. Given the apparent lack of investor confidence in Apple this week, this situation cannot bode well for the fine folks at Cupertino.

If you own an Apple TV and had a similar experience with the 2.2 update or were thinking of purchasing an Apple TV but are now on the fence, drop a note in the comments.

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