Blog Post

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.

6 Responses to “Apple TV Authorization Server Problem Causes Mass Factory Restores”

  1. My problem is that my ATV is tuck at os version 1.0 and I tried everything to Factory Retore but no luck..wired and wireless off..restart with – and menu rebooted many times but diag menu. In the settings, tried factory restore but the screen goes dark and the retore menu shows up. I tried downloading the does that but after will not install..
    Apple to take it to the Apple Store…

  2. dfarfrae

    i updated my apple tv to 2.2 last friday evening and had no trouble at all, but i’ve rarely had many of the trouble that others have had with this device. maybe i caught the update at time during which the authorization servers were working properly. once, when the device appeared to be unresponsive i simply reconfigured the wireless connection, i.e., signed in again to reconnect and all was as it should be. cheers, donaldf. ps: never had problems with mobileme either, seems to me it works as advertised.

  3. Lancelot9201

    Now Apple can’t even supply updates without widespread issues..Check out the Apple support forums & see the thousands of posts complaining about how this update “Bricked” their box, including mine..I wouldn’t even suggest installing this update unless you’re willing to risk being forced to perform a restore & spend hours getting all your stuff reloaded..
    With  failing to have push out for the iPhone, all the issues that surfaced when  released MobileMe & now this tv screwup I’m losing all respect for  very quickly. Those of us who’ve been long time  users remember when it was quality not quantity that motivated Steve & Company.. Apple seems to have forgotten how that is even accomplished now..
    Finally, I use to complain about how M$ updates were to large & issue filled, now with 64mb iTunes updates & bricked Apple Tv’s  is catching up fast..

  4. PTnorton

    Had this problem tonight after an update to 2.2 yesterday. Searched the web and found an entry that suggested logging out from the Apple store (in the settings on Apple TV) and then logging back in. This did not work and searched some more to find out that unplugging/rebooting the unit worked for some. Rebooting worked for me without the factory restore.

  5. JoeColletti

    I had this problem when I updated my Apple TV to 2.2 yesterday. I was ready to perform the factory restore, but I just unplugged the unit and searched the net.
    After seeing Steve Falkenburg’s tweet, I shut down my wi fi network and rebooted the Apple TV. It then came up, and has been working fine ever since, without the factory restore.
    It was an annoying experience, but the update itself seems to work quite well.