Apple's iPad serves many functions as a productivity tool, communications device and entertainment source. When the firmware on your iPad becomes corrupt and the device inoperable, your productivity and state of mind are affected. Using Apple's iTunes software, you can restore the iOS firmware on your troublesome iPad to a functional state.
The Apple iPad runs on firmware, a form of hardware-embedded program code used in most consumer electronics. Firmware for the iPad is often updated during the device's life cycle as new versions of the iOS are released. Firmware, like other software, can become corrupt over time and require reinstallation to restore proper functionality.
Restoration Via iTunes
Apple's iTunes software is primarily a media-management program. With it, iPad owners can sync content from their computers to their iPads. It also features a backup tool for the iPad and other iOS devices, allowing you to restore your device's previous settings, files and data should the need occur. ITunes can also be used to erase the iPad and restore it to its original factory condition with the most current version of the iOS. To perform the restore, connect the iPad to your computer with its connection cable and launch iTunes. Select the iPad name from the device listing and click the Summary tab. You'll see a "Restore" button that allows you to restore your iPad's original settings. At the end of the process, you are prompted to select a backup of your files and data to return them to the device.
Jailbreaking refers to the process of gaining root access to your iPad's operating system, which enables access to unofficial features at the expense of voiding your warranty. If your jailbroken iPad's firmware needs to be restored due to corruption, follow the same steps as with a non-jailbroken iPad. However, restoring your firmware and settings to their original condition undoes the jailbreak; repeat the jailbreak process if you wish to return the iPad to a jailbroken condition.
If you don't have a viable backup file to restore from, the restored iPad does not contain your apps, files and settings. You can download any apps, music or other media files previously purchased from iTunes again at no additional cost. However, you won't be able to recover your photos, documents and settings without a backup. Activating the free iCloud backup feature on the iPad before problems occur or regularly syncing your iPad with iTunes on your computer prevents the loss of files and data should the iPad ever require a restore.
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