iPod touch and the flaky, flaky crust

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Not long ago I used this space to offer instructions for downgrading an iPod touch’s software from 2.0 to 1.1.4. That bit of prose was met largely with a “Huh? Why on earth would you want to do that!?” reaction.

If “just for the hell of it” doesn’t serve, try this on for size:

Because the iPhone and iPod touch 2.0 software can be as flaky as my Aunt Vilma’s crescent rolls.

And by flaky I don’t just mean third-party applications that up and quit for seemingly no good reason, but Apple’s own applications as well. For example, I launch Safari, travel to a favorite Web page, stretch it to magnify the view, tap a field to enter a username or password, and BLAMMO!, I’m back to the Home screen.

Or, working in Mail, all evidence of the application working stops. The spinning gear icon ceases to spin, the iPod becomes unresponsive, and the only way out is to press and hold the Home button until Mail force-quits me back to the Home screen.

I’ve restarted, I’ve restored, and friends, after awhile the problems begin anew. And there’s a certain irony here.

That irony comes in the form of Apple suggesting in the early days of the iPhone and iPod touch that it would not allow third-party applications on these devices because they could make the platform unstable. Some of us ignored this suggestion, jailbroke our phones and iPods, and found that while a jailbroken phone and iPod touch could eat through a battery charge more rapidly than the stock versions of these devices, they left them in a generally stable condition.

Talk about the experience and, sure-as-shootin’, a host of Apple enthusiasts raise their eyes in horror as if you’d swung a hammer at the Pietà, saying they wouldn’t dare risk the integrity of their beloved iPhones and iPod touches to such filthy hackery.

Yet now that I have Apple-approved third-party applications and a version of the software to support them, my iPhone and iPod touch occasionally stumble about like they’ve been on a three-day bender. And I’m not alone. When discussing this issue with a colleague, he wrote: “My jailbroken iPhone 1.0 never had to have a software restore due to a crash; with iPhone 2.0, I’m on my third restore already.”

There’s nothing I can do about my iPhone except wait for the 2.1 software to come out that, hopefully, fixes these issues. My iPod touch, however, has taken a trip back in time to software version 1.1.4, complete with jailbreak and outfitted with my favorite Installer applications. Sure, I’ll miss some of the third-party applications I’ve downloaded from the App Store but, quite honestly, I’m more concerned with having stable versions of the software I need—Mail and Safari.

I understand that Apple has a lot on its plate these days. When it clears its plate of more immediate matters, I pray that Apple can turn its attention to making my iPhone and iPod touch at least as stable as they were when hacked.

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