iOS 5 update bricks iPhones as BBM limps back

The new update to iOS 5, Apple's mobile operating system for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices, has left many users unable to use their iDevices, just as rival smartphone maker RIM has begun to return its rival BBM messaging and other services to millions of users of its BlackBerry device after an outage lasting three days.

The new iOS 5 software includes a new messaging platform, iMessage, to rival BlackBerry's ailing BBM service, access to Apple's iCloud online storage and voice-activated 'personal assistant' Siri.

With millions of users heading for iTunes Store last night to download the iOS 5 update, Apple's servers were overwhelmed, with some users unable to download the software at all.

"I give up," one user tweeted this morning. "Tried to download iOS 5 6 times last night, 5 today. Going back to my old strategy of waiting for the rush (and bugs) to die down."

Other Twitter users reported that the download had taken several hours to complete - and within minutes of its release, there were accounts of failed updates bricking users' iDevices.

The problems were compounded after heavy traffic prevented users from being able to reconnect to Apple's download servers to restore their devices. Some users who managed to restore their devices complained that apps or contacts were now missing.

"Had a great night installing iOS5. Bricked the phone and when I got that sorted the update only took a mere 7 hours," tweeted one user, while another raged: "Seriously not amused at how ios5 not only bricked my phone but also removed all my contacts!"

One cautious iDevice owner declared: "Staying away from iOS5 upgrade for now. Reading too many reports of bricked devices, missing data etc."