Last night I decided to backup my daughter's iPad to iTunes on my Mac, something I do from time to time. (I don't use iCloud Backup on my own devices because I'd rather have the backup of the confidential data on my devices live on my home computer rather than Apple's servers, and I've taken the same approach for other devices in my house.) The computer asked me if I wanted to update the iPad to the latest version of iOS, and I said yes without thinking much about it. Everything seemed to go fine, but then at the very end I saw an error message that I had never seen before telling me to press the iPad's home button to attempt data recovery. What the heck? Nervous that I had somehow lost data on my daughter's iPad, I pressed the button as instructed and crossed my fingers.
I then waited a while while the iPad told me that it was attempting data recovery:
During the approximately 10 minutes that the iPad spent on this screen, I did some quick research on the Internet, and found lots of other folks saying that this happened to them and that everything was fine when the process finished. Sure enough, after the iPad finished its data recovery, everything was back to normal, with the latest version of iOS installed.
I'm glad that my initial panic that I had lost data on the iPad turned out to be unjustified. I don't know why the update failed initially, but apparently Apple has a Plan B that swings into action when the normal update process fails. If you ever see this error message on your iPhone or iPad, hopefully you will recall this post before you get too nervous, and then after you press the home button and let the data recovery process begin, all will be fine for you as well.