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More than £12billion was wiped off the value of Apple yesterday after its latest iPhone was rendered unusable by a software update. The 3.5 per cent drop in the share price meant the company’s stock lost all gains it had made since launching the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus last week.

Users of the brand new devices were cut off from telephone signal and data networks, meaning they could not make or receive calls and text messages or go on the internet away from wifi signal. The update for the iOS 8.0.1 operating system also killed off the Touch ID function, a much-trumpeted feature that allows users to log on to their phone using their fingerprint. It prompted the technology giant to take the unusual step of withdrawing the software completely, rather than issuing a fix.

Before the latest drama the group was worth around $600billion, or £367.7billion, but as shares slipped, some $20million, or £12.2billion was lost from its value. It is the second major issue with Apple’s latest mobile phones, which cost between £539 and £789.

This week hundreds of users have complained that the devices – the slimmest Apple phones yet – are prone to bending in the pocket.  The apparent fault has sparked a social media storm in the last 24 hours, with terms such as #BendGate trending on Twitter, while internet spoofs have gone viral. One, entitled the Dali edition, has mocked up an iPhone bending over the edge of a table like the melting clocks in Salvador Dali’s painting The Persistence Of Memory.

 The iOS 8.0.1 update was issued to solve glitches discovered within the iOS 8 package sold with every new phone.

disappeared in just four hours, while others reported problems connecting to wifi, using apps and said their devices were running slowly and kept on freezing. As a result Apple support forums were flooded with complaints. An iPad mini owner claimed their four-month-old tablet had been ‘wrecked’ by the software, adding: ‘These are like problems you have on an ancient computer.’ Another said that both their iPad 2 and iPhone 5 were playing up, saying: ‘It is horrible to use. It is so frustrating.’

The iOS 8.0.1 update was withdrawn less than an hour after it was made available, after users started complaining late on Wednesday night.

This time it appears to have affected users of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, rather than users of older iPhones and iPads.

Apple said in a statement: ‘We apologise for the great inconvenience experienced by users, and are working around the clock to prepare iOS 8.0.2 with a fix for the issue, and will release it as soon as it is ready in the next few days.’

They also published a step-by-step guide on how to re-install the old software to make phones usable.