Starting some months ago, I've had nothing but problems with my iPhone. However, I've been dealing with most of these or even solved them.
But now I'm stuck on a reboot loop for a few days and don't know what to do.
When did it start? I think it was in May when I first got panic.plist, ResetCounter and SpringBoard-CrashLogs under "Diagnostics and Usage". Following this, everytime I rebooted my phone or the battery was empty, it could take some more minutes than normal for my iPhone to boot. This loading time increased and increased, in October it once took more than two days for my iPhone to reboot. I now have really thousands of those ErrorLogs. The Apple support on the phone couldn't help me either. Additionally, the phone performed some cruel changes I can't explain: Once the language was changed, once the photo gallery had to be restored (the iPhone did that on its own).
However, sometime in November the iPhone crashed, and I was already thinking that it would now last a few days until I could use it again. But somehow it was done within 15 minutes. Without any error or reboot loop. The last two months I haven't had any problems with this until the battery was empty three days ago.
Since then, I have had the iPhone plugged in so the battery doesn't get empty and it's stuck on the bright Apple logo. After about 210 seconds the logo gets dark, then the screen is completely black and it's starting the same procedure again. Sometimes I get the vibration, sometimes the loading circle (white wheel of death!), but everytime it just starts over again.
I am pretty sure this problem appears because I have more than 1300 apps installed (yes, this is a very huge number, but I remember Steve Jobs saying that, with the folders in iOS 4, it would be possible to have a few thousand apps installed), 4000+ photos, and so on. I am pretty sure it's not a hardware, but a software problem. In detail, it's about the SpringBoard. The iPhone 4S only has 512MB RAM, so it's hard for it to load 1300+ app icons into its memory (which it has to because the SpringBoard has to run without any lags). Only in some cases it's able to boot that up, but I have absolutely no idea which cases these are and why it has run well for the last two months, but beginning with the new year stopped to work.
Furthermore, the panic.plist entries all say that the problem is a watchdog timeout. Apple's iOS seems to allow the devices only to take up to two minutes (always around 120 seconds in the CrashLogs) to boot up, then probably another 120 seconds to launch the SpringBoard process (which explains the watchdog timeouts in the SpringBoard-CrashLogs).
I will not restore the iPhone because I unfortunately haven't backed up for a long time and there have been many data changes since the last backup.
So altogether, I tried to collect all the information I know here, but that's really not enough. Apple unlikely wants to help me, the phone support was really nice, but even asked his superior, who couldn't help either.
My questions to you folks now are: Do you have any more information regarding panic.plist's, watchdog timeouts or reboot loops?
What would your advice be? Any chance to get onto my data and back it up? Or is waiting the best solution?
Would it be better to try several hard resets, or let the battery run empty and start the whole process again, or just let the phone plugged in so it tries to reboot on and on until it's hopefully successful sometime?
And: Would it maybe increase the loading time if I would take the SIM card out of the iPhone, so the chance to have an successful try would be higher?
Note: I am still using iOS 5.1.1 because I am completely sure that I'd have to buy an iPhone 5 to run 1300+ apps on iOS 6.