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How to fix iTunes error 3194 on an Apple iPhone XS Max, unable to restore

When iTunes prompts you an error code 3194, it’s trying to let you know that it cannot process your request simply because it cannot connect to the Apple servers. As a result, you won’t be able to update or restore iOS through iTunes. This error is often seen on jailbroken iPhones as well as those that are running on an obsolete or out of date system. However, there is also a chance for new iOS device to encounter such error when using iTunes for system restoration or update. In case you will bump into the same error while attempting to restore your new iPhone XS Max, I’ve mapped out a few possible solutions you can try on. Read further for more detailed solutions.

Before troubleshooting, verify and ensure that you are using the latest version of iTunes software. If you’re not, then you should update iTunes to the latest version beforehand. The same goes to the computer you’re using. It has to be running on later, if not the latest operating system to ensure that it’s compatible with that of your iPhone XS Max.

Also, be sure to plug your iPhone directly into your computer’s USB port instead of an attached keyboard or USB hub and that the connection must be secured. You can switch to other vacant USB ports to see if any of them is working or not. And use only the Apple-supplied USB cable or Lightning cable for your device. Once you have all that confirmed and yet the iTunes error 3194 persists, you can go ahead and try applying any of the following workarounds.

First solution: Disable any security software installed on your computer.

Security software from firewall to anti-virus may also restrict the connection between your iOS device and the computer. This is often the case if the security software sense some to the computer system’s security the moment your plug your iPhone into the USB port. This can happen because your iOS device will be read among other external devices that connect to the computer. To rule this out, try to configure your security software to grant permission or access to your iOS device. Or you can also disable the security software temporarily and then connect your iPhone while the software is not activated.

If the error doesn’t occur while the security software is disabled, then the problem isn’t on your iPhone XS Max but rather on the firewall or antivirus app installed on your computer.

Second solution: End all background apps/programs on your computer.

Computer programs will remain open and running in the background if they’re not closed or ended. These programs are in standby mode, ready to launch when triggered. While keeping programs in this state benefits in terms of multitasking or frequent app reloading/switching, it will sometimes cause troubles especially when any of the apps gets corrupted. The same thing happens when you keep multiple apps running in the background on your iOS device for a long period of time. If this happens, other programs or computer functions might become affected. To make sure none of these is causing problems to iTunes, end all background programs on your computer. The process of doing so vary depending on the computer you’re using or the operating system they’re running on.

Third solution: Disconnect and reconnect to Wi-Fi on your computer.

Your iOS device and computer must be connected to the Internet in order to access the Apple server and to carry out system update and restore. If any of your device is experiencing Internet problems from intermittent to no Internet connection at all, then that’s the problem and you need to fix that first so you can proceed updating or restoring iOS through iTunes.

That being said, verify and confirm that your Internet connection is working. On your iPhone XS Max, try to disconnect and then reconnect to your Wi-Fi network or simply turn Wi-Fi off for a few seconds and then turn back on. Performing the Airplane Mode trick can also help refresh your iPhone’s wireless Internet connection.

On your computer, disconnect from your Wi-Fi network and then reconnect If you can access your router or modem, then try to reboot it as well. Doing so will help clear out minor Internet connectivity errors and thus allowing your devices to establish fresh Internet connection.

If you’ve set up another Wi-Fi network on both your devices, then try connecting to your iPhone and computer to your other Wi-Fi network and then retry restoring or updating through iTunes.

Fourth solution: Edit the Hosts File on your computer.

This is by far considered a recommended technical solution to iTunes error 3194. It works by temporarily blocking Apple’s firmware signing services. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Quit iTunes on your computer, to get started then continue to the next step.
  2. If you’re using iTunes on Windows, navigate to C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc. Once you get to this directory, double-click to open the hosts file on the computer then select Notepad from the list of available programs.
  3. If you’re using iTunes on Mac, open the Terminal from the Utilities folder and then type in sudo nano /etc/hosts and press the Return/Enter key on your keyboard. Doing so will open the hosts file in a text editor.
  4. Navigate towards the bottom of the hosts file then look for an Apple address. It should look something like an IP address with the gs.apple.com at the end. To be exact, search for a 74.208.105.171 gs.apple.com entry. Doing so will route you to the signature verification process to the Cydia servers.
  5. If you see the Apple address at the bottom of the hosts file, add a hashtag or # to the front. So it has to be #74.208.105.171 gs.apple.com afterwards.
  6. If you don’t find the Apple address at the bottom of the hosts file, type in  74.208.105.171 gs.apple.com to the bottom of the hosts file.
  7. Save the recent changes you’ve made by clicking the File menu then select Save on your Windows computer, or press Ctrl+O on your Mac computer. Quit the text file then open iTunes then try to connect your iPhone to your computer and attempt to restore or update through iTunes.

If the error still shows up, you may need to flush your DNS cache for the recent changes to take effect.

If your iPhone restore or update was successful, get back to the hosts file and remove the “74.208.105.171 gs.apple.com” line to ensure that iTunes can properly update or restore as usual. Doing so will likewise prevent you from encounter future errors when using iTunes to install new iOS versions.

For further assistance on how to properly edit the hosts file on your computer, contact Microsoft support if you’re using Windows or Apple Support if you’re on Mac.

Fifth solution: Reboot both your iPhone and computer.

System reboots may also be the key to fixing the error if random software glitches are the main trigger. On your computer, follow the usual steps to reboot/restart the system either from the Start menu or using control key combinations.

On your iPhone XS Max, perform a soft reset or force restart with these steps:

  1. Press and hold the Side/Power button and either Volume buttons simultaneously for a few seconds.
  2. Release the buttons when the Slide to Power Off command appears and then drag the power off slider to the right.
  3. After 30 seconds, press and hold the Power/Side button again until the phone reboots.

To force all running apps and services as well as the operating system to shutdown and restart, force restart your iPhone XS Max with these steps:

  1. Press and quickly release the Volume Up button.
  2. Press and quickly release the Volume Down button.
  3. Then, press and hold the Power button on the side of the phone and then release when the phone restarts.

The phone will then begin the booting sequence.

As soon as your computer and iPhone XS Max finished restarting, retry connecting your iPhone to the computer using the same USB/Lightning cable setup and then see if iTunes is already able to restore your device without showing the error code 3194.

Your other options

If you’re using a wireless router for your Internet setup at home, try to bypass your router. Some routers, particularly those that are not manufactured by Apple might block iTunes from accessing the update server. To bypass your Internet router, disconnect the computer from your wired or wireless router and then use an Ethernet cable to connect your computer straight to the modem. Then restart both the computer and the modem to establish new connection. If you need more help on how to bypass your Internet connection, contact your Internet service provider for a step-by-step instruction on using the modem.

If you have another computer, then try restoring your iPhone on your other computer and see if that will work. Doing so will help you determine if the problem is with the computer you’re using.

Contact Apple Support or Microsoft Support to further troubleshoot your iOS device or computer if the iTunes error 3194 isn’t fixed. Should this be a problem with the Apple server

To troubleshoot Internet problems on your computer, you can contact your Internet Service Provider or your computer manufacturer’s technical support for further assistance.

I hope that we’ve been able to help you fix the problem with your device. We would appreciate it if you helped us spread the word so please share this post if you found it helpful. Thank you so much for reading!

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