How to fix iTunes error 53 on Apple iPhone XS; failed to restore or update in iTunes on Windows [Troubleshooting Guide]

Error codes in computers are used as primary key to tag specific problems on certain programs and operating system in general. Each of these error codes are accompanied by error messages, telling a short description of the problem and as well as quick hints on how to fix the problem. Hence, it’s recommended to read every error message or warning prompt you see when using a computer program.

Tackled in this post is an iTunes error (error code 53) that occurs when attempting to restore or update an iPhone XS through iTunes on a Windows computer. Read on to learn what triggers this error to occur and what should be done in order to get rid of it.

But before we actually move on to our troubleshooting, if you have other issues with your phone, then visit our troubleshooting page as we’ve already addressed some of the most common problems with this device. In case you need more help with your problem, fill up our iPhone issues questionnaire and hit submit to contact us.

How to troubleshoot iPhone XS with iTunes error 53

Before troubleshooting, check and ensure that you’re running an iOS 12-compatible version of iTunes on your computer. Also check and ensure that the USB cable or Lightning cable you are using has no signs of damage. Aside from the USB/Lightning cable, you also have to consider checking the USB ports on your computer and ensure that they’re functional.  Once you’ve got all that checked and found no problems on any of them, quit iTunes and any other programs running on your computer. Then give it another try and see if it’s still shows the same error code 53. If the error reoccurs, then proceed with these subsequent workarounds.

First solution: Restart iTunes and your computer.

Like smartphones, computers also experience random software glitches. When this happens, some programs or system features aren’t working as they usually do. To let you know that something wrong is going on, error messages and codes are displayed when you’re trying to access or use a program of function. And among these is the error code 53 in iTunes. To rule out minor software glitches that might have triggered iTunes to prompt this error when attempting to restore or update your iPhone XS, force close or end iTunes and then restart your computer. To get this done, open the Windows Task Manager to view a list of all running apps or background apps on your computer. Then select iTunes and then click on the End Process command. Doing so forcibly ends or closes the program. To restore full functionality, restart your computer as you usually do.

For starters, here’s how to end iTunes and other processes on a Windows computer:

  1. Press and hold the CTRL, ALT, and DELETE keys to launch the Windows Security screen.
  2. From the Windows Security screen, click on Task Manager or Start Task Manager to open Windows Task Manager application.
  3. Click to open the Applications tab from the Windows Task Manager screen.
  4. Then highlight the application, in this case, iTunes to close it.
  5. Click the End Task button to confirm action.
  6. Now open the Processes tab and close other programs that you think are causing conflicts. DO NOT close system programs like System or EXPLORER.EXE.

To rule out startup programs from the possible triggers, you can use the System Configuration Utility feature to stop these programs from loading during startup. Here’s how:

  1. Click the Start button then click RUN.
  2. Type MSCONFIG into the textbox provided and then click the OK button. Doing so will launch the System Configuration Utility screen.
  3. From this screen, click the Startup tab and remove the checkmark next to each of the programs that you don’t want to launch automatically during Windows startup.

Reboot your computer after making all these changes and then try connecting your iPhone and see if the iTunes error code 53 is gone.

Second solution: Soft reset or force restart your iPhone.

To clear out minor software glitches on the phone that might have caused conflict and triggers iTunes error 53 to occur, try to soft reset or force restart your iPhone XS first. Doing so will also dump junk files from the phone memory that might have caused some system problems. To soft reset an iPhone XS, follow 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 abruptly end all running services including those that have gone corrupted, you can do a force restart instead. A force restart on iPhone XS is carried out this way:

  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.

Wait until your iPhone boots up and then retry connecting to iTunes.

Third solution: Reset all settings on your iPhone.

Another possible solution and suggested workaround to try is a reset on all your iPhone settings. This reset won’t affect any saved information so backing up won’t be necessary. All customized settings are deleted and original options and values are restored. Any problem attributed to invalid settings are therefore eliminated in the process. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. From your Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and then tap on Reset.
  4. Select the option to Reset all settings.
  5. If prompted, enter your passcode to proceed.
  6. Then confirm settings reset.

After the reset, your iPhone should reboot automatically. Wait until it boots up and then re-enable individual features that you want to use on your phone again including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections.

Fourth solution: Update iTunes and your computer software to the latest version available.

Updates usually contain fix patches to address issues and solve errors transpiring on a computer program or application. That said, installing new updates for iTunes and for Windows can potentially rectify the error and fix the problem with iTunes.

To install new updates for iTunes on Windows computers, refer to these steps:

  1. Open iTunes on your computer.
  2. Select Help from the menu bar.
  3. Click the button to Check for Updates.

Then follow the rest of the onscreen instructions to install the latest version of iTunes.

To check for and update your Windows computer to the latest OS version released by Microsoft, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Start button from the task bar at the bottom.
  2. Type “update” into the search box and then press the Enter/Return key on the keyboard. Doing so will prompt Windows to search for new update.
  3. If you see the Windows Update box, select the option to Install Updates.

After installing new updates, reboot your computer system to apply the recent changes and to eliminate errant files from the computer’s memory.

Fifth solution: Uninstall iTunes then reinstall it on your computer.

If a computer program continues to act app and fails to work , then there’s a higher chance that it has been totally corrupted and no longer functional. To get the program back up and running again, you need to reinstall it. But this also denotes the need for you to delete it first. If this is what’s happening to your computer’s iTunes program, then here’s what you can try doing then.

  1. Remove or uninstall the errant iTunes program from your computer.
  2. Once it’s removed, download the latest version of iTunes for your computer.
  3. Then follow the rest of the onscreen prompts to install iTunes.

More often than not, computer programs are fixed after reinstalling so iTunes should be working properly by then. Once you’re done installing iTunes, reboot your computer and then retry plugging your iPhone XS, launch iTunes and see if everything is already working as intended. If iTunes still prompts the same error code 53 even after reinstalling it on your computer, then there must be some more complex problems that trigger the error. And that could be with the computer system or iTunes program itself.

Seek more help

For further assistance in performing more advanced troubleshooting procedures, you may contact Microsoft support for fatal Windows system errors or Apple Support to deal with major problems with iTunes system.

Alternatively, you can use other third-party iOS management software while waiting for iTunes to be fixed. There are actually a lot of other credible alternatives to-date. All you have to do is pick the safest compatible software then download and install it on your computer. Otherwise, try using iTunes on a different computer like iTunes for Mac instead.

I hope that this how-to post has helped you one way or another. Please help us spread the word by sharing this post to your friends or people who may also have similar problems. Thanks for reading!