When iTunes shows an unknown error 9, it’s telling you that it failed to restore or update your iOS device because the connection was lost for some reasons. As explicated on the Apple Support page, the unknown error code 9 occurs when iTunes couldn’t tell your iPhone (or other iOS device) to restore. This could happen due to some software glitches causing iTunes to fail, a security software barring access to iOS device, computer restrictions, and worst, hardware damage such as busted USB port or defective USB cable in use.
Having said that, both software and hardware aspects on the iOS device and computer system must be scrutinized when dealing with this iTunes error. Highlighted below are some applicable workarounds and generic solutions that are often used to troubleshoot iTunes error 9 on an iPhone running in iOS 12, particularly the iPhone XR. Read on for more information.
Before we move on to our troubleshooting, if you are looking for a solution to a different issue, make sure you drop by our troubleshooting page as we’ve already addressed some of the most common problems reported by our readers. Find issues that are similar with yours and use the solutions we suggested. If you still need our help after that, then feel free to contact us by filling up our iPhone issues questionnaire.
How to troubleshoot iPhone XR with iTunes error 9
Before troubleshooting software-related problems on your iPhone XR and computer system, check and ensure that your computer is running on a later OS version. If it isn’t yet, then you should update your computer software first and then try restoring your iPhone in iTunes. Also ensure that you’re using the latest version of iTunes on your computer. Your iPhone XR may not be able to communicate with iTunes because the software is already obsolete and thereby no longer supported in iOS 12 devices. If none of that helps, then you can proceed with these walkthroughs.
First solution: Force restart your iPhone.
A soft restart often helps fix various types of minor software errors from rogue apps to minor data corruption that trigger occurrence of certain errors. In the event where the iPhone suddenly becomes unresponsive, performing a force restart would be necessary. Both these restarts do the same when it comes to resolving minor software errors. But to clear out rogue apps and errant services that might have interfered with iTunes and disrupted the restore process, consider a force restart as your first workaround. For starters, here’s how a force restart is done on the new iPhone XR:
- Press and quickly release the Volume Up button.
- Press and quickly release the Volume Down button.
- Then, press and hold the Power button on the side of the phone and then release when the phone restarts.
Wait until your iPhone finished rebooting, then reconnect it to your computer. If iTunes still prompts the same unknown error code 9, move on to the next workaround.
Second solution: Reset all settings on your iPhone.
If your iPhone settings are customized, there may be some invalid settings like restrictions that are enabled. As a result, iTunes or access may be denied to computer programs or other apps. To rule this out, erase all customized options and restore the default or original values with this iPhone reset:
- From your Home screen, tap on Settings.
- Select General.
- Scroll down to and then tap on Reset.
- Select the option to Reset all settings.
- If prompted, enter your passcode to proceed.
- Then confirm settings reset.
Wait until the reset is complete. Once it’s all done, your iPhone reboots automatically. Allow it to finish booting up and then retry connecting to iTunes and see if the error is already gone. If it recurs, then you need to troubleshoot your computer system next.
Third solution: Reboot your computer.
Unknown error codes showing up on iTunes are usually attributed to either software errors or hardware issues on the computer system. If the iTunes error code 9 still shows up after applying the previous workarounds on your iPhone XR, then it’s likely a problem on the computer system if not, with iTunes software itself.
To eliminate minor system glitches on the computer that might have corrupted iTunes’ routine, do the usual restart or power cycle. This works like a soft reset in mobile devices when it comes to clearing out random software issues affecting certain apps and services.
If you’re using a Mac computer, then you can use any of the three restart methods as follow:
- First method: Press Control+Eject keys or press the Power button and when then click the Restart button from the dialog box that shows up.
- Second method: Navigate to the Apple menu then select the Restart command.
- Third method: Press Control + Command + Eject (Control+Command+Power button).
The third method is by far deemed the most reliable way to restart a Mac computer because it does not rely on the Mac OS X operating system.
If you’re using a Windows computer, you can restart the device using the traditional Start button on the taskbar then select Restart from the menu options. Alternatively, you can use the Control key combos as demonstrated below:
- Press the ESC key twice. This rarely works but it won’t hurt if you give it a shot whenever you run out of options.
- Press the Ctrl+Alt+Delete keys simultaneously and select Start Task Manager. This allows you to End All unresponsive or rogue programs that might have caused your computer system to act up as well. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl+Alt+Delete keys again and search for the small red button in the bottom-right corner of the screen. Click on the small arrow next to that button’s circle then select the option to Shut Down.
- If your computer has a reset button, then press the Reset button on your computer for a while until the Turn Off Computer message prompt appears. Then select Restart from the given options.
- If your computer doesn’t have a Reset button, then long-press or push the Power button for a few seconds then choose Restart when prompted with the options to Turn Off the Computer.
- Press and hold down the Power button for about 5 seconds until the computer powers down. After 30 seconds or 1 minute, press the Power button to turn it back on again.
Fourth solution: Reinstall iTunes on your computer.
If a computer restart doesn’t fix the error, then it’s possible that iTunes have been corrupted and needs a clean start. In that case, you may have to reinstall iTunes on your Windows or Mac computer. But before you do that, be sure to uninstall the problematic version of the app from your computer system. After uninstalling the app, download and install the latest iTunes software version available for your computer. Just follow the installation wizard to complete the entire process. After successfully installing iTunes, reboot your computer to apply the recent changes and refresh its memory.
Then try to launch iTunes, connect your iPhone to the computer properly and then see if the error is gone already.
Fifth solution: Disable security software, firewall on your computer.
If reinstalling iTunes doesn’t help and you’re still seeing the same unknown error 9 when attempting to restore your iPhone XR through iTunes, disable any security software on your computer. Your iPhone might have been barred by a firewall or antivirus from having access to iTunes or the computer system due to some sort of security threat.
Seek more help
If none of that works and you’ve ran out of options, then you may resort to third-party iOS management software. When making a selection, choose the software that is compatible with your computer and iOS device. Then download and install your preferred software on your computer. Once it’s installed, connect your iPhone to the computer, launch the software then see it’ll work as intended.
If you have a spare computer with the latest iTunes software installed, then try to connect your iPhone XR to that computer instead and see if iTunes still prompts the same unknown error code 9.
For other options and more advanced solutions, contact Microsoft Support to troubleshooting more complex system errors on your Windows computer (if using iTunes on Windows PC) or Apple-Mac Support to help you further in troubleshooting major issues on your Mac computer (if using iTunes on Mac).
Connect with us
If you need more help with the use of certain functions and features of the Apple iPhone XR smartphone, feel free to visit our Tutorial Page. There you can find a list of how-to contents, step-by-step tutorials, as well as answers to FAQs regarding iPhone XR. If you have other concerns or encountered some troubles while using the phone, you can reach us through this form. Just be sure to tell us more details of the problem or device issue(s) you may have and we will be more than happy to assist you further.