How to fix an Apple iPhone XR that won’t backup with iTunes [Troubleshooting Guide]

If iCloud backup isn’t working, iTunes can be deemed as the best alternative. To back up your iPhone to iTunes, you will need to use a computer that’s connected to the Internet, with ample of storage space, and has the latest version of iTunes app installed. To get started, you will need to connect your device to the computer using the supplied USB/Lightning cable. Then wait for iTunes to recognize your iPhone and you can start backing up files from your iPhone storage using the given commands in iTunes.

The backup process is supposed to be that easy. But then again, there are some factors that can make things more complicated and iTunes would fail to carry out your requests. Outlined below are suggested methods that are used to troubleshooting iTunes problems with iOS backup processing. Feel free to refer to this walkthrough, whenever you’ll have some trouble backing up files from your iPhone XR to iTunes.

If you have other problems however, visit our troubleshooting page as we’ve already addressed some of the most common issues with this device. Browse through the page to find issues that are similar with yours and feel free to use the solutions we suggested. If you still need our help, fill up our questionnaire and hit submit to contact us.

How to troubleshoot iPhone XR that won’t back up to iTunes

Before troubleshooting, check and ensure that your iPhone is plugged into a working or functional USB port on the computer. You can try plugging your iPhone to other ports and see which port is working. Also examine the USB cable or Lightning cable you’re using and make sure it’s not damaged. If you have an extra syncing cable that’s compatible with your iPhone XR, then you can try using your other cable to determine which cable is working or not. If that doesn’t help, then try these workarounds to troubleshoot and rule out software-related factors on both your iPhone and computer in use.

First solution: Quit and restart iTunes.

Just like any other computer programs, iTunes may also experience random problems and may fail to work at some point. Often times, random application problems like this can easily be remedied by restarting the app. That said, disconnect your iPhone from the computer then quit and launch iTunes again.

Some background processes on your computer can also cause errors that prevent apps like iTunes from carrying out its routine. Hence, if there are other computer programs and services that are left opened and running in the background, close or end them all. Doing so will prevent them from causing conflict or from interfering with iTunes. Then reconnect your iPhone to the computer and try backing up files to iTunes again.

If that doesn’t help, then you can try the next applicable solutions.

ALSO READ: How to fix an Apple iPhone XR that is charging intermittently using wireless charging base

Second solution: Restart your iPhone and computer.

Minor system errors on the phone and computer are also among the possible culprits. Corrupt apps and services on either devices can also affect or cause other apps, particularly iTunes to fail or stop working. To fix these errors, restarting the system is usually needed. On your iPhone XR, you can carry out a soft reset to clear out random glitches including cached files and corrupt services. Here’s how:

  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 fix a computer that’s suddenly acting up, restarting is recommended. On your computer, do the usual reboot to clear its memory and to refresh its operating system. If you’re using Windows, a system reboot can be carried out through the Start menu or using the shortcut keys, Alt+F4 and then click Restart from the pop-up screen. If you’re using Mac, rebooting the system can be carried out through the Apple menu or by pressing the Control + Eject keys and then click on Restart.

Third solution: Disable restrictions or reset all settings on your iPhone.

When enabled, restrictions may prevent some apps and services from working on your iPhone. To make sure this isn’t what’s causing problems when using iTunes to back up your iPhone data, disable restrictions on your iPhone XR with these steps.

  1. Tap Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Then, tap Screen Time.
  3. Select Content & Privacy Restrictions.
  4. Then follow the onscreen instructions to disable restrictions on your phone.

Resetting your iPhone XR settings to their default values and configuration can also help if the problem is attributed to some invalid settings on the phone. This reset will erase all your customized options and then restore the original configuration. You don’t need to create backups beforehand because this reset does not affect any saved information on the phone storage. If you wish to take a chance in this method, then simply follow these steps whenever you’re all set:

  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 then follow the onscreen instructions to confirm all settings reset.

Wait for your phone to finish restoring and then restarts automatically. After it boots up, default options and values are restored. To use features that are disabled by default, you need to re-enable them first individually.

After resetting the phone settings, reconnect to iTunes then retry backing up files from your iPhone to iTunes. Try the next applicable solutions if you still can’t back up your device.

ALSO READ: How to fix an Apple iPhone XR that cannot complete startup process, stuck on the Apple logo

Fourth solution: Disable security software on your computer.

Security software such as antivirus and firewall that are enabled on your computer may also impede iTunes processes. The moment you plug your iPhone into the computer’s USB port, it will be detected or recognized among other external (USB) devices. If the security software on your computer detects some threat the moment your iPhone is plugged, chances are that access to iTunes or computer system will be denied. Or your iPhone may still be able to connect to iTunes but access will be limited. To make sure this isn’t what’s halting you from backing up to iTunes, try to disable any security software on your computer temporarily. You can re-enable them after using iTunes with your iPhone.

On Windows 10, you can turn off Windows firewall, particularly Windows Defender through these steps:

  1. Click Start then go to Settings.
  2. Select Windows Security from the left pane.
  3. Then select the option to Open Windows Defender Security Center.
  4. Open Windows Defender settings.
  5. Then click on the Virus & Threat Protection settings link.
  6. Follow the rest of the onscreen prompts to disable or turn off Windows Defender on your computer.

If you’re using other antivirus or security software, you can ask further assistance from the software manufacturer or Microsoft Support to configure and manage the software settings in a way that grants full permission or access to your iPhone XR.

Fifth solution: Update iTunes and/or your computer OS.

Keeping iTunes up-to-date is recommended to ensure optimum performance and stability of the application. It’s also a way of clearing the application from any bugs and malwares that may inflict troubles and ruin iTunes routine and functions. The following steps will help you update iTunes to the latest version available on a Windows 10 computer:

  1. Disconnect your iPhone from the computer.
  2. While your phone is not connected, open iTunes on your computer.
  3. Navigate to the menu bar at the top of iTunes main screen then click Help.
  4. Choose the option to Check for Updates.
  5. If a new version is available, follow the prompts to update iTunes to the latest version.

Wait until the update is finished then restart your computer. Then connect your iPhone to the computer and try and see if it’s already able to back up to iTunes.

You can also download the latest supported version of iTunes for your Windows computer.

To do this, visit the Apple website then navigate to iTunes download section. Read and review the system requirements for both hardware and software aspects then click the Download button to download the iTunes installer. When prompted to Save or Run the file, click the SAVE option.

If your computer is running on Windows 10, you can get the latest version of iTunes from the Microsoft Store instead.

If you’re using Mac, you can check for iTunes updates with these steps:

  1. Open the Mac App Store.
  2. Click on the Updates tab.
  3. Wait for the Mac App Store to check Apple’s servers for updates. If an update for iTunes is available, the Update button will appear. Simply click that button to download the update.

Wait for iTunes to finish updating and once it’s done, restart your computer to apply or save the recent changes. You can reconnect your iPhone to the computer and retry backing up to iTunes afterwards.

Other options

You may also resort to using alternative tools if nothing else works. Like iTunes, these software can be downloaded and installed on a compatible computer. Once installed, connect your iPhone to the computer via USB or Lightning cable. Then run the software and follow the onscreen commands or instructions to back up files from your iPhone XR to the specified drive or folder.

For other options and more advanced solutions, contact Apple Support (if you’re using iTunes on Mac) Microsoft Support for Windows problems.

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!