When it comes to iOS file management, Apple has its very own app to serve such purpose and that’s iTunes. With iTunes you can download and install new apps and files from the App Store or iTunes Store, update device firmware to the latest version, or restore from a previous iOS backup. All these are easily done using the given commands and controls in iTunes app. If something goes wrong and iTunes failed to execute any of these functions, it will prompt you an error code along with a brief warning message or error prompt.
Each of these error codes gives you some clues on what went wrong and what needs to be done to fix it. iTunes stores a lot of error codes to describe specific problems and failed operations. And one of these is the unknown error code 9. This error usually occurs when iTunes is unable to update or restore an iPhone. Usually you’ll be prompted with a warning message that says, The iPhone [device name] could not be restored. An unknown error occurred (9) or something similar. If you see this same message when trying to restore or update your iPhone XR in iTunes, then you’ve got a problem to solve.
To give you some inputs, I’ve mapped out a few helpful workarounds and possible solutions for you to try on. If you think you need help, then read on for more detailed solutions.
Before going further, if you found this post because you were trying to find a solution to your problem, then try to visit our troubleshooting page as we’ve already addressed most of the commonly reported issues with the phone. We’ve already provided solutions to some of the problems reported by our readers so try to find issues that are similar with yours and use the solutions we suggested. If they don’t work for you and if you need further assistance, fill up our iPhone issues questionnaire and hit submit.
First solution: Disconnect your iPhone then force restart.
If this is the first time you encounter this iTunes error, then it’s likely just due to a random syncing glitch on iOS. In this case, disconnect or unplug your iPhone XR from the computer then perform a soft reset while it’s unplugged. Here’s how:
- Press and hold the Side/Power button and either Volume buttons simultaneously for a few seconds.
- Release the buttons when the Slide to Power Off command appears and then drag the power off slider to the right.
- After 30 seconds, press and hold the Power/Side button again until the phone reboots.
Alternatively, you can force restart your iPhone XR to abruptly kill errant apps and files that might have impeded the syncing process between the phone and iTunes. Here’s how it’s done:
- 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.
Both these methods don’t affect any saved information on the phone memory hence, backing up won’t be necessary. Allow your phone to finish booting up then connect it to the computer and see if the error is gone.
Second solution: Reboot the computer then quit other programs.
If iTunes still prompts the same error code 9 after applying the first solution, try to restart the computer next. This can help fix the error if it’s attributed to minor system glitches or corrupted programs on the computer. You can use the standard restart procedure or use the shortcut key combos. The process would vary depending on the computer in use.
If you’re using Windows, you can restart the system from the Start menu or using the control key combinations. If you’re using Mac, you can reboot the computer from the Apple menu or shortcut controls, if you prefer.
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Third solution: Temporarily disable security software on the computer.
Other usual hindrances to iOS update and restore in iTunes are security software like antivirus and firewall installed on the computer. With these tools enabled, access to the computer system or iTunes can be restricted. As a result, your iPhone wouldn’t be able to connect or sync with iTunes. This can happen especially if the security software perceives some security threat the moment you plug your iPhone into the computer’s USB port. The software reads your iPhone as an external device and if it poses some threats, access will be barred or restricted. To rule this out, try to disable any security software from your computer until you’re done using iTunes to restore or update your iPhone. Or you may also configure the software in a way that grants full access or exceptions for your iPhone to access the computer system.
For further assistance on how to configure the security software settings, you can contact the software manufacturer or Microsoft Support. They can walk you through the steps on how to get it done.
Fourth solution: Update the computer system and iTunes to the latest version available.
System problems and errors may also occur due to obsolete or outdated software version. Thus, using the latest iTunes version on a later or latest computer operating system is highly recommended. Doing so will help prevent system incompatibility issues to occur.
If you downloaded iTunes from Apple’s website, then you can refer to these steps to check for and update iTunes on your Windows computer:
- Open iTunes app on your computer.
- Navigate to the menu bar at the top of the iTunes windows then click Help.
- Then select the option to Check for Updates.
- Follow the onscreen prompts to install the latest version.
If you don’t see an option to Check for Updates from the Help menu, then it’s an indication that you downloaded iTunes from the Microsoft Store. In that case, contact Microsoft Support for further assistance.
If you’re using iTunes on macOS 10.14 Mojave, you can get the latest version of iTunes by updating the software on your Mac itself. This is because iTunes comes among other pre-installed apps on macOS. So here’s what you should do then:
- Go to Apple menu.
- Select System Preferences.
- Click on Software Update.
Wait for the computer to finish checking for new updates. If a new update is available, simply follow the steps to proceed with the update download and installation.
Reboot the computer afterwards then try to connect your iPhone XR to iTunes and see if the error is gone.
Fifth solution: Restore hosts file on the computer, if applicable.
If you’re using a computer that was previously used to jailbreak other iOS devices, chances are that the computer’s network database has been corrupted and thereby resulting to a host file error. In that case, restoring the hosts file to default would be necessary. If you’re using a Mac, follow these steps to restore the hosts file to defaults:
- Locate the hosts file from your Mac folders or directory.
- Open Finder.
- Select Go from the Finder’s menu bar.
- Select Go to Folder.
- In the box provided, type /private/etc/hosts
- Press the Return.
- Double-click on the file to edit. In this case, you will need to replace the newly edited file with the old one or default version.
- Delete any file with the apple.com.
After making all these changes, restart your Mac computer then try to restore or update your iPhone again.
If you’re using a Windows computer, please contact Microsoft support for further assistance in configuring and restoring system files. Otherwise, contact Apple Support for more advanced solutions and troubleshooting methods to fix iTunes error 9. Or you may also consider resorting to third-party iOS management tools aside from iTunes. You can choose from a wide variety of non-Apple software that serves the same purpose. Just be sure to pick the one that’s compatible with your computer’s operating system and supports iOS 12 devices, particularly iPhone XR. Reading previous reviews will help you in choosing the most credible iOS management tool to use.
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