How to fix iTunes error 3194 on Apple iPhone XR, cannot restore iPhone [Troubleshooting Guide]

When it comes to restoring iOS devices, iTunes is usually the primary tool in use. The fact that it’s Apple’s patented iOS data management and recovery software makes it a highly credible option. However, this does not denote that iTunes is totally free of flaws. Just like any other computer programs or applications, errors are also inevitable when using iTunes to manage iOS files, restore, update, and repair iOS system files. One of the frequently encountered iTunes errors is the “The iPhone could not be restored. An unknown error occurred (3194).” It usually occurs when something goes wrong with the iOS update or restore process. If by any chance, you will encounter the same iTunes error 3194 when attempting to update or restore your iPhone XR in iTunes, I’ve mapped out some applicable workarounds and potential solutions for you to try on. Read further for more detailed solutions.

What causes iTunes error 3194 on your iPhone XR?

When a computer program or application prompts an error message or warning, it’s telling you that something went wrong and that it’s unable to process your request. Usually, these messages or warning prompts are accompanied with error codes. These codes are unique identifier for specific problems and failed processes. The unknown iTunes error 3194 is among these codes that are particularly stored in iTunes’ database of errors. It’s telling you that some went wrong and that has prevented iTunes from restoring or updating your iPhone. There are many reasons as to why this error occurs. And the underlying cause could be from within the iOS device or the computer in use. Among the factors that are linked to this error would include software glitches and network-related issues on either the iOS device or the computer in use. In some cases, security software like firewall and antivirus programs that are activated on the computer are to blame. The error can also occur among other symptoms of random app glitches like when iTunes is acting up. If the error occurs when attempting to update an iOS device, network problems are likely causing it. But what’s found to be the root cause of iTunes error 3194 on an iPhone is a misconfigured hosts file on the computer in use.

Generally, the underlying cause of this error is on the software aspect and therefore can possibly be resolved without having to take a trip to a service center.

Troubleshooting methods to fix iTunes error 3194 on your iPhone XR

Below are the suggested methods to troubleshoot iTunes error 3194 when trying to update or restore an iPhone XR on a Windows or Mac computer. Don’t forget to test your device after performing each method to find out if the error is corrected or not.

First solution: Restart your iPhone and computer.

If this is the first time you connect your iPhone XR to iTunes on your computer and that you’re getting the unknown iTunes error 3194, then it could be just a random glitch on either the iPhone or computer system. To clear this out, restarting both devices can be considered as the first possible solution to try on. On your iPhone XR, follow these steps to restart or soft reset the device:

  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 iPhone reboots.

Performing a soft reset can help correct minor software errors that might have interfered with iTunes processes. This does not affect any saved information on the phone memory so creating backups won’t be necessary.

It’s also important to restart the computer. Like your iPhone the computer may also encounter random firmware glitches that trigger other computer programs, particularly iTunes to act up. The easiest way to clear out these random glitches is to simply reboot the computer.

Again, the process of restarting vary depending on the type of computer and operating system it’s running. Just follow the standard procedure to reboot your computer.

Second solution: Reset network settings on your iPhone.

Network problems on the iPhone or computer can also be the underlying cause. To rule out network errors from your iPhone XR, performing a network settings reset will help. This will delete all your current network configurations and then restores the default settings and network values. This way you can set up your Wi-Fi network as new. 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 network settings.
  5. If prompted, enter your passcode then follow the onscreen instructions to confirm network settings reset.

Your iPhone will restart automatically when the reset is finished. Wait until it’s finished booting up and then set up your Wi-Fi network to reconnect your iPhone XR to the Internet.

Third solution: Restart your wireless router/modem.

As explicated earlier, network problems are also among the possible causes. To rule this out, restarting the modem or wireless router can help. If you can access your router or modem right now, then get to it and then follow these steps to perform a quick power cycle on the network equipment:

  1. Press and hold the power button on the modem/router until it powers down.
  2. While it’s turned off, unplug the AC adapter from the power source and keep it that way for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  3. After the elapse time, plug it back into the power source.
  4. Then press the power button to turn the device back on.
  5. Wait until all the light indicators become stable and your computer to reconnect.

When your computer is connected, try plugging your iPhone XR and attempt to update or restore in iTunes to see if the error is gone.

Like smartphones, modems and routers also experience random firmware crashes that result to various symptoms from intermittent connection to no Internet connection at all. Without a stable connection, iTunes wouldn’t be able to communicate with the Apple server and thus unable to carry out updating or restoring requests. And because of that, iTunes error occurs. The easiest solution to minor issues like this would be a modem/router reboot, also known as power cycle.

You can also try bypassing the connection, depending on your network set up. For example, instead of connecting via Wi-Fi, you can directly connect your computer to the modem/router using an Ethernet cable instead. This can help solve the problem if it’s attributed to an unstable Wi-Fi network.

Fourth solution: Use other network, if available.

If you’ve set up multiple networks, you can try switching to other networks and see if that will correct the error. This means that you have to disconnect from your current network and then connect to the other network. Doing so will help you determine whether or not the problem is isolated to the network in use. If the error does not occur when using other Wi-Fi networks, then you can forget/delete the problematic network and then set it up again. It’s possible that the network you’re using has been corrupted and no longer working.

Fifth solution: Disable firewall or antivirus software on your computer.

Firewalls and antivirus programs that are enabled may hinder your iOS device from establishing full connection to iTunes or the computer system. This is usually the case if the firewall or antivirus detects some security threats the moment you connect your iPhone to the computer via USB cable. As security measure, it limits access to your iPhone or completely blocks it.

To rule this out, try to disable any firewall or antivirus from your computer and then try updating or restoring your iPhone XR to iTunes when they’re all disabled.

If you’re familiar with the software interface and menus, then you can just configure some options or adjust the settings to set exceptions and to allow your iPhone XR to access the computer system. You can also ask further assistance from the software developer on how to configure your security software accordingly.

Sixth solution: Edit hosts file.

If the error 3194 occurs because iTunes on your computer cannot connect to Apple’s software update server, then the problem must be associated with an unsigned or expired firmware in use. In this case, changing the hosts file on your computer will likely correct the error. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. First, be sure to quit/end iTunes program on your computer.
  2. Then open the hosts file on your computer with these steps:
    1. For Windows computer, go to c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts
    2. For Mac computer, open Terminal then type  sudo nano /private/etc/hosts/etc/hosts and press Return.
  3. Open the hosts file using administrator rights.
  4. Copy 74.208.105.171 gs.apple.com and paste it into the last line of the hosts file.
  5. Finally, save the file and then restart your computer.
  6. After saving the edited hosts file and restarting the computer, connect your iPhone XR to the computer via USB cable and open iTunes. Then put your device in recovery mode to restore and update your iPhone system in iTunes.

Once the system update and restore is finished, go back to the hosts file and delete the “74.208.105.171 gs.apple.com” line again to let iTunes properly update as usual.

If you’re still getting iTunes error 3194 or another iTunes error after adding “74.208.105.171 gs.apple.com” to the hosts file, go back and open the hosts file again and add # and a space before the gs.apple.com line. Doing so will void the gs.apple.com IP line.

So instead of 74.208.10.249 gs.apple.com,  it should become #74.208.10.249 gs.apple.com afterwards.

Save the hosts file after making these changes and then restart your computer. As soon as your computer boots up, connect your iPhone XR via USB cable then retry updating or restoring your iOS device with iTunes.

Seventh solution: Reinstall iTunes on your computer.

If none of the given solutions worked, then try to uninstall and reinstall iTunes on your computer. This may be necessary especially if the problem is tied to a corrupted iTunes data or the application itself is corrupted. Doing so will likewise ensure that you’re using the latest version of iTunes application on your computer.

The steps in uninstalling computer programs like iTunes may vary depending on the version of operating system or the type of computer you are using.

Still getting iTunes error 3194 on your iPhone XR?

More often than not, the underlying cause of the unknown iTunes error 3194 is usually from within the computer system if not with iTunes itself. If none of the given procedures is able to correct the error, then you may consider using a different computer or use iTunes alternatives. If you’ve got another spare computer, install the latest version of iTunes in it and then try restoring your iPhone XR. If the error doesn’t occur when using the other computer, then that apparently denotes that the problem is with the previous computer in use. If that doesn’t help either, then you can use other iOS restore and repair tools instead. Like iTunes, you can download and install any of these tools on your computer. Among the best and widely used iOS system recovery software you can use as alternative to iTunes are Dr. Fone, FonePaw, iMyFone, and Tenorshare Reiboot, to name some. Just pick the tool, which you think would be suit your needs then download and install it on your computer. Once you’ve got it set up, just connect your iPhone to the computer via USB cable and wait until it’s recognized by the software. Then follow the rest of the onscreen commands and controls to update, restore, or manage iOS contents.

If all else failed to fix the unknown iTunes error 3194 and that you still cannot restore your iPhone XR, contact Microsoft support for further assistance in performing more advanced troubleshooting methods with iTunes on Windows or Apple Support with iTunes on Mac.

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!