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

Although your iPhone is equipped with great security features, it doesn’t guarantee that all files you store in it are always safe. Thus creating backups is highly recommended. Among the usual instances when backup creation is necessary would be prior to installing an iOS update, resetting iOS to factory defaults, and restoring iOS via iTunes. You can backup files from your iPhone to iCloud automatically, manually through iTunes.

In case you find some trouble doing the latter, I’ve lined up a few helpful solutions and applicable workarounds below. Read on to learn what to do if you cannot back up files from your iPhone XS to iTunes for some reason.

For owners who are looking for a solution to a different problem, drop by our troubleshooting page for we have already addressed some of the most common problems with this device. Browse through the page to find issues that are similar with yours and use the solutions we suggested. If they don’t work or if you need further assistance don’t hesitate to contact us by filling up our iPhone issues questionnaire.

What to do if your iPhone XS won’t backup with iTunes

Before troubleshooting software problems that might have hindered your iPhone XS from backing up to iTunes, check and ensure that the USB cable or Lightning cable in use isn’t damaged. If there are other external devices attached to other ports on your computer, remove them all except the keyboard and the mouse. Also quit any other running programs on the computer except for iTunes. Doing these will eliminate the said factors from the underlying causes. More importantly, the computer must have stable Internet connection. One of the  possible reasons as to why iTunes backup would fail is due to Internet problem. For example, if your computer has intermittent or no Internet connection, it won’t be able to connect to the Apple server or iTunes server. If your computer is experiencing random Internet connection errors, try to reboot or power cycle your wireless router or modem first so as to refresh your Internet connection. If these aren’t the problem, then continue to troubleshoot your iPhone XS and computer system with these subsequent methods.

First solution: Restart the iPhone and computer.

If this is the first attempt you made and the backup process failed, then this could be just due to some minor system glitches either on the iPhone XS or computer system. To clear this out, restarting both devices can help. On your iPhone XS, you can carry out a soft reset or reboot the phone with 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 eliminate random system errors on the computer that might have halted iTunes’ backup functions, restarting the computer is also recommended. This would be the simplest possible solution to minor computer problems attributed to the software. You can carry out the standard restart using the power options or using shortcut key combos.

After restarting both the iPhone and computer, reconnect your iPhone XS via USB and then try to back up files to iTunes again. If the backup process still failed, then troubleshoot further.

Second solution: Disable iPhone XS restrictions.

When restrictions are enabled on the phone, many operations couldn’t be executed as your device impedes the process. To make sure that this isn’t what halting your device from backing up files, disable restrictions with these steps:

  1. Tap Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Screen Time.
  3. Select Content & Privacy Restriction.

If the feature is turned on, toggle the switch to turn it off. Otherwise, toggle it ON and then OFF again. While restrictions are turned off, connect your iPhone XS to iTunes and reattempt to back up files.

Third solution: Disable the computer’s security software.

The problem could also be on the computer system itself. Among the usual hindrances to iTunes and iOS operations are firewalls or antivirus restrictions. This is often the case when using a Windows computer. Windows PCs do have a built-in firewall system that can prevent syncing operations. Thus, if you have any of these tools installed on your computer, try disabling it temporarily or configure the software to set exceptions for your iPhone XS.

What usually happens is that the computer would automatically read your iPhone as an external device that moment you plug it into the computer’s USB port. The main function of security software is to prevent any possible security breach to the computer system. If it detects some sort of security threats from your iPhone XS, then it will act accordingly. That’s how these tools are programmed to work.

The process of disabling computer programs, particularly antivirus and firewall may vary depending on the operating system of your computer. If you need help in getting this done, then you can reach out to Microsoft Support (if using Windows) or Apple Support for Macs.

Fourth solution: Update iTunes and computer OS.

It is highly recommended to use the latest version of iTunes software when managing new iOS devices. This is to ensure no software incompatibility issues between the iTunes program and the iOS platform. The same thing with the computer’s operating system. This is imperative to evade from system incompatibility issues. If your computer is running on an earlier OS or platform, then there’s a higher chance that it’s no longer able to support iOS 12 devices. The same thing happens if you’re running an obsolete version of iTunes application. There may some key functions on the latest iTunes version or computer OS that aren’t present on earlier systems and that therefore can cause problems.

In this case, you can check for new updates for iTunes or Windows to download and install. After ensuring that your system is up-to-date, reattempt to back up your iPhone XS to iTunes and see if the problem is solved or not.

Fifth solution: Manage or free up storage on the computer.

Insufficient storage is also a factor. Note that backups would mean more files to be added into your computer drive or storage, so enough memory space is likewise needed. If you’re fond of installing huge programs or large media contents on your computer, then insufficient memory is a factor to rule out next. In this regard, check the current storage status of your computer and make sure there is ample of space left to allocate new files from your iPhone XS. If necessary, free up space by deleting unwanted contents or uninstalling programs that are no longer needed. After freeing up your computer storage, restart the system and then try to connect your iPhone XS again and see if iTunes is already able to process or create backups of files from your phone.

Other options

  • Use another computer. If you have another available computer and that it also has the latest iTunes software installed, then you can try using that computer and see if it’s able to back up files from your iPhone XS to iTunes. Doing so will help you determine whether or not the problem is isolated to the first computer in use. For example, there might be some advanced settings on the first computer that needed to be re-configured in a way to allows iTunes to work with your iPhone XS.
  • Use other iOS management tools. There’s actually a lot of other iOS management software you can use if iTunes just couldn’t get to work as intended. Like iTunes, these tools can be downloaded and installed on a compatible computer. Just search for a highly credible and effective software to use. Reading previews reviews will help you decide on which tools to download. Rest assured, these tools are generally designed to offer a simple and user-friendly interface that will let you manage your iOS device in just a few clicks.

Connect with us

If you need more help with the use of certain functions and features of the Apple iPhone XS 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 XS. 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.