Apple iPhone 7 iTunes Error 9: Cannot restore or update using iTunes

When it comes to iOS device management, many people would prefer to use Apple’s patented media library application  widely known as iTunes. With iTunes, users of Apple devices are able to update, download, and manage various types of digital contents including music and video files safely on their respective devices including iPhones. Downloading and updating of iOS are likewise usually completed through iTunes.

In fact, it is deemed a better and safer method for iOS restore and updates. But just like any other applications iTunes also has its own fair share of errors and glitches. Any of these errors can occur randomly at any time in various devices including the new iPhone 7 handset. Among the iTunes errors that have manifested earlier on the iPhone 7 is the iTunes error 9 or iPhone error 9. This error code is accompanied with an error prompt saying that, “The iPhone [Device Name] could not be restored. An unknown error occurred (9).”

When iTunes error 9 occurs, your iPhone usually gets frozen or not responding thus you can do nothing. Although this is a rare iTunes error, when it appears you’ll surely be in trouble as you won’t be able to proceed updating or restoring your iPhone through iTunes until the error is gone.

What does iTunes error 9 mean and why does it occur on the iPhone 7?

Apple has provided a list of error codes and prompts on their official support page to serve as reference for anyone who needs to deal with any of these errors while using iTunes in managing their respective devices. Error codes are return codes serve as key identifiers for certain types of errors triggered by faulty hardware, software malfunctions, or incorrect inputs from users. These codes can be used as hints for users to troubleshoot the error on their end by themselves.

Based on the given definition by Apple Support,  iTunes error 9 has something to do with a faulty hardware such as defective USB port or USB cable used when connecting the iPhone to the computer for iOS update or restore through iTunes.  Using a damaged port or USB cable can lead to a possible interruption in the later process of restoring or updating iOS with iTunes. Your iPhone can get disconnected amidst the restore or update process. And when it does, iTunes wouldn’t and couldn’t be able to proceed. As a result, iTunes error 9 shows up.

There are also other cases where the software is to blame. As explicated further on the Apple Support page, the occurrence of iTunes error 9 can also indicate a security issue. For example, a security software or firewall installed in the computer might have blocked or interrupted the iOS update or restore process for security reasons. If a security software or firewall prevents your iPhone from establishing connection to the computer, your device wouldn’t be able to communicate with iTunes as well. There also some rare instances wherein the error is tied to network problems as well as incorrect date and time settings on the iPhone while others appeared among the consequences of jailbreaking.

Here’s why and how each of these factors trigger iTunes error 9 to show up while attempting to update or restore your iPhone 7 in iTunes:

Defective USB ports or faulty cable connections

For iTunes to work as intended, your iPhone must be connected to the computer. To do so, you’ll need to use the supplied USB cable and connect your device to the computer’s USB port. A secure physical connection must be obtained for your iPhone and iTunes to establish communication. That being said, if the USB cable or USB port is damaged in any way, there is a tendency for interruptions. When interruptions occur during iOS update or restore, iTunes would prompt you an error prompt along with the error code 9.

Network problems

Another possible factor that can interrupt iOS update and restore through iTunes is the network. For iTunes to complete any of these processes, it will need a stable network connection so as to communicate properly with the Apple server to fetch resources. However, if something goes wrong with the network, iTunes will might as not be able to access the Apple server. As a result, it won’t be able to continue or finish the entire iOS update or restore process. And to let you know that this is what happened, it prompts you with the iTunes error 9.

Firewall or security software

Security programs or firewall installed on the computer are also among the possible triggers of iTunes error 9. Depending on the settings configuration, a computer firewall or security program might prevent your iPhone from having access to iTunes as it poses potential security threat to the computer system. What happens is that when you connect your iPhone to the computer, it will be detected by the latter as an external device or storage medium. External devices are usually flagged by security software among other possible security threats thus they need to act promptly so as to block these threats from penetrating or causing damage to the system. As a result, communication with the iTunes program is denied or gets interrupted.


Many people who want to get something more from their pricey iPhones would consider jailbreaking among the best possible options. By doing so, they can unlock a number of new great features and apps to use on their phone. However, not all who did so have obtained the same positive results from jailbreaking. In fact, many of those who attempted to jailbreak their iPhones have ended up having a bricked device. This is usually what  happens when the jailbreak process gets interrupted or not successfully completed. Consider yourself lucky if you can get your iPhone back to life from a DFU restore but there’s no guarantee that it’ll yield similar positive result. Otherwise, consider taking a trip to a service center for more help. Apparently, you’ll get no guaranteed support from Apple for iPhone jailbreaking issues.

How to fix iTunes error 9 on your iPhone 7

If by any chance you too will encounter the same error while using iTunes for either purposes of updating or restoring iOS, the subsequent methods might be able to help. These are generic solutions recommended by Apple Support and other users who have dealt with iTunes error 9 on their respective iPhone devices. Considering that the culprit is not on the physical components or hardware aspect, your chances of getting the error fix by any of these methods are higher.

If you are certain that this is not what’s triggering the iTunes error 9 to occur on your device, then you may opt to try any of the following procedures and see what happens after completing each of the indicated steps.

First things to work on and check

Before you begin performing any troubleshooting steps, make sure that your computer’s operating system is up-to-date and that it runs the latest version of iTunes program. This is to prevent any issues with minimum system requirements. You can use either a Windows or Mac computer in the process.

Another thing to consider checking is the date and time settings on both your computer and iPhone 7. This is to rule out the possibility of incompatible date and time settings on either devices causing conflict to the iTunes program.

Begin troubleshooting

Once you’ve done all suggested prerequisites and verified that everything is all good, you may now begin troubleshooting the problem with the highlighted methods.

First method: Check firewall or security settings on the computer

As mentioned earlier, the iTunes error 9 is tied to a security issue that is likely inflicted by a firewall or security program installed on the computer. Some firewalls or security programs have strict implementations when it comes to access from external devices or storage media attached to the computer. When you connect your iPhone to the computer, the latter will recognize it as an external device thus it is just normal for the computer to observe some precautions. As a result, your iPhone may not be detected in iTunes or at first be recognized but later gets disconnected.

That being said, try to check your computer’s security settings and verify the level of permission granted to external devices or storage media. If you are not certain of which settings to work or configure, then try to temporarily disable any firewall or security software running on your computer. This is just for the sake of problem isolation or determining whether or not the error is triggered by the security software or firewall that is activated on the computer. After you test, you can revert the security settings on the computer, back to its original configuration.

After making some changes to the computer’s security or firewall settings, reboot your computer and then try to connect your iPhone again and re-initiate iOS update or restore. If the problem is gone then you’re good, otherwise try other applicable solutions.

Second method: Check physical connections and make sure no damage on the USB port

Another possible trigger of iTunes error 9 is a loose physical connection between the iPhone and the computer. This can happen if the USB cable is defective or does not fit in either ports. Use only OEM or Apple supplied USB cable to connect your iPhone to the computer. Also make sure that the USB port is not malfunctioning. Sometimes, the USB port on the computer is problematic thus you’re prompted with errors like iPhone not being recognized or detected in iTunes as well as iTunes error 9 or iPhone error 9.

Try to connect your iPhone to a different USB port available. Or you can also try to use another computer with fully functional USB ports to connect your iPhone 7 to then go for an iOS update or restore with iTunes.

Third method: Perform a force restart on your iPhone 7

When prompted with the iTunes error 9, your iPhone will likely to freeze or become unresponsive. If this happens, you can do nothing but to force your iPhone to restart and try connecting it to iTunes again.

Performing a force restart on the iPhone 7 is quite different from the previous iPhones. Here’s how it is properly done:

  • Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button or Power button and the Volume Down button simultaneously for at least 10 seconds and then release both these buttons when the Apple logo appears.
  • Wait for your iPhone to complete the reboot process and once it’s done, try to reconnect it to the computer.

Open iTunes then attempt to update or restore your iPhone again. If the error re-appears, then you may consider doing a deeper restore procedure as the next method suggests.

Fourth method: Perform a DFU restore on your iPhone 7

By definition, DFU mode or Device Firmware Update mode is an interface in which your iPhone can communicate with iTunes without loading the operating system or bootloader as the standard recovery mode does. In this mode, you can downgrade firmware or use a customized firmware required for updating, SIM unlocking or jailbreaking on the iPhone. This can be your last best hope should all else have failed to get rid of the iTunes error 9.

Many software-related issues affecting iOS devices have been successfully resolved by a DFU mode restore, so it won’t hurt to try it on your end as well.

Follow these steps to put your iPhone 7 in DFU mode and try to fix iTunes error 9 through this iPhone interface:

  • Plug your iPhone into your computer and open iTunes. It doesn’t matter if your iPhone is on or off.
  • Press and hold the Sleep / Wake Button and Home Button together for 8 seconds.
  • After 8 seconds, release the Sleep / Wake Button but continue to hold the Home Button until iTunes says “iTunes has detected an iPhone in recovery mode.” iTunes has detected an iPhone in recovery mode
  • Let go of the Home Button. Your iPhone’s display will be completely black if you’ve successfully entered DFU mode. If it’s not, then try again from the start.
  • You will know if you’ve successfully entered DFU mode if your iPhone screen stays black. At this point, iTunes should already alert you that it has recognized or detected your iPhone and will allow it to be restored.
  • Restore your iPhone using iTunes.

Follow the rest of the onscreen prompts to complete the restore process in DFU mode.

Note: Timing is required with it comes to using DFU mode. So if you don’t succeed at first, then don’t be afraid to try again.

Other options you may consider

Try using iOS recovery or repair tools

There are a number of iOS recovery tools or iOS repair tools promising quick and effortless solutions to various types of iOS problems and errors including those that are associated with iOS restore and update. These software can be downloaded for free or through purchase from online stores. All you have to do is find the best possible software that meets both the iPhone and the computer’s minimum system requirements, download, install and then try to fix the problem using it. Be sure to read prior customer reviews when choosing the right recovery tool to use.

Contact Apple Support

If you’ve ran out of options and that you are still getting iTunes error 9 on your iPhone 7, then at this point you should consider escalating the problem to the Apple Support team for further assistance and recommendations. Unless you suspect that the hardware is at fault.

Consult an iPhone technician

If the error started after an incident of hard drops or liquid exposure on the iPhone 7, then you should consider taking your device to an authorized service center for hardware assessment. It is possible that your iPhone has obtained hardware damage from any of these prior incidents.