What to do if you cannot restore your iPhone in iTunes

There are many reasons as to why you cannot  restore your iPhone in iTunes. A faulty USB cable/Lightning cable and a damaged USB port in use are usually the underlying cause of the problem. But there are also other cases where software-related factors such as in-app glitches on the iOS device, corrupted iTunes software on the computer, security software restrictions, random firmware crashes, software bugs and malwares.

Having said that, both the hardware and software aspects of both the iPhone and computer in use must be scrutinized. Read on to learn what to do in case you will encounter the same issue in which your iPhone won’t or can’t restore iTunes. Feel free to apply the highlighted solutions whenever you need more inputs.

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Eliminating hardware-related issues

As mentioned earlier, the problem could be attributed to hardware damage. In that case, performing these subsequent workarounds will help you identify and/or rule out the cause of the problem.

  • Try using a different USB cable or Lightning cable. A damaged USB cable or Lightning cable could be the main reason as to why your iPhone cannot restore in iTunes. In this case, iTunes does not recognize or detect your device because they’re not syncing in the first place. To clear this out, using another compatible Lightning cable or USB cable can help.
  • Connect your iPhone to another USB port of your computer. If it’s not the USB cable or Lightning cable, a faulty USB port on the computer is likely the root cause of the problem. Thus, try connecting your iPhone to another USB port and see if that solves the problem.
  • Use a different computer. There are also some instances wherein the computer itself is to blame. To eliminate this from the underlying causes, try to connect your iPhone to your other computer and see if that yields positive outcome. Just be sure to use the computer that has the latest version of iTunes software in it.

After this and you still cannot restore your iPhone in iTunes, try the following solutions.

Eliminating software-related issues

If performing the above procedures doesn’t solve the problem and you still cannot restore your iPhone iTunes, continue to rule out software-related factors using the following procedures.

First solution: Reboot your iPhone.

This is the easiest way to eliminate minor software issues on the phone that might have caused conflicts and interferes with the iOS restore process in iTunes. Carrying out an iPhone reboot or soft reset does not affect any saved data on the internal memory, thus it is a safe process to begin with. The steps in performing a soft reset or iPhone reboot vary depending on the device model. If you’re using an iPhone X or later model, follow these steps to reboot or soft reset your iPhone:

  1. Press and hold the Side button and either Volume button until the Power off slider appears.
  2. Drag the slider to power off your iPhone completely.
  3. Then after 30 seconds, press the Side button again to turn your iPhone back on.

If you’re using an iPhone 8, 8 Plus, or earlier model, refer to these steps to reboot or soft reset the device:

  1. Press and hold the Top or Side button until the Power off slider appears.
  2. Drag the slider to power off the phone completely.
  3. After about 30 seconds, press and hold the Top or Side button again to turn the phone back on.

Wait until the phone is finished booting up and then connect it to your computer and retry restoring in iTunes. Be sure to select your iPhone when it appears in iTunes to ensure that you’re restoring the correct device. Or better yet remove any other external devices that are plugged into your computer’s USB port except for your iPhone to ensure that none of these devices is causing conflict. After this and you still cannot restore your iPhone, then move on to the next procedure.

Second solution: Reset all settings on your iPhone.

Other factors that you should rule out are incorrect settings or invalid configurations on the phone. If you’ve customized your device settings, chances are that some of them are not configured in a way that makes iTunes works as it should. So here’s what you should do then:

  1. Disconnect your iPhone from your computer.
  2. Then from the Home screen, tap on Settings.
  3. Tap General.
  4. Scroll down to and tap on Reset.
  5. Choose the option to Reset all settings.
  6. Enter your device passcode when asked to continue.
  7. Confirm that you want to reset all settings on your iPhone.

Allow your device to finish resetting. Once the reset is complete, your iPhone should reboot itself and then loads up the default options and values.

To use necessary features that are disabled by default, you will need to re-enable them individually.

After the reset, connect your iPhone to the computer again and then retry restoring iOS in iTunes. If you still cannot restore your device, then try the next method.

Third solution: Update iTunes on your computer.

The next things you have to look into are random in-app glitches with iTunes on your computer. This could be just an isolated problem with the iTunes software that needs to be resolved. A possible solution to this would be to install an iTunes update. App updates including iTunes are usually rolled out to keep apps optimized and bug-free as possible. If you aren’t sure if your computer’s iTunes app is updated, check it with these subsequent methods.

Follow these steps to check if iTunes up-to-date on your Windows computer:

  1. On your computer launch iTunes.
  2. Navigate to iTunes menu bar.
  3. Then click on the Help button.
  4. From the drop-down menu, click the option to Check For Updates.

If a new update is available, iTunes will install the update (if it was set to auto-update). Otherwise, you will be notified that iTunes is up-to-date.

If you are using iTunes on a Mac, refer to these steps to check if new iTunes update is available:

  1. On your computer, launch/open iTunes.
  2. Navigate to the left side of the Apple toolbar on the top of the screen.
  3. Then click on the iTunes button.
  4. From the drop-down menu, click the option to Check For Updates.

A notification will prompt you that iTunes is up-to-date or iTunes will update itself if a new update is available.

Fourth solution: Reboot your computer.

Like smartphones, computers are also succumb to random firmware issues in which certain apps would just stop working. And just like in smartphones, random symptoms transpiring in computers are often resolved by a device restart. Thus, if you haven’t already, reboot your computer as you normally do and then retry to restore your iPhone in iTunes.

Rebooting steps vary depending on the type of computer in use and the operating system it’s running on. In Windows, you can reboot the computer through the Start menu or use the shortcut key combinations. In Mac, you can reboot the system from the Apple menu or use the shortcut keys, as you would prefer.

Before restarting, unplug or disconnect your iPhone from the computer. Also remove any other external devices that are attached from the computer’s USB ports except for the USB mouse and keyboard. Doing so will ensure that no other external devices is causing conflict with the connection between the iPhone and computer.

Fifth solution: Disable security software on your computer.

Security software such as antivirus or firewall that’s enabled or activated can also block your iPhone from accessing the computer system or programs like iTunes. There are also instances when the computer would still be able to recognize/detect your iPhone the moment it’s plugged into the USB port but with some access limits. As a result, iTunes wouldn’t or couldn’t be able to restore the device as it should. To make sure that this isn’t causing you trouble in restoring, turn off or disable any security software from your computer. The steps in disabling the software may vary depending on which type of software you’re using. For example, the menu options to get to the device manager in Windows aren’t similar to that in Mac.

For further assistance, you can contact the software developer for the correct instructions. Otherwise, contact Microsoft or Apple Support to ask more help in re-configuring the security software in a way that doesn’t or won’t interfere with iTunes.

Still cannot restore your iPhone in iTunes?

In normal circumstances, performing the above solutions will likely solve the problem thus your iPhone should now be able to restore in iTunes. But if that’s not what you get after exhausting all prior solutions, then it’s time to consider other alternatives. Here are your remaining options.

  • Use iTunes alternatives. There are many alternative tools designed for restoring an iPhone. You can utilize any of these tools if ever you still couldn’t get to restore your iPhone in iTunes after exhausting all possible solutions. These tools can be downloaded to your Windows or Mac computer like what you did with iTunes. Just select the tool that meets the system requirements with your computer and supports the iOS version of your iPhone.
  • Service/iPhone repair. If all else failed to solve the problem, you can take your iPhone to the nearest Apple-authorized service center and ask more help from a technician. This is imperative so that you can rule out hardware-related issues with your iPhone that might have barred it from restoring.

Contact Apple Support for more advanced solutions and troubleshooting methods to rule out complex errors with iTunes on Windows or Mac computer.

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