Restoring your iPhone from a backup is usually a straightforward process. But sometimes, no matter what you try, your iPhone just won’t restore properly. If you’ve run into the frustrating “iPhone won’t restore” problem, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the top troubleshooting tips to get your device working again.
We’ll cover common restore issues that can occur after updating your iOS version, from iCloud backups, after jailbreaking, and more. With the right fixes, you can get your iPhone restored and all your data back quickly.
What Causes iPhone Won’t Restore Problems?
Before jumping into the solutions, it helps to understand what’s behind the “iPhone won’t restore” error. Here are some of the most common culprits:
- Software bugs – An iOS bug or glitch can interrupt the restore process. This is especially likely right after an iOS update.
- Jailbreaking – Jailbreaking your iPhone can cause system-level changes that then block restores.
- Network issues – Weak WiFi, cellular data, or computer connections will disrupt iCloud and iTunes restores.
- Outdated software – Having an old version of iOS or iTunes often prevents restores from completing properly.
- Hardware problems – In rarer cases, an issue with the iPhone hardware itself could be stopping restores.
- Corrupt backups – Backups that have errors or are damaged won’t restore correctly.
- Insufficient storage space – You need enough free storage on your iPhone to complete the restore.
So in most cases, the “iPhone won’t restore” problem is caused by a software bug, network connectivity, or outdated programs. The good news is that you can fix many of these issues yourself.
Method #1 – Update iOS, iTunes, and iCloud
The first troubleshooting step is to make sure you have the latest software installed. Outdated iOS, iTunes, or iCloud versions often block restores.
- On your iPhone, go to Settings > General > Software Update to download the newest iOS version.
- In iTunes on your computer, click Help > Check for Updates or Download iTunes to install the latest version.
- On iCloud.com, sign in and your account should automatically update.
Once everything is updated, reboot your iPhone and computer, then try the restore again. This simple fix solves many restore failures caused by software mismatches.
Method #2 – Hard Reset Your iPhone
Resetting your iPhone can clear out any glitches that are interrupting the restore process. There are two options:
Soft reset – This restarts your iPhone without deleting data. Quickly press and release the Volume Up button, then the Volume Down button, and finally press and hold the Side button until you see the Apple logo.
Hard reset – Also called a factory reset, this erases all content and settings. Go to Settings > General > Reset and choose Erase All Content and Settings.
After resetting your device, attempt the restore again. A fresh start often resolves stubborn iPhone won’t restore problems.
Method #3 – Put Your iPhone in Recovery Mode
The recovery mode bypasses iOS and lets you restore firmware directly. This can fix issues caused by iOS problems or crashes.
To enter recovery mode:
- Connect your iPhone to your computer via a USB cable.
- Turn off your iPhone by holding the Side button until the “slide to power off” message appears.
- Press and hold the Side button again until you see the recovery mode screen with the Connect to iTunes image.
Now launch iTunes and you should be able to restore your iPhone from recovery mode. This takes your device back to factory settings so you can start fresh.
Method #4 – Check Your WiFi and Cellular Data
Weak internet connections are a prime cause of failed iCloud and iTunes restores. Follow these tips to troubleshoot your network:
- Reset your router and modems to refresh the connection.
- Switch from WiFi to cellular data or vice versa if one has a weaker signal.
- Move closer to your WiFi router for the restore if possible.
- Turn off bandwidth-hungry apps running in the background on your iPhone or computer.
- Try a different WiFi network or use a wired Ethernet connection on your computer.
With a faster, more reliable network connection your iPhone has a better chance of restoring correctly.
Method #5 – Reinstall iTunes and iCloud
If your iTunes and iCloud apps have become corrupted, try uninstalling and reinstalling them:
- On Windows, go to Start > Settings > Apps > Apps & features. Find iTunes, select it, and choose Uninstall.
- On Mac, go to Applications and drag the iTunes app to the Trash.
- Download the latest iTunes installer from Apple’s website and run through the setup.
- On Windows, go to Start > Settings > Apps and uninstall any Apple iCloud or iCloud Control Panel apps.
- On Mac, go to Applications and drag iCloud to the Trash if present.
- Download the latest iCloud app for your computer from Apple and install it.
- Sign into iCloud with your Apple ID after reinstalling.
This refresh can help resolve software conflicts causing iPhone restore problems in iTunes and iCloud.
Method #6 – Use Alternative Restore Methods
If you still can’t restore your iPhone using iTunes or iCloud, try these alternative options:
- Finder – Newer Macs can restore iOS devices through Finder. Connect your iPhone > Select it > Click Restore in the General tab.
- iMazing – This third-party iOS manager for Mac and PC has robust restore capabilities.
- iOS Repair Software – Apps like Dr. Fone and Tenorshare ReiBoot can restore firmware when other methods fail.
- DFU Mode – Put your iPhone in DFU (device firmware update) mode and restore from there.
- Restore in Safe Mode – Perform the restore after rebooting your iPhone in safe mode to isolate software issues.
Trying a different restore technique often resolves problems caused by iOS, iTunes, or iCloud glitches.
Method #7 – Restore Using a Different Computer
If your primary computer is exhibiting hardware or software issues, try restoring your iPhone using a different computer:
- Install the latest iTunes version on another Mac or Windows PC.
- Disable any security software that could interfere with the restore process.
- Connect your iPhone to this computer via USB and force restart both devices.
- Launch iTunes and attempt the restore again.
By shifting to another computer, you eliminate any problems caused by your original setup. And you can pinpoint whether the issue stems from the iPhone or computer side.
Method #8 – Erase Your iPhone Then Restore
If your iPhone is still misbehaving, completely erase it using these steps before restoring:
- Backup your iPhone data to iCloud or iTunes. This wipe will delete everything.
- Go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.
- Enter your passcode if prompted and confirm the erase. Wait for your device to reset to factory settings.
- Once wiped, reboot your iPhone and computer.
- Connect the devices and restore from your backup.
Erasing your iPhone before the restore gives you the cleanest slate possible for a smooth process. This can resolve stubborn software glitches.
Method #9 – Update or Replace Your Lightning Cable
It seems basic, but a damaged Lightning cable can derail restores between your iPhone and computer.
- Inspect your cable for damage and fraying, especially at the connectors.
- Try a different, newer Lightning cable if available.
- Update your cable firmware by plugging it into an Apple device while connected to the internet.
- Purchase a new MFi-certified Lightning cable from Apple or a reputable retailer if needed.
With a fully-functional Lightning cable, connectivity issues during restores are less likely.
Method #10 – Contact Apple Support
If you still can’t get your iPhone to restore after trying all the DIY troubleshooting, it’s time to contact Apple Support:
- Call 1-800-APL-CARE (800-275-2273) to speak with an Apple technician for free over the phone.
- Chat online with Apple Support at getsupport.apple.com for personalized troubleshooting.
- Schedule an appointment at your closest Apple Store’s Genius Bar for in-person help.
- Mail in your iPhone to Apple Support for inspection and repair if needed.
Apple’s technicians have advanced tools and resources to diagnose and correct stubborn iPhone won’t restore problems. This should be your last step before considering third-party repair options.
In addition, this tool can also fix iPhone stuck in the recovery mode.
Key Takeaways: Get Your iPhone Restored
- Update to the latest iOS, iTunes, and iCloud versions.
- Reset your iPhone and computer to clear out software glitches.
- Check your WiFi and cellular connections for restores requiring internet.
- Use recovery mode, DFU mode, or alternative restore tools like iMazing if needed.
- Try restoring on another computer to isolate the issue source.
- Erase your iPhone completely before restoring for a clean slate.
- Inspect your Lightning cable and use a different one if possible.
- Contact Apple Support if you still can’t get your iPhone to restore.
Besides, here you will learn more about how to solve the problem of corrupt backup for iTunes with ease.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does my iPhone say “Unable to Restore iPhone”?
This error usually means there’s a network problem, software bug, or hardware issue stopping the restore process. Work through connectivity and software troubleshooting, restart your devices, and try alternative restore methods.
How can I tell if my restore failed because of iTunes or my iPhone?
Try restoring your iPhone on a different computer using the latest iTunes version. If the restore still fails, then the issue is with your iPhone. But if it works on the other computer, then you know iTunes on your original computer is the cause.
My iPhone is stuck in recovery mode – how do I fix it?
First, connect your iPhone to your computer and launch iTunes. If iTunes can recognize your device, you should be able to exit recovery mode by restoring or updating it. If iTunes can’t detect your iPhone, you’ll need to hard reset it. Hold the Side and Volume Down buttons for 10+ seconds until it reboots out of recovery mode.
I restored my iPhone but it reverted back, why?
If your iPhone returns to the original problematic state after an initial successful restore, the backup you’re restoring from is likely corrupted. You’ll need to wipe your iPhone and set it up as new, then sync selectively from iTunes rather than restoring the faulty backup.
Can I restore my iPhone without a computer?
Yes, you can restore an iPhone wirelessly as long as you have a recent enough iCloud backup available. Go to Settings > General > Reset and choose Erase All Content and Settings. Then choose Restore from iCloud Backup and select the desired backup. Just make sure you’re on a stable WiFi network.
My iPhone says it’sDisabled Connect to iTunes after failed restores. What should I do?
This means your iPhone has been locked after too many failed passcode attempts. You’ll need to connect it to a computer and either restore it via iTunes or enter your passcode using recovery tools like iMazing or Dr. Fone. Avoid brute forcing passcode attempts, as this will lead to permanent lockout.
Why does my iPhone storage say full, preventing restores?
The “iPhone won’t restore – not enough storage” error happens when your device doesn’t have enough free space for the iOS firmware. Delete apps, photos, videos, and music to free up space for the restore. You may need up to 10GB or more free depending on your iPhone model and iOS version.
Can I force my iPhone to restart out of a stuck restore?
Yes, you can force restart your iPhone even if it’s frozen during a restore. Quickly press and release the Volume Up button, then Volume Down, then press and hold the Side button until the Apple logo appears. This will interrupt the restore, so you’ll have to start the process over after rebooting.
I hope this comprehensive troubleshooting guide gives you the tips and information needed to finally get your stubborn iPhone restoring properly again. Let me know if you have any other questions!