Why do I keep getting an error when trying to restore my iPhone?

Restoring an iPhone can be a frustrating experience, especially when you keep getting errors during the restore process. There are a few common reasons why iPhone restores fail repeatedly. By troubleshooting the different causes, you can hopefully resolve the restore errors and get your iPhone working again.

Quick Answers

Here are some quick answers to common questions about iPhone restore errors:

What are the most common iPhone restore errors?

The most common errors are 4013, 4014, 3194, 4005, 9, and others numbered in the 4000-6000 range. These are generally software-related issues.

What causes repeated iPhone restore errors?

Frequent restore errors are typically caused by a corrupted iOS install, damaged cables, invalid IPSW firmware files, or hardware issues with the iPhone itself.

How can I fix iPhone restore errors?

First, try a different USB cable and port. Downloading a fresh IPSW firmware file can also resolve invalid file errors. For other issues, you may need to factory reset the iPhone or iPad before restoring.

Why does my iPhone get stuck in a restore loop?

If your iPhone keeps getting stuck at the same point during restore, it’s likely due to corrupted iOS software. A restore loop happens when the firmware is damaged and fails verification checks.

How do I get my iPhone out of recovery mode?

To exit recovery mode, connect your iPhone and open iTunes. Force restart the iPhone by pressing and quickly releasing the Volume Up button, then press and hold the Side button until you see the Apple logo.

Common iPhone Restore Errors and How to Fix Them

Here is more detail on some of the most common errors encountered during iPhone restores and how to troubleshoot them:

Error 4013

Error 4013 indicates that iTunes was unable to restore your iPhone because the firmware file is not compatible. This is often caused by trying to install an older iOS version that is no longer being signed by Apple.

To resolve this error, download the latest valid IPSW firmware file for your iPhone model from Apple’s servers. Then retry the restore process using this new firmware file in iTunes.

Error 4014

A 4014 error occurs when the IPSW firmware file you are trying to install on your iPhone is corrupt or invalid. This prevents the restore from verifying the firmware image.

To fix this, delete the IPSW file you have locally and redownload it directly from Apple. Use a reliable, high-speed internet connection as the files are quite large. Then connect your iPhone and retry the restore.

Error 3194

The 3194 restore error is also related to an invalid or corrupt IPSW firmware file. iTunes cannot verify the integrity of the firmware image.

As with 4014 errors, you will need to download the IPSW again from Apple’s servers. Be sure to use the specific IPSW file for your iPhone model and iOS version. After redownloading the firmware file, the 3194 error should be resolved.

Error 4005

A 4005 error indicates an issue communicating with the iPhone in recovery mode. This could be caused by a damaged USB cable, driver problem, or other issue with the USB port.

First, try using a different USB cable and port for the restore process. Make sure you are using an Apple MFi certified Lightning cable. Also verify the USB port and cable are working properly by connecting another device.

If the 4005 persists, you may need to do a factory reset of your iPhone before attempting the restore again. Be sure to backup your data first.

Error 9

The error 9 message occurs when the device unexpectedly exits recovery mode during the restore process. This can interrupt the firmware install.

Doing a force restart of your iPhone will usually clear an error 9. To force restart, press Volume Up, release it, then press and hold the Side button until the Apple logo appears. Then retry the restore in iTunes.

Unknown error occurred (error number)

If you receive an ‘unknown error’ with a number code, look up the error number for specific solutions. Most of these errors are software-related.

For unknown errors, the general troubleshooting steps are:

  • Check for USB/cable issues
  • Try a different USB port and cable
  • Re-download IPSW firmware file
  • Hard reset the iPhone before restore

This will resolve many of the unknown restore errors you may encounter.

Fixing Stuck Progress Bars and Recovery Loop

In some cases, your iPhone can get stuck endlessly looping through the restore process. Typically you will see the progress bar freeze at a certain percentage when this happens. Your iPhone may also be caught in a loop between the Apple logo and recovery mode screens.

A stuck progress bar or repeating loop is usually caused by corrupted iOS software or firmware. Here are some tips to break out of a stuck iPhone restore progress bar or recovery loop:

  • Force restart your iPhone – hold Side and Volume Up buttons
  • Put your iPhone into DFU mode – then restore
  • Try restoring with a different USB cable
  • Update to the latest version of iTunes
  • Use a different computer to restore your iPhone
  • As a last resort, perform a factory reset of the iPhone before restoring

These steps will help re-initiate the restore process and reload the firmware image properly to avoid getting stuck.

Fixing iPhone Restore Errors Caused by Hardware Problems

While most restore errors are software-related, some can occasionally stem from hardware issues with your iPhone.

Defective hardware like a failed logic board or USB controller can sometimes manifest as firmware restore errors. Here are some signs of hardware problems that can interfere with restoring:

  • Visible physical damage to iPhone
  • Unresponsive buttons, touchscreen
  • Restore errors across multiple computers
  • USB port issues with other devices
  • Stuck in recovery mode or restart loops

If you suspect a hardware problem, try restoring your iPhone at an Apple store with known good computers and cables. This will determine if the errors persist due to iPhone hardware failure.

Your only recourse for a hardware-related restore issue is to contact Apple support and inquire about replacement options if your device is still under warranty.

Preventing Restore Errors

While iPhone restore errors cannot always be prevented, here are some tips to help avoid them:

  • Always install the latest iOS updates to avoid software corruption
  • Don’t interrupt the restore process or disconnect your iPhone
  • Use a reliable, fast internet connection to download IPSW firmware
  • Verify the IPSW file size matches Apple’s specs before restoring
  • Back up your iPhone data regularly in case you need to factory reset
  • Use trusted cable and USB ports to avoid hardware issues

Following these best practices will give you the best chance of successfully restoring your iPhone without errors.

When to Contact Apple Support for Restore Assistance

If you have tried all the applicable troubleshooting steps but are still receiving iPhone restore errors, it is time to contact Apple support.

Apple can further assist with resolving stubborn firmware install errors, especially if your iPhone is still under warranty.

You can contact Apple support via phone, online chat, or by scheduling an appointment at an Apple store for in-person support.

When you contact Apple, make sure to have the specific error details handy, along with your iPhone model and the restore steps attempted. This will help Apple identify the problem and provide the best solution.


iPhone restore errors can be annoying to deal with, but are often fixable with some targeted troubleshooting. By re-downloading firmware files, using different cables/ports, doing factory resets, and contacting Apple if needed, you can usually resolve the most common restore issues and get your iPhone working again.

Knowing the specific restore error you are getting is key to finding the right solution quickly. With some persistence and the steps outlined here, your iPhone restore will be successful and you can start using your device again.