How to Fix iTunes "Could Not Restore the iPhone Because the iPhone Disconnected" Message

Kelly Heffner Wilkerson, Co-Founder of Decipher Media
Kelly Heffner Wilkerson

Categories: iTunes | View Comments

I know I'm weird, because I get a little thrill out of seeing new error messages in iTunes. Most people groan, and granted it takes some time out of my day, but I get to make a new blog post out of it and hopefully help a bunch of people! So without further ado...

This morning I'm testing some iPhone drive cleaning software and restoring a cleaned-up backup. While doing so, I got this message:

iTunes could not restore the iPhone "Kelly's iPhone 5s" because the iPhone disconnected.

Considering that my iPhone USB cable has electric tape holding it together, I first assumed that my USB connection to the computer was faulty, and unplugged everything, blew on everything, and plugged it all back together. When that didn't help AND I noticed that my phone was actually still connected to iTunes, I realized that "because the iPhone disconnected" means more specifically "because the iPhone disconnected from the restore service." Since I'm intentionally editing my backup (to reduce the file sizes,) I could deduce that there is likely an issue with the backup that I am restoring.

If you are seeing the message "iTunes could not restore the iPhone because the iPhone disconnected." it likely means that the iPhone restore process is crashing on the iPhone. Possible causes and solutions:

Update April 17, 2018: We originally started seeing the iPhone disconnected error back in 2014, and since then we've done a lot of research and fixed a lot of broken iPhone backups. You can read a more recent blog post about the "iTunes could not restore the iPhone because the iPhone disconnected" error here.