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

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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.

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  • Alex

    Alex September 9, 2016

    Hi Kelly,
    I am facing the same problem with iphone disconnect. I try to use the Decipher Backup Repair to Repair the backup (and also advance mode). However, the problem still here. I have try to restore more than 10 times and the problem always occur at the end after a long restore for 2 hour. Anything I could do to get my data back? Thanks

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW September 9, 2016

      Hi Alex,

      I believe I just emailed you -- but if you don't see an email from me, let me know here!

      • alex texas October 10, 2016

        was this issue resolved... dealing with the same thing

  • Dimz July 7, 2016

    how do u reboot your device?

  • Callie April 4, 2016

    I need some help! I backed my iphone 6s up to my itunes. I then tried to update my itunes software. For some reason, my phone went into recovery mode. Now, I am trying to put my restore that is on my itunes back on my phone. The first 4 attempts it would run for an hour and then say "Cannot restore the phone iphone is disconnected. On the 5th attempt it just ran for about 8 hours and the time kept increasing. Apple support is telling me to just delete it all and start over but I REALLY need my data for work. What can I do? Thank you.

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW April 4, 2016

      Hi Callie,
      I think I see a Decipher Backup Repair purchase from you, but I want to make sure I followup with this comment just in case! DBR should be able to help, but if you would rather email with us first, you can send us an email through the "Contact" link at the top of this blog post page.

  • Cathal January 1, 2016

    Hi I'm trying to update a friends iPad 2 for the first time some it was bought, it needed the update because all the apps wouldn't run because the os was out of date. I plugged it in to my laptop and connected it to iTunes and tried to run the update. It ran as normal and then as the apple sign with the loading bar appeared on the screen of the iPad it repeatedly disconnected and reconnected until an error appeared on the laptop screen. I tried repeatedly and used different USB ports and the charger cable is just out of the box so that's not the problem. What do I do as the iPad is now wiped with no os on it and won't run at all, thanks

  • Varun Bhasin

    Varun Bhasin December 12, 2015

    hi.. i am facing a similar situation ...need help badly..need the data back

  • Nick October 10, 2015

    You said it was a free trail but I didnt even get to finish my de bugging...

  • Zoki Todorovic

    Zoki Todorovic October 10, 2015

    hi kelly i am also trying to back up my iphone 6. have tried all these options and a few different ones. Get to the end pretty much then get the message. This is driving me nuts not sure what else i can do

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW October 10, 2015

      Hi Zoki!

      This sounds quite familiar to what we've been hearing from people wanting to *make* a backup as well, rather than restore one. The suggestions that seem to be working for most people lately are 1) put your iPhone in airplane mode and 2) to make sure you don't have a lot of pending app updates on your iPhone.

      (If it seems like shortly after plugging in to iTunes a ton of updates magically are needed, let me know.)

      Feel free to send me an email using the "Contact" link way at the top of this page and we can dive in to your specifics.

      • Zoki Todorovic

        Zoki Todorovic October 10, 2015

        Thanx i did get it to work eventually had to delete old back up restarted my Mac and re booted the phone and it worked. But do need to instal some major updates but have no internet ATM. Will monitor if this keeps happening and will let you know. Thanx again Zoki

  • Greg Oliphant October 10, 2015

    I had the above error. And after 3-4 new iPad resets, deleting of backups, uninstall and re-installs of iTunes, one time iTunes kicked out a new error 0xe800000c, which i read is a bad cable error. Not sure why this error didnt pop up the multiple other restore attempts. I also read that sometime usb3 can be an issue. Fact is - I removed the new cable, used my old apple cable on a usb2 port and presto everything worked fine.

  • Georgina September 9, 2015

    I am trying to swap from my 5S to a 6S I have backed up my 6S to my iTunes multiple times, deleted old backups in iTunes, changed cords, changed ports, restarted iPhone and computer.... Keeps working for 10 min and then "disconnecting"

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW September 9, 2015

      Hi Georgina!

      You've backed up your 5S and are getting the "disconnecting" when trying to restore the 6S, correct? If you'd like to contact us, you can do so from our support page: where we may be able to help more directly.

  • Brandon Beck

    Brandon Beck September 9, 2015

    After exhausting all of these solutions and failing each time, it decided to go full retard in my attempt to restore my files from my iphone 5 to my new 6s. First, I deleted all other backups aside from the one I needed. Then, create a new backup of the 6s and go into the folder and delete ALL of the data but the leave the folder intact. Next, go to the folder with the data you actually want and copy all of them. Paste in the new backup folder->win->eat ice cream

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW September 9, 2015

      Hi Brandon,

      Interesting solution -- did you replace every single file in the "new" backup folder with the versions from your iPhone 5 backup? Or did you leave some?

  • Nups

    Nups July 7, 2015

    Hi Kelly,
    I have tried restarting, changing USB port and it is still giving me the message of iPhone disconnected. I have send an email on info decipher email IS. Thanks

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW July 7, 2015

      Hi Nups,

      I just wanted to make sure I replied here too for our readers', since we have been emailing back and forth. The "disconnected" error message can sometimes be caused by USB issues, and sometimes by errors in the backups that cause the restore process to "hang up" on iTunes.

  • Ashik Iqbal June 6, 2015


    I am having same problem. But in may be another way, I have iphone 5s (A1530), when i am connecting it to itunes its showing an update file of iphone 6,2 but when i am connecting it in DFU mode its starting downloading Iphone 5,2 file. I am too confused why its happening. In both cases update is terminating during backup. and its some time showing Because Iphone disconnect some time showing error code 32 (which is not included in apple error list in apple support page!!!) can you please help me? now my iphone is running 8.0.2. and i am in huge trouble. I can not find my "Mail, Contacts, Calender" in setting.
    I can not add any accounts, Please help me out.



    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW June 6, 2015

      Hi Ashik,

      Send us an email to, and let me know what OS you are running on your computer. We'll grab some of the log files and see why the connection is getting severed.

  • June

    June April 4, 2015

    Hi Kelly, I have encountered the issue on itunes "could not restore the iphone because the iphone disconnected" .... And I downloaded the free trial of your decipher backup repair and repair my backup file... and it stills not working! Is that because I needed to pay the license to do advanced repair for my iphone or my file cant be fixed?

    Thanks a lot !

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW April 4, 2015

      Hi June,

      Yes, you'll need to register the program -- the program will then walk you through a few more steps and then tell you it's time to try the restore :)

  • Scott K November 11, 2014

    I just wanted to let everyone know that I was having the exact same issue with iTunes disconnecting and I tried moving my back up so on and so forth. I have an iPhone 5 using iTunes 12 on Windows 8.1. I tried the suggestion of plugging the usb cable in to a usb 2 port instead of using the usb 3 and it worked!

  • bradclarkuk

    bradclarkuk September 9, 2014

    Im getting the message just when trying to do a backup through iTunes to my computer - can't seem to get it to complete. Im using an amazon lightning cable. works with everything else, syncing, charging etc

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW September 9, 2014

      Interesting. We could try deleting or "hiding" your previous backup from iTunes. Since iTunes does an incremental backup (building on the previous backup) it's possible that a problem in the existing backup is causing this message.

      Do you have a previous backup listed in iTunes (Preferences -> Devices Tab)? If you're comfortable deleting that backup you can do it through iTunes, but if you'd rather just hide it, you can rename the folder of the backup and then iTunes won't use it as the "primary" backup to build from. If you need instructions on getting to the actual backup folders, let me know what OS you are on (Mac or which Windows) :)

      • bradclarkuk

        bradclarkuk September 9, 2014

        Hey Kelly, thanks for taking the time to reply. I have deleted all the previous backups and reset the lockdown folder etc - nothing is listed in the preferences - could this be due to having a developer beta of ios8 already installed? I am currently trying to do a backup via iCloud but it will take forever and a day.

        • Kelly HW

          Kelly HW September 9, 2014

          Hmm - I definitely took backups of our iOS8 beta phone a lot, but maybe yours has something goofy going on. I have two more thoughts about what we can try:

          1) If you want to grab the iPhone Configuration Utility, we can use it to grab the log file from the phone while it is backing up. We can see what the backup agent process's real complaint is.


          Mac OSX:

          (The download page will mention a newer version available for Mavericks, but for our purposes, this version is easier!)

          The log scrolls like crazy, so it's annoying to copy & paste directly from the program. I usually save to a text file. If you want to email us the log file you can use the email address info AT and I'll take a look at it.

          2) iTunes may not report the backup existing, but there might be one sitting in the backup folder anyhow, being a problem. If you want to go look manually:

          On a Mac your backups are in /Users/your username/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup
          (Open Finder, hold the Option key, and select "Library" from the Go menu to get to your user's Library folder.)

          In Windows, the fastest way to get to your backup folders is:
          - (Windows 7 and below) Start -> Run -> type %appdata% (with the percents) and press return.
          - (Windows 8) Search -> type %appdata% (with the percents) and press return.

          From Application Data, navigate to Apple Computer, Inc. -> MobileSync -> Backup.

          You can match your device identifier with the backup folder name by clicking on the Serial Number field in iTunes (which will switch it to your device identifier.)

  • Miguel Angel Baeyens

    Miguel Angel Baeyens August 8, 2014

    Removing the /var/db/lockdown/file where file is the same .plist file name as the most recent backup in the local Library also helps.

  • Catalin Lungu

    Catalin Lungu July 7, 2014

    After many attempts, I restarted the iPod manually as you suggested in the first step, and then restore from previuos backup went smoothly. Thank you Kelly! (This happened after I installed iOS 8 beta 4 and then went back to 7.1.2)

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW July 7, 2014

      I'm glad the advice helped!

      • Dimz July 7, 2016

        how do you reboot?

  • Kelly HW

    Kelly HW July 7, 2014

    We're seeing a fair deal of traffic to this page from people searching for this error dialog. Are the suggestions helping you? If not, leave us a comment so we can figure out some other fixes to add to this article!

    • Gaztastic

      Gaztastic October 10, 2014

      I'm having similar difficulties to some, when backing up when I get to the end i.e. 7/8 during the back up,I get the iPhone is disconnected error. There are similar threads on Apple support but none of them have worked for me yet. Below is a list of what I have tried:

      I'm using an iMac on Yosemite, with iTunes 12, IOS 8 on a 4s, all up to date.

      I have deleted all back ups through prefs in iTunes

      I have turned off all WiFI

      I am not using a Hub or USB 3

      I have tried backing up to my Mac which I normally do

      I have tired backing up the iCloud as an alternative option, same error.

      I have tried a different cable to sync with that works on my wife's set up (same as me only Maverick / IOS 7 & iTunes 11)

      I can not find the MobileSync folder (perhaps Yosemite has a different folder structure?) to change the back up file.

      Any other ideas? I don't have a back up at all anymore?

      • Kelly HW

        Kelly HW October 10, 2014

        Hi Gaztastic,

        Thanks for commenting -- definitely the first thing we should do is find that MobileSync folder so we can look for anymore backups to erase.

        In Finder, select the Go menu up at the top of the screen. If you hold the option key, a menu choice "Library" should appear in the Go menu. Select Library, which will take you to your user account's Library folder (as opposed to Macintosh HD/Library.)

        In this Library folder, navigate to Application Support-> MobileSync-> Backup. If there's no other backups to delete/rename/move, let me know and we can move on to looking for other reasons the phone would complain during the backup.

        • Gaztastic

          Gaztastic October 10, 2014

          Hi Kelly

          I followed your instructions and found the backup folder, renamed it and moved it to the desktop then tried a back up. The same error occurred, when looking in the back up folder an identical back up folder had been recreated which appears empty (folder name: ec658dc7ebadc596f406115f0ce29e3866b39148)

          Thanks for the speedy response.


          • Kelly HW

            Kelly HW October 10, 2014

            Hi again Gaz,

            Thanks for the followup. So iTunes/the iPhone are indeed having an error just when creating a fresh backup. (Usually, the error is due to a problem with the existing backup being updated.)

            Can you send us an email at info AT or via our support page (both go to the same place :)) We should collect the logs while your backup is running, so we can see the complaint. If you want to dig up the existing log files that may already be on your computer from the last couple tries, here is how to do that on Windows:

            Windows 8: Go to Search and then type %appdata% (with the percents) and press return/enter. A file browser window will open to the Application Data folder.

            Windows 7, Vista, XP: From the start menu, select Run. In the run box, type %appdata% (with the percents) and press return/enter. A file browser window will open to the Application Data folder.

            From there, navigate to Apple Computer -> Logs.

            Do you see any files in there starting with “asl” (dated when you were doing the restores?) Feel free to send us anything you have, and I’ll sort it out. Usually the log files do not contain personal data, but you are of course welcome to review them prior to sending them to make sure!

            For the life of me, I still can't find them on my Mac. But we can just collect the logs directly from the phone in either case too.

            • Gaztastic

              Gaztastic October 10, 2014

              Hi Kelly

              I'm also on a Mac, I will send you an Email so you can let me know how to proceed with logs.