By Dylan / Last update May 26, 2023


iPhone cannot be synced error 54

I was using iTunes to sync song albums to my iPhone until it said the iPhone cannot be synced and an unknown error occurred (-54). I don’t know what’s going on. Someone could tell me how can I fix it?

- Question from Apple User

iTunes Error 54

Transferring files from PC to iPhone is not so easy as you transfer files to an Android phone. If you want to do it in Apple’s way, you could only sync files from PC to iPhone with iTunes. Because the rule of iOS, sometimes you might have problems when syncing iPhone. One of the problems is “An unknown error occurred (-54)” and then you cannot sync iPhone. This could be annoying because Apple has given its only way for you to transfer files from computer iPhone but it seems corrupt. This problem often happens on Windows 10, but Microsoft does nothing to solve it.

When issues arise, you could also have the solutions. The following content would tell you why the error 54 happens and how to fix it. Your files should always be successfully synced.

Why iPhone cannot be synced and what’s iTunes error 54?

Technically, the file security would be the reason if you make sure the connection is good. Apple always keeps the files on iPhone complete and safe, so if iTunes find that some files could be incomplete or unsecure, iTunes would stop transferring data and report error. Therefore, every time you sync iPhone with iTunes, you should always keep the folder clean. Do not add unnecessary files to it.

Folder of Songs

Solution 1: Consolidate media files

If you are syncing media files with iTunes, iTunes error 54 might happen for the location of the files could be unclear. Your purchased content might be saved in different folder on PC. The media files you are preparing to sync could be just the shortcuts.

To consolidate media files, you should go to File > Library > Consolidate Files.

iTunes Consolidate Files

Consolidating media files could gather all the iTunes contents to one folder. You could go to Edit > Preferences > Advanced to see the location. Don’t worry about that the original files would be deleted because iTunes would just copy the files to the destination. To save the space on computer, you might need to delete some files after syncing. You could also backup iTunes library after consolidating media files.

Solution 2: Update iTunes to the latest version

Your iTunes should be up to date to avoid system glitches. If you downloaded iTunes from Microsoft Store, it would check update by itself every time you launch iTunes. If you downloaded iTunes from Apple Support, you need to check update by yourself.

To update iTunes, you should go to Help > Check for Updates.

iTunes Check For Updates

Solution 3: Grant permission to iTunes

If iTunes doesn’t have the permission to read the folder, your iPhone cannot be synced and error would happen. There are two ways to grand permission to iTunes.

First, you should unlock the folder or files. Find the folder or files you want to sync > right-click it > select Properties > select Compatibility > uncheck Read Only.

Uncheck Read Only

Then, you need to grand the administrator rights to iTunes. Right-click iTunes and select Run as administrator.

Run As Admin

Solution 4: Delete and then download iTunes content again

If all the contents you want to sync are the purchased content from iTunes, you could re-download them to solve syncing error 54. Make sure you have signed in your Apple ID and follow the steps:

Go to account > Purchased (or family purchased) to select and download the music and movies you have purchased.

After that, you should try sync your iPhone again.

iTunes Purchased

Solution 5: Delete and then import iTunes content again

If you want to sync the music or movies from other sources, you should reimport these files to iTunes because they might have been modified.

Go to File > Add File to Library (or Add Folder to Library) or just simply drag the folder to iTunes.

Add File to Library

Solution 6: Sync a small number of files every time

If there are just one or two songs stop you to sync iPhone, you should sync several files at a time to see whether error 54 happens. If there is no error, you should add more files and then sync iPhone with iTunes again until you sync all the files to iPhone or find the bad files.

Use alternative to avoid errors

iTunes has too many limitations. If you want to freely transfer music or movies to from old iPhone to new iPhone without downloading them again, you should use another professional tool.

FoneTool is a free iPhone backup software. It could help you transfer all the media files or part of selected items to another device without errors.

  • Preview all the songs and videos on iPhone and select the wanted ones

  • Transfer songs and videos to another iPhone including iPhone 4s/5/5s/6/6s/6 plus/6s plus/SE/7/7 plus/8/8 plus/X/XS/XR/11/12/13/14

  • Support transferring data to iPad and iPod Touch

  • Support the latest iOS 16

Step 1: Download FoneTool for free. Connect old iPhone to computer with USB cable and tap “Trust” on it.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7
Secure Download

Step 2: Click Phone Backup and go to Selective Backup. Click the icon of Music or Videos to preview and select the media files. After that, click OK to return to the home screen.

Select Files

Step 3: Click Start Backup on the home screen. Disconnect old iPhone and then connect the new iPhone to FoneTool.

Click Start Backup

Step 4: Go to Backup History > Click the three-dots icon and select Restore to add files to the target device.

Restore to Device


When you sync files from iTunes to iPhone, you might have the problem that iPhone cannot be synced and an unknown error occurred (-54). This could be caused by that iTunes cannot read the complete files. You should follow the solutions above to solve it.

Does this passage solve your problem? You could share it to help more people.

FoneTool Runs Perfectly on

iOS Versions
  • iOS 16/15/14/13/12/11 and former
  • iPadOS 16/15/14/13/12/11 and former
iOS Devices
  • iPhone 14/14 Pro (Max), 13/13 mini/Pro (Max), iPhone 12/12 mini/Pro (Max), iPhone 11/11 Pro (Max)
  • iPhone X/XR/XS/XS Max, iPhone 8/8 Plus, iPhone 7/7 Plus, iPhone 6/6s/6s Plus
  • iPhone SE (1st, 2nd, 3rd generations)
  • iPod touch 1/2/3/4/5/6/7
  • All models of iPad Air, iPad mini, iPad Pro and iPad