By Dylan / Last update June 23, 2021

Error message with iTunes

“iTunes cannot read the contents of the iPhone” I am trying to back up my iPhone and update to new computer and it will not allow me too? Any ideas?

- Question from Apple Communities

Itunes Cannot Read Contents Of Iphone

Recently, many users reported the error message that iTunes cannot read the contents of the iPhone when want to back up iPhone or transfer music, videos, photos via iTunes. If you are experiencing this problem on your device and have not yet found a solution, the following guide will be very useful to you.

Here in this article, I will show you the possible reasons and 4 fixes to iTunes unable to read the contents of the iPhone on Windows/Mac computer.

Part 1. Possible Reasons Why iTunes Cannot Read My iPhone

Until now Apple has not given an exact response why iTunes cannot recognize the contents of the iPhone and ask the device to restore factory settings. But some mobile experts suggest that this is a software-related problem. So we have summarized the possible reasons below.

iTunes is not properly installed. Such components left over from a previous installation of iTunes or failing to log in to your computer as an administrator. Because this error is frequently encountered after installing or updating iTunes.
Corrupted files have an impact on recognition. There are some corrupted files on the iOS device, or some files are improperly written by third-party software.
Devices cause the error. If your iOS device is jailbroken or secondhanded, then that’s most likely because the process of rooting your device has modified the required files for this connection.

Part 2. Possible Solutions to iTunes Cannot Read the Contents of the iPhone Issue

There are 4 viable solutions we have offered below. You can try one or more of them to resolve this issue based on your occasion.

Solution 1. Update or Reinstall iTunes

As mentioned that error iTunes fails to read the contents of the iPhone will happen due to properly installed iTunes. So updating or reinstalling iTunes may fix the issue.

If your iTunes is out-of-date, please update iTunes to the latest version on your Windows PC/ Mac firstly. Check whether iTunes can work with your iPhone normally after updating. If not, you can try to reinstall iTunes. Follow the guide below to make it.

On Windows 10 computer:

To uninstall iTunes

Step 1. Open the Control Panel and go to Programs and Features.

Step 2. Locate iTunes and click Uninstall.

Step 3. Wait until the process is completed.

To reinstall iTunes

Step 1. Open the Microsoft Store and search iTunes.

Step 2. Click Download. Follow the onscreen instructions.

Step 3. Launch iTunes.

On Mac:

Uninstall iTunes:

Step 1. Go to Finder and click Applications.

Step 2. Select and drag iTunes app to Trash.

Step 3. Ctrl-click on Trash and hit Empty Trash.

Reinstall iTunes:

Step 1. Simply go to the Apple iTunes official web page or App Store and click the download button.

Step 2. Follow the onscreen instructions on how to download iTunes.

Now that you have uninstalled and reinstalled iTunes on your computer, try reconnecting your iPhone and see if iTunes cannot read the contents of the iPhone error still shows up.

Solution 2. Rename iTunes Library Filename

The one of reasons why iTunes cannot read the iPhone is that your iPhone is jailbroken and some files are modified by root. On the occasion, you can rename these files and that will force your iPhone to create new versions of the database. here is the guide you can follow.

Step 1. Open iFile on your iPhone.

Step 2. Go to /var/mobile/Media/iTunes_Control/iTunes.

Step 3. Rename iTunes DB, iTunes control, and iTunes prefs. (iTunes DB > iTunes DB.old, iTunes control > iTunes control.old, and iTunesPrefs > iTunesPrefs.old)

Step 4. Reconnect the iPhone to iTunes and test to see if this solution works for you.

Solution 3. Use iTunes Alternative Tool

Instead of trying to fix the problem iTunes cannot read the contents of the iPhone, you can use an iTunes alternative to back up your iPhone. You may utilize iPhone manager AOMEI MBackupper to make a backup to your Windows 10 PC, which offers a better user experience than iTunes.

Widely Compatible:
◆Supports most iPhone models from iPhone 4 to the latest iPhone 12, iPhone XS/XS Max/XR/11.
◆ Works with iPad /iPad mini/iPad Air/iPad Pro, and iPod touch 1/2/3/4/5/6/7.
◆Compatible with the latest iOS 14.

Here is how to backup iPhone to Windows 10/8/7 with AOMEI MBackupper:

Step 1. Download and install AOMEI MBackupper.

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

Step 2. Connect your iPhone with USB, and tap Trust This Computer on your iPhone.

Step 3. Click Custom Backup.

Step 4. Check all the data to backup your iPhone. Then click the Start Backup to continue.

Tips: Here you can change the storage path of backup to anywhere on computer based on your situation.

Step 5. when your backup is completed. You can easily find your backup files by clicking Positioning in Backup Management to Restore, Browse, Delete backup.

Solution 4. Restore to Factory Settings

The last and always work option would restore your device to factory settings with iTunes. Since all the data will be removed on your iOS device, you’d better have an iCloud backup, If not, you can create a backup with iTunes alternative AOMEI MBackupper mentioned in solution 4 now before factory resetting.

The steps to reset all the settings like below:

Step 1. Go to Settings and tap General.

Step 2. Tap Reset, then tap Erase All Content and Settings.

Step 3. After resetting, check if the issue iTunes cannot read the contents of the iPhone 12 is fixed.


That’s all 4 methods to fix iTunes cannot read the contents of the iPhone. Hope you can fix this problem without effort. If they don't work, you have the option of using AOMEI MBackupper to back up your iPhone. In addition to that, which can also help you erase your iPhone, transfer data from iPhone to computer, even convert HEIC picture.