Error message with iTunes
iTunes cannot read the contents of the iPhone” I am trying to back up my iPhone and update to my computer and it will not allow me to do it. My Computer is running Windows 10. Any ideas?
- Question from Apple Community
Recently, many users reported the error message of "iTunes cannot read the contents of the iPhone. Go to the Summary tab in iPhone preferences and click Restore to restore this iPhone to factory settings" when want to back up iPhone or transfer music, videos, and photos via iTunes.
If you are experiencing this problem on your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, you can refer to this post, we will show you the possible reasons and 4 fixes to iTunes unable to read the contents of the iPhone on Windows/Mac computer.
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.
According to the causes above, here we provide 4 solutions to fix this problem. You can try one or more of them to resolve this issue based on your occasion.
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If your iTunes is out-of-date, please update iTunes to the latest version on your Windows PC/ Mac firstly.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.
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.
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.
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.
Instead of trying to fix the problem iTunes cannot read the contents of the iPhone, you can use an iTunes alternative to backup and manage your iPhone. You may utilize iPhone manager AOMEI MBackupper to backup/transefer data to your Windows 10, 11, 8, 7 PC, which offers a better user experience than iTunes.
Now, you can follow the guide below, we will show you how to use this tool by demonstrating the steps to fully backup your iPhone to Windows 11, 10, 8, 7 with this tool.
Step 1. Download and install AOMEI MBackupper.
Step 2. Connect your iPhone with USB, and tap Trust This Computer on your iPhone.
Step 3. Click Full Backup on the main interface.
Tip: You can also click "Custom Backup" to partially backup data.
Step 4. Once the program runs, click the "Full Backup" button.
Step 5. Here you can choose a location to save the backup files, and click "Start Backup".
Wait for the backup process to get finished. To restore the iPhone/iPad backup, you can connect your device to computer, and choose "Full Backup" > "Full Restore".
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 13/12/11. 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 pictures.