iTunes Cannot Read The Contents of The iPhone: 4 Fixes

When connecting the iPhone to iTunes, an error message may appear, and you may find that iTunes cannot read the contents of the iPhone. But don't worry, this post will give you everything to get the reasons and solutions.


By Dylan / Updated on June 18, 2024

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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

Itunes Cannot Read Contents Of Iphone

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.

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

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.

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.

Uninstall iTunes

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 backup and manage your iPhone. You may utilize iPhone manager FoneTool to backup/transefer data to your Windows 11, 10,  8 and 7 PC, which offers a better user experience than iTunes.

FoneTool owns many advantages and features to meet different needs, including:
Fast backup: You can successfully create a backup on your computer with fast speed.
Different backup methods: It provides "Full Backup" features to backup all data on iPhoneor selectively backup important photos, videos, messages, contacts, music, and other items,with the "Selective Backup" feature.
Great compatibility: FoneTool supports most iPhone models from iPhone 4 to the latest iPhone 15, 14, 13, 12, iPhone XS/XS Max/XR/11,iPad /iPad mini/iPad Air/iPad Pro, and iPod touch 1/2/3/4/5/6/7. And work perfectly with the latest iOS 17.
Change the backup location: You can create an iPhone backup on any location of your computer or even an external storage device, like an HDD.

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 FoneTool.

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

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

Step 3. Click Phone Backup on the main interface. Go to Full Backup and click Get Started.

Full Backup

Tip: You can also click "Selective Backup" to partially backup data.

Step 4. Here you can choose a location to save the backup files, and click Start Backup.

Start Backup

Wait for the backup process to get finished. To restore the iPhone/iPad backup, you can connect your device to computer, and go to My Backups History > Select Restore to make it.

my backups

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 FoneTool 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.

Erase All Content And Settings iOS 15


That’s all 4 methods to fix iTunes cannot read the contents of the iPhone 15/14/13/12/11. Hope you can fix this problem without effort. If they don't work, you have the option of using FoneTool 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.


1. Can a specific iOS version cause the error "iTunes cannot read the contents of the iPhone"?

While iOS versions can influence device compatibility with iTunes, this error is more likely caused by software conflicts or connectivity issues rather than the iOS version itself.

2. Should I try using a different USB cable or port to fix this error?

Yes, using a different USB cable or connecting to a different USB port on your computer can help troubleshoot and resolve connectivity issues causing the error.

3. If I'm still experiencing issues, should I contact Apple Support for help?

Yes, if you've exhausted troubleshooting steps and continue to encounter the error "iTunes cannot read the contents of the iPhone," reaching out to Apple Support can provide specialized assistance based on your specific situation.

Dylan · Editor
Dylan is an editor of mobile backup software. He likes to share the latest news about iPhone and iOS, write useful tips, and give solutions to help people solve all kinds of issues.