What is iPhone (iTunes) error 11

It is an old error that some may receive while trying to update an IOS device through iTunes. This is the kind of message a user may get unlucky to face with:

“The iPhone [device name] could not be restored. An unknown error occurred (11).”


“The iPhone [device name] could not be updated. An unknown error occurred (11).”

Most commonly, victims of this error have had their iPhones operating on iOS 12, 13, 14, or 15. It is also quite similar to other iPhone issues (53, 14, 10, 2015, 1110, 3194, etc.) we have discussed in previous troubleshooting articles on our website. In general, there is no single reason related to the appearance of such errors. The causes may vary broadly in each individual case – badly connected USB cable, outdated software, system glitch, insufficient memory, compatibility issues, and other possible reasons as well. Below, we have gathered a list of solutions that are most likely to resolve the issue and let you update your device eventually. Follow along and try each step we offer until the issue gets resolved.

iphone itunes error 11

Download repair tool

Sometimes resolving the errors is out of our control and possibilities. This is where third-party tools are more than welcome to contribute and carry all the difficulties away. If you are facing error 11 or similar issues, but fail to benefit from any of the manual steps below, try using Tenorshare ReiBoot – a great recovery tool designed for resolving errors like that. Get to know how one can use it to address the errors and restore or update an IOS device successfully on their website.

Download iOS Repair Tool
  1. Download and install ReiBoot for either Mac or Windows.
  2. Once done, open the app and plug your device into the computer.
  3. The program should recognize your device and offer a couple of options.
  4. Choose Standard if you simply want to update your device or Deep repair if you want to fully restore it.
  5. Then, download the firmware found by the app for your smartphone by clicking Download.
  6. Once the process is finished, click Repair now to start resolving the problems.
  7. Standard is meant to search for basic issues and bugs to address them without wiping out your data.

    Deep repair will reset your device to factory settings and delete the entire data stored on it.

  8. Wait until the app finishes its repair and restores your device. It will take about 15 minutes to end.

If your device is stuck on the Apple logo and does not want to move any further, skip over to these steps and get to the original sequence of methods after reviving your device.

1. Make sure you have free memory on your iPhone

One of the reasons why an iOS update may fail is the lack of available memory. Each update requires space to be downloaded and installed. If there is not enough free memory on a device for the necessary update, then it is more likely to run into a problem like error 11. Thus, make sure you check your iPhone’s (or other’s IOS device) internal storage for at least a couple of gigabytes. Here is how:

  1. Go to Settings and navigate to General.
  2. Then find and choose [Device] Storage.

From there, you will be able to see how much memory is left. If there is not a lot of it left and you see barely any free space, then this can be the reason why you are subject to facing the error 11. Empty some space by deleting or transferring unnecessary files to another storage.

2. Check your USB cable

Another possible reason why error 11 occurs could be because something is wrong with your cable. Double-check for it to be fully plugged into the ports on your Mac (or Windows) and IOS device as well. Try other ports to see if anything changes. Also, if you have a spare cable or someone to borrow it from, try it as well and check the difference. If nothing changes and you continue being trapped by the same error, go to other solutions we have for you below.

3. Ensure your iTunes and macOS are up-to-date

Keeping your system up-to-date is key for stability and flawless operation. When dealing with issues related to updating or restoring a device through iTunes, many users end up successfully solving the problem by retrieving new software updates. This is why we advise you to check both iTunes and macOS for available updates and install them if any. Here is a short instruction on how you can do this:

To install updates for macOS:

  1. Go to Apple menu in the top left corner of your screen and choose System Preferences.
  2. Then, click Software update and choose Update Now to install the latest update available for your current version.
  3. If you don’t see this button, this means your system is already up-to-date.

Usually, other apps like iTunes get updated along with installing the latest macOS version. Despite this, it is still worth double-checking.

To install updates for iTunes:

  1. Open App Store from the dock on your screen.
  2. Move to Updates on top of the window or left pane and search for iTunes from the list.
  3. If there are any updates available, you will be able to click on Install to get them.

Otherwise, your iTunes service is up-to-date. If you installed iTunes on Windows from Microsoft Store, do a similar procedure there.

4. Force-restart your device

This is a solution to get out of the Apple logo loop which may occur while updating your device through iTunes. This is quite a common issue that happens during the update. Here is what you can do to get out of this black hole and try updating your device using alternative methods again.

iPhone 8 or later:

  1. Press and quickly release the Volume Up button.
  2. Press and quickly release the Volume Down button.
  3. Press and hold the Side button (which you use to unlock your screen) until you see the Apple logo.

iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPod touch (7th generation):

  1. Press and hold the Side (or Top) button and the Volume Down button together at the same time.
  2. Likewise in the previous steps, the Apple logo should appear on the screen.

iPad models with a Home button, iPhone 6s or earlier, and iPod touch (6th generation) or earlier:

  1. Press and hold both the Side (or Top) button and the Home button until you see the same Apple logo as it was above.

iPad models without a Home button:

  1. Press and quickly release the Volume Up button.
  2. Press and quickly release the Volume Down button.
  3. Then press-hold the Power button and wait until the iPad restarts.

Basically, the pattern of restarting your device is the same only varying by a combination of buttons on different generations of IOS devices.

5. Disable third-party security software

Error 11 can also originate from Internet problems. Therefore, it is worth checking that no third-party security software blocks access to it. Some anti-malware programs may lead to certain incompatibilities that prevent proper communication with Apple servers in some cases. Thus, let’s check it by doing the following:

  1. Try to disable your third-party antivirus or other security software.
  2. If this does not help or there is simply no third-party software you can disable, maybe the problem is with your Internet connection.

  3. Restart the router plus computer and reconnect to your wireless network again.
  4. If you are using a wireless Internet connection, try to connect an Ethernet cable directly to your computer (if there is one available). This could also help you resolve the problem.
  5. You can also find another network and try to use it instead.

6. Try using another computer

If you did not manage to sort things out using the methods above, try to borrow a Mac from your friend or other family members to update/restore the problematic device. This method is worth giving a shot because you never know what is the problem with the Mac itself. It is also possible your USB port is damaged as mentioned above, which you are unable to see without sufficient experience. Therefore, give it a try using a Mac of somebody else.


Errors when updating a device through iTunes are no wonder to Apple users anymore. They happen quite often and usually have the same root of appearance. This means all solutions we used in this guide will most likely be suitable for other similar issues that may occur elsewhere. We hope nothing else will hinder your updates from being installed after this incident and you will continue using your device as usual.

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