What is iTunes (iPhone) error 3004

“The iPhone [device name] could not be updated. An unknown error occurred (3004).”


“The iPhone [device name] could not be restored. An unknown error occurred (3004).”

These are the two popular error messages that users may receive while trying to update or restore iPhone or other iOS devices. It is also quite similar to other iPhone issues (53, 14, 10, 2015, 1110, 3194, 2005, 2003, etc.) that were discussed in previous troubleshooting articles on our website. This issue has its roots spanning back to 2012 and yet continues to be acute these days. Some users reported that the issue occurs also after trying to downgrade their device from iOS 15 to an older iOS version. Whatever it is causing the issue, the error remains the same. Usually, its appearance is related to badly connected USB cables, outdated software, system glitch, compatibility issues, internet connection, and other possible problems as well. Below, we have gathered a list of solutions that are most likely to resolve the issue and let you update/restore your device eventually. Try each method in the sequence below until it resolves the issue.

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 3004 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. Check your USB cable

The first and easiest method we recommend you try is to check whether everything is alright with your USB cable. Make sure again that it is fully plugged into the ports on your Mac (or Windows) and IOS device as well. You can also try other ports to see if anything changes. Using a spare USB cable is also an option to try. If nothing changes and the same error continues to make its presence known, feel free to move to other solutions we have prepared for you below.

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

iTunes may prompt error 3004 due to a lack of some updates within your system. Thus, it is crucial to make sure that all available updates are installed and the system is running up-to-date. 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 are short guidelines for how to 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.

3. 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 trap and try updating or restoring 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.

4. Disable third-party security software/Try to solve Internet problems

Third-party security software may blocks access to the retrieval of important packages from Apple servers. As a result, such incompatibilities prevent proper communication with Apple servers and lead to error 3004 or others. Let’s do the following to make sure it is not the case anymore:

  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.

5. Configure your hosts file

Be it Mac or Windows, host files are meant to store information helping to link proper connection with servers. If some entry becomes modified against its default values, this can be the reason for problems with server connections. To check whether it is your case or not, do the following:

for Windows users:

Instructions for Windows may vary depending on which version is currently installed. This is why we recommend you visit this page and choose instructions dedicated to your Windows OS.

for Mac users:

  1. Go to Applications & Utilities using Finder.
  2. Open Terminal and type this command sudo nano /private/etc/hosts. Press Return.
  3. If asked, enter the password you use to log into the system.
  4. After seeing a window full of different entries, navigate to gs.apple.com using arrow keys on your keyboard.
  5. Note! If there is no entry named gs.apple.com inside of the window, this means the “hosts” file has nothing to do with the error. Simply ignore this method and skip further to others below.

  6. Add the # symbol and a space (“# “) to the beginning of the gs.apple.com entry.
  7. Press Control-O to save the file and press Return when asked to type the filename.
  8. After that, press Control-X to exit the window and restart your Mac at the end.
  9. Once all of these steps are done, attempt to update or restore your iOS device again. We hope it helps.

6. Update your iPhone through Settings

If there is no specific reason why you want to update your device exactly through iTunes, then you can also do it via Settings on iPhone itself. This is an alternative method if attempts to resolve the issue with iTunes do not lead to any success. You can check availability of new updates for your device by following these steps below:

  1. Open Settings and navigate to General.
  2. From there, find and open Software Update.
  3. If any new updates are pending, you will be able to click on Download and Install.

7. Try using another computer

If none of the methods above helped you figure things our with error 3004, try to borrow a Mac/Windows PC 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 computer 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 computer/laptop of somebody else.


Error 3004 is not the only error that has such roots of appearance. A number of other problems that occur while updating or restoring an iOS device through iTunes usually have more-less the same reasons for their appearance. This means all solutions we used in this guide will most likely be suitable for other similar issues should they surface someday in the future. We hope you managed to capitalize on our article and finally update/restored your device using iTunes.

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