How to fix iPhone XS that cannot restore after iOS update

Restoring an iPhone after installing an iOS update is usually needed if the update turns good things into bad. iOS updates are generally created not only to offer new features but also to fix stubborn bugs and system glitches among iOS devices. Thus keeping your device software up-to-date is recommended, as it could bring out the best performance for your iOS device. But along with the many benefits of updating iOS are some downsides. This is when post-update issues and errors manifest. One of the many post-update issues that you may encounter is on iOS restore that’s not working. If you cannot restore your iPhone XS after an iOS update, this post highlights some workarounds that you can use. Read on and learn what to do if your iPhone XS cannot restore after iOS update.

Before we proceed, if you’re looking for a solution to a problem with your phone, try to browse through our iPhone XS help guides page to see if we support your device. If your phone is in the list of our supported devices, then go to the troubleshooting page and look for similar problems. Feel free to use our solutions and workarounds.

Troubleshooting iPhone XS that cannot restore after iOS update

Software-related factors that hindered your iPhone Xs from restoring after an iOS update are typically from within the device settings, iTunes or computer system. Performing each of these lined up procedures will help eliminate individual culprits.

First solution: Force restart your iPhone XS and install pending updates.

Your device may not be able to restore because some of your apps are hindering the process. These apps are usually the ones that have been corrupted and gone rouge from the update. To clear this out, force restart your iPhone and then install pending app updates. Just follow these steps:

  1. Press and release the Volume Up button quickly.
  2. Press and release the Volume Down button quickly.
  3. Press and hold the Power button on the side of the phone and then release once the phone restarts.

Allow your device to finish its boot up sequence. Once your phone is up, check for any pending app updates and install them. Like iOS updates, app updates also embed fix patches to address in-app errors and glitches that caused the app to malfunction. Fixing bad apps will likewise fix the operating system that became unstable due to those same apps. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open the App Store from the Home screen. 
  2.  Scroll down to Updates.
  3. Navigate through the list of apps with pending updates. 
  4. Tap the Update button next to the name of the app. 
  5. Tap the Update all button if you want to update all apps simultaneously. 

Wait for your phone to complete the updates and perform a soft reset when the update is finished so as to save and apply the recent app changes.

Second solution: Reset All Settings on your iPhone XS.

If the settings have been automatically altered by the recent software update, it could cause a problem. It is therefore possible that the recent settings overrides have caused random system errors and thereby halted the iPhone from restoring. If this is the case, then reverting the settings back to how they were configured before the update will likely fix the problem. And this is when resetting all settings on your iPhone XS play its part.. Performing a reset on all settings will wipe out invalid settings including those from the recent iOS overrides that caused problems to your phone. Unlike a factory reset, this method does not affect any saved information and therefore there’s no need for backup creation. Just follow these steps whenever you’re ready to reset all settings on your iPhone XS:

  1. Access Settings from the Home screen. 
  2. Tap General.
  3. Scroll down to and then select Reset
  4. Tap the option to Reset all settings
  5. Enter your device passcode if asked. 
  6. Then tap to confirm to reset settings. 

The phone will reboot on its own after the reset process. As soon as your phone is up, start enabling necessary features, particularly those that are disabled by default. After making all necessary changes, retry restoring your iPhone in iTunes and see if it’s working now.

ALSO READ: How to fix locked out iPhone, forgot passcode on Apple iPhone XS

Third solution: Put your iPhone XS in recovery mode again.

Failure on the first attempt doesn’t mean you would end up facing the same failure on the next try. Hence, if you have performed a system restore before and it did not work, this time might give you a different result. Before performing the steps below, remove any other USB devices connected on your computer’s USB ports except for the mouse or keyboard. Without any USB paraphernalia attached, reboot your computer to refresh its system and end all background apps and process. Also make sure that the iTunes software installed on the computer is already the latest version. Once you have that checked, follow these steps to continue with the second iOS restore attempt in recovery mode:

  1. Using the Apple-supplied USB/Lightning cable, connect your iPhone XS to the computer.
  2. Once connected, press and release quickly the Volume Up button.
  3. Then press and release quickly the Volume Down button.
  4. Press and hold the Power/Side button and keep on holding as it restarts. Do not release the Power/Side button if you’ll see the Apple logo as you’ll need to put the device on recovery state. 
  5. Release the Power/Side button once you see the Connect to iTunes logo on the screen. 
  6. Then, navigate to iTunes on your computer. You should see a message saying that your connected iOS device is in recovery mode and prompts options to update or restore. 
  7. Select Restore on the option to wipe everything from the phone system and then restore iOS through iTunes. 

Do not disconnect your iPhone XS from the computer unless the restore process is complete. It usually takes 10 to 15 minutes for a recovery mode restore process to complete. You should see iTunes prompt a message saying that restore is finished. If you see relevant prompts, then that’s when it’s safe to disconnect your iOS device. To exit recovery mode and get back to normal mode, just reboot your iPhone XS.

Fourth solution: Perform DFU Mode Restore.

The last method you can resort to if your iPhone still cannot restore in recovery mode is to restore it in DFU mode. DFU or Device Firmware Update mode is a special state in which your iOS device is still able to communicate with iTunes even if the bootloader is not activated. This therefore gives it a higher chance of resolving complex system errors that might have hindered your device from carrying out the usual iOS restore routine. This method can also resolve other major system problems from a dysfunctional iOS, if the installed software has been corrupted. The main downside however is the fact that this process erases everything from your iPhone’s internal system. If you wish to proceed at your own discretion, then you can go ahead and refer to these steps: 

  1. Connect your iPhone to the computer using the Apple-supplied USB cable/Lightning cable. Open iTunes on the computer then carry out these steps to put your iPhone XS in DFU mode and restore iOS in iTunes:
  2. Press and quickly release the Volume Up button.
  3. Then press and quickly release the Volume Down button.
  4. Press and hold the Side button for a few seconds until the screen turns black.
  5. When the screen blacks out, release the Side button then quickly press and hold both the Side and Volume Down buttons together for another 5 seconds.
  6. After the elapsed time, release the Side button but keep holding down the Volume Down button.
  7. Continue to hold down the Volume Down button for another 5 seconds.

If the recovery prompt from within iTunes shows up, release the Volume Down button and check on your iPhone’s display. If the screen remains black, it means that you have successfully entered DFU mode. If the screen shows any logo or text displays, that means you haven’t entered DFU mode yet and so you’ll have to start from the very beginning. 

Entering a DFU state on your iPhone requires more patience, so if you haven’t gotten there on your first attempt, don’t be afraid to try again.

Once you’ve entered DFU mode, you can start restoring your iPhone through iTunes.

To exit DFU mode, all you have to do is force restart your iPhone XS. 

ALSO READ: How to fix Apple iPhone XS that cannot connect to WiFi network

Fifth solution: Reboot your computer and reinstall iTunes. 

If the prior methods did not fix the issue, then the underlying cause might be from within iTunes on the computer itself. iTunes might have been corrupted and therefore needs to be reinstalled on your computer.  If that’s the case, then you may opt to troubleshoot further and try reinstalling the iTunes software on your computer system. The actual steps may vary depending on the computer you are using and its operating system. If you need further assistance on how to uninstall and reinstall iTunes on your computer, then you may contact Microsoft support for Windows or Apple Support for Mac.

If you are using any security software like antivirus or firewall on your computer, try disabling it for a moment or when using iTunes and see if that fixes the problem. Some security software may tend to bar an iPhone from syncing with iTunes especially when security threats are perceived the moment you attached your iOS device to the computer’s USB port. Disabling security software temporarily will help you figure out whether or not these tools have hindered your iPhone XS from restoring in iTunes.

If you are using any security software like antivirus or firewall on your computer, try disabling them for a moment or when using iTunes and see if the problem is gone. Some security software may tend to bar an iPhone from syncing with iTunes especially when security threats are perceived the moment you attached your iOS device to the computer’s USB port. Disabling security software temporarily will help you figure out whether or not these tools have hindered your iPhone XS from restoring in iTunes.

Still having problems and cannot restore your iPhone XS?

If none of the given solutions worked for you, then you may have to consider using iTunes alternatives. There are actually a lot of other iOS recovery and restore tools you can use to repair and restore different iPhones on a computer. Among the widely used tools that serve such purpose are Dr. Fone – Repair, EaseUS MobiSaver, Stellar Data Recovery for iPhone, Joyoshare UltFix, Tenorshare Reiboot, and FonePaw iOS System Recovery, to name a few.

Just pick the tool you wanted to use then download and install it on your computer like what you did with iTunes. After it’s installed, you can try restoring your iPhone XS using the software. 

If none of that helps, then you have no other choice but to escalate the problem to Apple Support for further recommendations or take a trip to the nearest Apple Genius bar and seek more help from an iPhone technician.

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