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How To Fix “An Error Occurred While Reading Writing To The iPhone” On iTunes

iTunes errors are never fun. They are generic, give little explanation as to what’s wrong, and often the same or similar error message is shown for a wide variety of problems. One error you might see in iTunes when you try to restore your iPhone from a backup is the iTunes could not restore the iPhone because an error occurred while reading from or writing to the iPhone.

An Error Occurred While Reading Writing To The iPhone

The error suggests that there’s a problem accessing the device and writing data to it. Most users might think this has to do with the phone being locked, or some other password or passcode that needs to be entered. That’s not the case. A majority of times when you get this error during a restore is because you have run out of disk space. The solution is to free up disk space.

The first question is how much disk space should you have to restore your iPhone. A good rule of thumb is to have as much free space as the size of your back up, plus 1GB. For example, if your backup is 8GB, you should have 9GB of free space on your disk.

Free up that space if you can. One place you can go to delete files is the MobileSync folder that iTunes created.

Here, use the dates to determine which folder is the backup you want to restore from. It’s a good idea to move the other folders to an external drive if you’re worried you may not have identified the correct back up but if you’re sure, you can delete them as well.

MobileSync On Windows 10


MobileSync On macOS

~/Library/Application Support/Mobile Sync/Backup

In the screenshot below, the folder created on Sep 20, 2018 at 10:33pm is the backup that the iPhone was going to be restored to so all the other folders were removed.

Connect your iPhone, and then start the restore process. Watch this same folder and you will see that another folder will be created here during the restore process. Allow it to go through with the restore and do not move or delete the new folder until your phone is working again.

Once your iPhone has successfully been restored, you can delete the folder that doesn’t contain the backup. If you check your disk space, you will see that the folder has consumed a considerable amount of space.

This normally isn’t a problem unless you have an SSD which usually means that you have less space to spare hence the error.

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