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iTunes Cannot Restore Backup to iPhone Xs/Xr/Xs Max, How to Fix?

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Heather Marston

October 8, 2018 (Updated: October 19, 2018)• Filed to: Backup & Restore iPhone

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I am trying to restore all my info backed up on my computer to my new iPhone X and it keeps bringing up and error message that it couldn't be restored, that the backup is corrupt or incompatible with the iPhone that is being restored. Does anyone know what this means? Can anyone help?

Well, this is actually a pretty common problem that most users face particularly when moving data from one device to another. In the case of our user above, iTunes describes the problem but like always fails to provide solutions. If you are facing this problem, this article has some effective solutions to help.

Why iTunes Cannot Restore Backup to iPhone Xs/Xr/Xs Max

Before we get to the solutions, it is important to understand why sometimes iTunes may fail to restore a backup to an iPhone. Knowing why it happens is one way to effectively anticipate the problem and avoid it in the future. Some of the reasons iTunes can't restore an iPhone include the following;

  • The backup file could be corrupted as is the case with our user in the question above.
  • It is also likely that the version of iTunes you are running is too old.
  • The backup you are trying to restore could be incompatible with the device which basically means it is made from a device that is running an iOS version that the iPhone Xs/Xr/Xs Max doesn't support.
  • This error can also occur if there is not enough space on your iPhone Xs/Xr/Xs Max
  • If your iPhone Xs/Xr/Xs Max has system bugs that could interfere with its functions, it can be difficult to restore the device.

Now that we understand what the problem is and what causes it, the following solutions should help you overcome the error and successfully restore the device;

Solutions to iTunes Cannot Restore Backup to iPhone Xs/Xr/Xs Max

1. Confirm a Stable USB Connection

Before you attempt more invasive solutions, you might want to begin by checking the USB connection. Sometimes, even when the iPhone connects to the computer and iTunes recognizes it, a faulty cable could still prevent you from restoring the device. Check the connection or better yet, try using a different cable.

2. Restart the iPhone Xs/Xr/Xs Max and Try again

If the connection is fine but you still can't restore the iPhone Xs/Xr/Xs Max, you may want to try restarting the device. Disconnect everything and restart the iPhone before reconnecting and trying again. If you had updated iTunes or even any other program on your computer, you may want to restart the computer as well.

restart iPhone

3. Check the Disk Space Where iTunes is Installed

A lack of sufficient space on your computer has been known to cause a lot of issues with iTunes backup and restore. It is among the primary causes of many restore errors. For this reason, you may want to free up some space on your PC before attempting the restore. For most users, this solution works perfectly.

Check the Disk Space

4. Keep Your iTunes Updated

You might also want to make sure that you have the latest version of iTunes. An outdated version can cause all sorts of issues. To check that your iTunes is up to date, go to About > Check Updates and if an update is available, take a few minutes to update iTunes before trying again.


5. Restore iTunes Backup with an Alternative

If all the methods above have failed to produce the desire result and you still can't restore the iTunes backup, you may want to consider a third-party alternative. The best alternative is iMyFone iTransor, a backup and restore tool that is designed to help you safeguard the data on your iPhone from loss and easily restore iTunes backups to the device. Some of the features that make iTransor the best tool for the job include the following;

  • You can use it to restore just your contacts, SMS, WeChat or WhatsApp data from backups.
  • It is also useful when you want to create a backup of the data fully or selectively on your device, for free.
  • It can also help you view and extract data from iTunes, iCloud or the device.
  • It supports all iPhone models and all versions of iOS including iOS 12 and iPhone Xs/Xr/Xs Max, and the old models.

Windows version    Mac version

The following is the procedure to restore the iTunes backup to your iPhone Xs/Xr/Xs Max with iTransor.

Step 1: Launch iTransor and on the main page, choose "Restore Backup to Device." Select one of the iTunes Backups located on the computer (choose the most recent or the most relevant one). Then click "Next".


Step 2. Now, click on “Restore Full Back up.” You can see that the program also offers the option to restore partial backup if you need.


Step 3: On the next window, read the notes on the left and either choose "Preview and Restore" or "Restore Directly."


Step 4: if you chose "Preview and Restore" you should be able to see a list of all the data on the device. Click "Restore" and continue.


Step 5: Now choose "Merge and Replace" or "Fully Merge" in the popup that appears.


Step 6. Once the restore process is complete, you should be able to view and use the restored data on your iPhone Xs/Xr/Xs Max.


6. Delete Existing Corrupted Backup in iTunes

You might also want to delete the existing backup particularly if the error message you get says it is corrupted. Here's how to do it;

Step 1: If iTunes is open, quit it first.

Step 2: You'll then need to copy the backup to your desktop or other convenient location.

  • On Windows

Click on Start and type "%appdata%" in the search bar

No go to Roaming > Apple Computer > MobileSync > Backup and copy the backup file to your computer.

  • On Mac

Open the Library folder in the home folder (hold down Option and Click "Go" if you don't see it.)

Navigate to Application Support/MobileSync/Backup and copy the backup folders to your desktop.

Step 3: Now reopen iTunes.

Step 4: On Windows click "Edit > Preferences" and on Mac click iTunes > Preferences.

Step 5: Click on the Devices tab and under "Device Backups," select the backup that cannot be restored.

Step 6: Click on "Delete Backup" and then copy the backup folders on your desktop and move than back to the backup folder.

Step 7: Restart iTunes and try to restore your iPhone.

delete itunes backup

The above solutions should be able to help you fix the iTunes error you are facing. Let us know in the comments section which solution worked best or if you are still having the same problem.

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