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The Fix to “The iPhone Cannot be Synced” Unknown iTunes Error -54

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Aaron Donald

February 23, 2018 (Updated: July 28, 2020)

3 min read

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iTunes error -54

The iPhone cannot be synced iTunes error -54” is a common error that iPhone users experience. It may happens when you sync music, videos, photos or something else with iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. You may have tried some methods online, like updating iTunes, updating iPhone, but this error -54 still can’t be synced.

Fortunately, there is a range of different fixes available for it and we’re going to show you some of the most effective ones.

How to Fix “The iPhone Cannot be Synced Unknown Error 54”

1 Consolidate Media Files in iTunes Library

The first thing to check is ensuring your iTunes media files are stored in the same location. If not, iTunes may have problems syncing them with your iPhone and as a result, error 54 appears.

On your iTunes , go to “File > Library > Consolidate Files” and click OK. It will remove all your iTunes media files in the same location. If the “Consolidate Files” option is gray, that means you don’t need to consolidate.

Consolidate Media Files in iTunes Library

2 Check for Issues with Third-Party Security Software

Some third-party software, like security software, can influence the sync process between iPhone and computer. So change your security software’s setup to see it fixes or not.

You can refer to this guide: Fix Issues between iTunes and Third-Party Security Software >>

3 Sync a Small Amount of Content to Try

Sometimes syncing large amounts of data to your iPhone can overwhelm iTunes. It might sound silly although by syncing small amounts of your media at a time, iTunes will have an easier time transferring the data.

Furthermore, this will help you to identify if there is a specific file that is causing the error, thus being able to fix the problem.

4 Delete and Re-Import Content

If you try to sync the files which isn’t purchased from iTunes store, delete the files from iTunes and import the files again from the original source. Then just try to sync again.

5 Remove PDF Files from the Sync Process

This issue would happens not only when you sync files to iPhone, but also when you transfer purchases from iPhone. It would be the problem with PDF files saved in iBooks app on your device that causes the error -54 when transferring purchases. So just remove the PDF files and sync the files to try.

Use Alternative Way to Avoid iTunes Error -54

If you tried the above tips but still could not get rid of the iTunes error -54, or if you don’t want to waste too much time, you should consider the alternative way to sync files to/from iPhone without bearing any iTunes errors or bugs.

Here the alternative way is using iPhone data transfer tool which can help you to freely sync files to/from iPhone, transfer files to iTunes library. Here we take iMyFone TunesMate iPhone Transfer to state the main features of transfer tool.

Why Choose iPhone Transfer Tool Instead of iTunes?

  • Avoid iTunes Errors: You won’t encounter any annoying iTunes errors and bugs.
  • Two-Way Transfer: You transfer music, ringtones, playlists, movies, photos, podcasts, audiobooks, etc. freely between iPhone and computer.
  • Selectively & All at a Time: It gives you option to 1 click transfer all files at once, or to preview and select some specific files to sync in bulk.
  • No Data Loss: Syncing iTunes library to unlimited iPhone (even in different Apple IDs) won’t delete existing files.
  • Purchases & Non-Purchases: Unlike iTunes that only transfers purchased files from iPhone, TunesMate supports both purchases and non-purchases.
  • Manage Playlists: Import, export, create, delete or rename playlists; or manage music in playlists.

1 Steps to Sync iTunes Library to iPhone without Erasing

Step 1. Download and install iMyFone TunesMate onto your computer. Link your iPhone to TunesMate.

Step 2. On the main interface, click on Transfer iTunes Media to iDevice.

Step 3. It will show you how many files can be transferred to your device. Select and hit Transfer to begin.

Note: It will detect the difference between iTunes library and your iPhone, and only shows the files that are not on your device. Therefore, it won’t transfer any duplicate files to your iPhone.


2 Steps to Transfer Files from iPhone to Computer

Step 1. The same as the above, launch TunesMate and connect your iPhone.

Step 2. Choose from the top tabs, like Music. It will show you all your iPhone songs there.

Step 3. Select the songs and hit “Export” button.

  • Export to iTunes: It will transfer files to your iTunes library. To enlarge your iTunes library, you can use this feature on your friends’ device to share their music.
  • Export to PC: It will transfer files to your local folder. You need to select a folder for it.

Using iMyFone TunesMate is a quick and easy fix to avoid “iPhone cannot be synced unknown error 54” issue and can be used relatively easily.

How to Solve “The iPhone Cannot Be Synced Error 54” After Windows 10 Upgrade

If you have this iTunes error -54 after Windows upgrade, then try the tips here. There may be a problem with iTunes recognizing your data. Fortunately, fixing this is somewhat simple.

1. Click on the Start menu icon and click File Explorer.
2. On the left menu, click on Music.
3. Right-click on the iTunes folder and click Properties.
4. Select the General tab, uncheck the Read-only option, and click Apply and then OK to save the settings.


5. A message will appear alerting you that this will alter any sub-folders. Simply check the Apply changes to this folder, subfolders, and files, and click OK.


If the issues still happens, make sure you have the full control of the iTunes folder. Just follow this,

1. Head over to the Music folder as we instructed above.
2. Right-click on iTunes folder and click Properties.
3. Click the Security tab, click on “Edit…”.


4. Tick the “Allow” box next to Full control, then on “Apply”.


Each of the fixes that we have listed in this article are very suitable for fixing iTunes when it won’t sync properly for error -54. Every tip will be time-consuming. If you don’t won’t to take much time, you can use the alternative to iTunes -iMyFone TunesMate - to sync data freely.

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