While backing up your iPhone through iTunes on a Windows PC, even when everything looks fine, you may see a message saying that iTunes could not backup the iPhone because the iPhone disconnected. When this happens, many people think that there’s something wrong with the iPhone itself. However, the fact is that the chances of the iPhone being faulty are low in this case. Even if there is some issue with the phone, there’s nothing that cannot be fixed, unless the culprit is the hardware.
Assuming that the hardware of your iPhone is working fine, the following sections suggest some quick fixes to bring things back to normal.
What to Do When iTunes Could Not Backup the iPhone Because the iPhone Disconnected
As mentioned earlier, if your iPhone disconnected during backup, there are several troubleshooting methods to get your iPhone backed up using iTunes without problems. Some most effective ones are discussed below.
1. Move Old Backup Files to a Different Location
In some instances, one or more existing backup files could be the reason when iTunes could not backup the iPhone because the iPhone disconnected. Since you cannot check the problems with the backup file, the best method would be to transfer it to a different hard drive or USB flash drive. The process is explained below.
On your Windows Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8/Windows 8.1/Windows 10/Windows 11 computer, go to the C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup folder.
On Windows XP, go to C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup.
If you’re using a Mac computer, in Spotlight, you can type the ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup path.
- In the above paths, <username> is the name of the user account that you use to log in to Windows.
- If you are using Windows XP and the computer has two operating systems (dual boot), replace C:\ with the drive letter where the OS is installed.
- By default, AppData and Application Data folders in Windows Vista-Windows 11 and Windows XP are hidden respectively. To access these directories, you can either configure your PC to show all the hidden files, folders, and drives from the View tab of the Folder Options box, or copy and paste the above path directly into the address bar at the top of the Windows Explorer window.
Once you are inside the Backup folder, move all the subdirectories to a different volume, an external hard drive, or a USB stick. Now, try backing up your iPhone via iTunes again.
2. Do Some Tests
If the above method fails to work and you still get a pop-up saying “iTunes could not backup the iPhone because the iPhone disconnected”, you should run some diagnostics to check and isolate the root cause. These tests are explained below.
Restart Your PC
At times, some services may fail to initialize during Windows startup. When you restart the operating system, these services start as well, thus fixing the issue.
Restart the iPhone
For some old models, you just need to hold the side or top button, but for some newer models, you need to press the volume up button, press the volume down button, and then the side button. Then you will see the “Slide to power off” bar. Here is the way that works for all models to restart iPhone:
- Go to Settings.
- Tap General.
- Scroll down to the bottom.
- Tap Shut Down.
- Slide the “Slide to power off” bar to the right.
- Wait for 15 to 20 seconds.
- Long press the Sleep/Wake button to power on your iPhone.
After restarting your iPhone, try backing it up again.
Try a different Lightning Cable
When the Lightning Cable is faulty, you may experience frequent disconnections between your iPhone and PC. If you have access to a different cable, you can try using it to back up your iPhone and see if it works. In any case, make sure to use the genuine cable manufactured by Apple itself rather than connecting through a local one.
Try a different USB port
Sometimes even the USB port could be the culprit. Therefore, you can try connecting your iPhone to the computer via a different port. You can also check if a particular port is faulty by connecting a different peripheral device (a USB drive, an external hard drive, a USB keyboard, or a mouse) to it.
Temporarily turn off the antivirus software
If your iPhone has some files that Windows or antivirus consider malicious, iTunes may show that the iPhone disconnected during backup. If you are sure that none of the elements or scripts are harmful, you can try disabling the antivirus program temporarily and then try again.
Now, many users don’t install any such application because the Windows Security app itself is powerful enough to keep the dangerous scripts/files out. If you are one of those and you still see that iTunes could not backup the iPhone because the iPhone disconnected, you can try turning off the security feature. You can do so by following the instructions given below.
Note: A computer running Windows 11 is used here for reference.
- Click Start.
- Click Settings.
- Click Privacy & security from the left pane of the Settings window.
- Click Windows Security from the Security section on the right.
- Click Virus & threat protection from the Protection areas section on the next window.
- When the next window opens up, click Manage settings from the Virus & threat protection settings section.
- Turn off the Real-time protection switch.
- Click Yes on the User Account Confirmation box.
- Next, turn off the Cloud-delivered protection, Automatic sample submission, and Tamper Protection switches as well.
- Try backing up your iPhone again.
- After the backup is done, turn the protection switches back on.
3. Update iTunes
If you are using an outdated version of iTunes, you may experience the “iPhone disconnected during the backup” issue. Therefore, to update the program, you can:
- Launch iTunes.
- Go to the Help menu.
- Click Check for Updates.
- Follow the on-screen instructions from there to update iTunes to the latest version.
If you are using Finder on Mac, you need to update macOS.
4. Back Up iPhone Using Another Computer
Sometimes, the operating system may have inconsistent or corrupt files that prevent iTunes from backing up your iPhone. In such a situation, it would be good to use a different computer and see if it can back up your smartphone successfully.
5. Back Up iPhone Using Another Method
If none of the above solutions work when iTunes could not backup the iPhone because the iPhone disconnected, you can try backing up your iPhone to iCloud or using a third-party app. The instructions given below explain the procedures for both:
Back Up iPhone to iCloud
For this solution, you don’t need a PC as you can back up your iPhone from the iCloud screen of your phone itself. To do so:
- On your iPhone, go to Settings.
- Tap your name from the top of the screen.
- Tap iCloud.
- Tap iCloud Backup on the iCloud screen.
- On the Backup window, tap to turn on the iCloud Backup switch if it is not enabled.
- Next, tap Back Up Now to manually back up your iPhone to iCloud.
- This initializes the backup process automatically as soon as your iPhone detects that all the following conditions are true:
- iPhone is connected to the power supply.
- iPhone is locked.
- iPhone is connected to the Internet via a Wi-Fi network.
Back Up iPhone Using a Third-Party Tool
If iTunes could not backup the iPhone because the iPhone disconnected and your iCloud storage doesn’t have enough free space, you can try using an efficient third-party tool. Although many apps claim that they do the job well, the one that is appreciated by a majority of people is AnyTrans by iMobie. iMobie AnyTrans is available for both Windows and Mac platforms and can be downloaded from its official website.
Once you’ve downloaded and installed AnyTrans, you can follow the procedure given below to back up your iPhone:
- Launch iMobie AnyTrans.
- Use the genuine Lightning Cable to connect your iPhone to the computer.
- Click Backup Manager from the navigation pane on the left.
- Click Back Up Now from the right window.
- Click Back Up Now from the bottom of the next screen that appears. Note: Optionally, you can turn on the Enable Backup Encryption switch before clicking Back Up Now if you want to protect your files from any unauthorized access.
- Wait while AnyTrans backs up your iPhone.
- When AnyTrans displays the Backup Completed message, optionally, click View to see the details of the backup.
To restore from backup, you can return to the Backup Manager category. Click Restore Backup from the right window. Follow the on-screen instructions from there for restoring.