What to Do When iTunes Is Stuck on “Preparing iPhone for Restore”

iTunes is stuck on preparing iPhone for rest

If you’re reading this article, we’ll assume you already know how to restore your iPhone. You’ve plugged it in, pressed the little icon in iTunes, and pressed “Restore”. You want to wipe your iPhone clean.

However, during the restore process, iTunes is stuck on the interface displaying a message that says “Preparing iPhone for restore”.

What happens when that message has been there for a while? This article will cover what to do when iTunes is stuck on “Preparing iPhone for restore”.

Questions about “Preparing iPhone for Restore”

We’re sure that some of you have some questions about the phrase “Preparing iPhone for restore”. Before we get into the solutions, we want to talk a bit about what “Preparing iPhone for restore” is, why iTunes needs to prepare your iPhone for it, and how long it will take.

What does it mean when iTunes says “Preparing iPhone for Restore”?

Restoring your iPhone means deleting everything from it and returning it to its factory settings. At a software level, your iPhone will be the same as a brand new iPhone.

For iTunes to be able to restore your iPhone, it will need to ensure everything is in place. This means it needs to prepare the right iOS system, ensure the internet connection is stable, and do several other little jobs.


How long does it take for iTunes to prepare iPhone for restore?

Usually, preparing to restore an iPhone will take between 15 to 30 minutes. However, under some circumstances, it could last up to an hour. Here are some things that may cause the restoration preparation to take longer than it ought to.

Network Speed. iTunes needs to download the latest iOS from the internet. If your internet speed is slow, this download will obviously take longer. You can use this website to check your internet speed.

Connection to Apple server. Sometimes, there may be issues between your iPhone, iTunes, and the Apple servers. This could be the fault of any of the three. But, either way, it will cause any process that involves interaction between them to take longer.

Condition of iPhone. If your iPhone is in bad condition, it might struggle more to interact with iTunes.


What to Do When iTunes Is Stuck on “Preparing iPhone for Restore”

If you’ve been stuck on “Preparing iPhone for restore” for over an hour, it’s time to take action and find out where the problem lies. Here are some of the most common solutions.

Try another original cable

If you still have the original cable that came with your iPhone, try using that one.

Some cables, although they may physically fit into your iPhone, cannot transmit data to and from your device- they can only charge it.

Now, we understand how human beings work and how long cables last. If you’ve still got the cable that your phone came with, you are a rare person. If you’re like most people and don’t have the original cable, get a new one from an official Apple store or a reliable source.

If you use a cable made by a third party, the chances of your iPhone being unable to restore increase.

USB cable

Try another computer

But perhaps, the issue is not with your iPhone but with your computer.

There are several reasons why your computer may prevent iTunes from being able to prepare to restore your iPhone, from various software issues to problems with your USB port. The solution is to try restoring your iPhone on another computer with iTunes installed.

If iTunes still spends as long on “Preparing iPhone for restore”, at least you know the problem isn’t your computer.


Check Apple system status

As we mentioned earlier, for iTunes to restore your iPhone, it needs to have everything in place.

But, sometimes, there may be issues with Apple’s servers. Click this link to find out if all of Apple’s systems are available.

If you notice that any of them are unavailable, wait until everything is available, and try to restore your iPhone again. Then you may not get the problem “iTunes stuck on Preparing iPhone for restore”.

Apple system status

Update or reinstall iTunes

Perhaps the problem is that the version of iTunes on your computer isn’t up to date. An outdated version of iTunes may not be able to restore your iPhone with its factory settings.

For Windows users:

  • In the top menu on iTunes, select “Help”.
  • Select “Check for Updates”.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to update iTunes.
Update iTunes

For Mac users:

  • Press the apple logo on your mac.
  • Select “System Preferences”.
  • Select “Software Update”.
  • Select “Upgrade Now”.
Update MacOS

About reinstalling iTunes, you can check the guide here.

Erase all content and settings

Try to force reboot your iPhone. If your iPhone can restart, instead of restoring everything via iTunes, you can also try restoring it by erasing everything on your iPhone. This will bypass the problem “iTunes stuck on Preparing iPhone for restore”.

  • Open the “Settings App”.
  • Select “General”.
  • Select “Transfer or Reset iPhone”.
  • Select “Erase All Content and Settings”.
Erase all content and settins on iPhone

Put iPhone into Recovery mode

Another way to increase the chances of iTunes successfully restoring your iPhone is to put it into recovery mode.

  • Plug your iPhone into your computer and open iTunes.
  • Press Volume Up
  • Press Volume Down.
  • Hold the side button until you see the “Recovery Mode Screen”.

The “Recovery Mode Screen” will have a small image of a laptop in the middle and a cable. For old iOS versions, it will be an iTunes icon.

iPhone recovery mode

Please note that those instructions were for the iPhone 8 or later. Click here if you use a different model. 

Once iTunes detects your device in recovery mode, you will see the options of “Update” and “Restore”. Choose “Restore” and follow the on-screen instruction to start the restore process. This might avoid iTunes getting stuck on “Preparing iPhone for restore”.

Put iPhone into DFU mode

If recovery mode doesn’t help, try using DFU mode instead.

DFU mode and Recovery Mode are very similar. But it’s worth trying the other if one doesn’t work. Below are the steps to put iPhone 8 or later into DFU mode.

  • Plug your iPhone into your computer, and open iTunes.
  • Hold the side button for 3 seconds.
  • Keep holding the side button and also hold the volume down button for 10 seconds.
  • Let go of the side button, but keep holding the volume down for an additional 5 seconds.
  • Let go of Volume Down.

At this stage, you should see a black screen. If you see the recovery mode symbol, the Apple logo, or anything other than a black screen, you have done something wrong, and your iPhone is not in DFU mode. Check this guide to know how to put other models into DFU mode.

iPhone DFU Mode

iTunes should now display a pop-up with several options. The option you want will be “Restore”. 

We hope the above solutions helped you solve the problem “iTunes stuck on Preparing iPhone for restore”.

Michael Yang

Michael Yang

Michael is the founder of ClarifyHow and has also been a test engineer for phones and computers since 5 years ago. He gets various problems while working and fixes most of them by himself or his colleagues, so he would like to share his experience and knowledge.

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