How to Fix iTunes Stuck on Preparing iPhone for Software Update

iTunes stuck on preparing iPhone for software update

You have been preparing to make a software update of iOS 17 using iTunes, but for some odd reasons it got stuck on the “Preparing iPhone for software update” procedure for more than an hour. Is this normal? Should you be worried? To get all insights and answers to this, please keep reading.

Part 1. How Long Does It Take for iTunes to Prepare iPhone for Update?

The waiting time is uncertain depending on the speed of your internet, so wait as long as you can. However, with a fast network, it normally takes less than 10 minutes for iTunes to prepare the software update for your device and then it takes less than half an hour to update your iPhone. This also applies to iOS 17.

If you cannot wait and have to get your iPhone to work, you have to stop the process and try some solutions to recover your iPhone because this may get your iPhone stuck on Apple logo, “connecting to iTunes” screen, and even a black screen. It may cause data loss, but there are some solutions that can help you keep the data.


Part 2. Quick Fixes to iTunes Being Stuck on Preparing iPhone for Software Update

The following tips are meant to help you rule out minor issues such as faulty USB cables, ports, and weak internet connections. Therefore it is important to try these out first before attempting other solutions that might require more of your time.

  • Use a different, well-functioning Apple USB cable

Check your USB cable as well as the USB port on your computer to see if the cable has any faults or the port is loose. Alternatively use a different Apple USB cable and try another USB port to rule out issues due to faulty USB cable and port.

  • Restart iTunes

You have to restart iTunes in order to help refresh the data. This procedure is not rocket science, you just have to close your iTunes program and re-open it after some time. Alternatively, you can just restart your computer in order to refresh it and allow programs to run smoothly.

  • Restart iPhone

This is to avoid any iPhone issues causing iTunes to be stuck on “Preparing iPhone for software update”. Some people successfully completed the software update after trying to restart their iPhone.

  • Try faster internet

A strong and secure internet connection is needed to prevent unnecessary disturbances while you’re running iTunes because iTunes needs to access Apple servers.  Ensure that your computer is using fast WiFi.

  • Use a different, updated computer

Try switching to a different computer than the one you were using if it is possible. This is just to rule out issues with the computer such as faulty USB ports and any hardware or software conflicts.

Part 3. Other Solutions to Fix iTunes Stuck on Preparing iPhone for Software Update

Below are some solutions that will be helpful in this case. The condition is that you have stopped the stuck process and disconnected your iPhone from the computer. Otherwise, you will not be able to try the solutions below.

3.1. Update iTunes

iTunes gets stuck on preparing iPhone could be caused by outdated iTunes. Using your computer, you can update iTunes by following the steps listed below.

If you are a Mac user you can update to the latest version of iTunes by:

  • Opening the Apple store
  • Then click on the Updates button at the top of your window.
  • From there tap on Install in order to get the iTunes updates.

For people who are using Finder on Mac, you will need to update macOS.

For PC users, iTunes installed from the Microsoft store updates itself because the automatic update is enabled by default.  

For those who downloaded iTunes from the Apple website, you only need to open iTunes, click on the Help option and then choose Check on updates, iTunes will alert you if there is any available new version to install.

Update iTunes

3.2. Reinstall iTunes

Even though it is highly unlikely that you may lose your iTunes library and other data, it is still necessary for you to back up your data. Before reinstalling iTunes, you have to uninstall iTunes as well as any related software components.

Click Start, the windows icon. Open Settings > Application > Apps & features. Find iTunes and click on it, you will see the button Uninstall. If you see iTunes components like below, also uninstall them.

  • Apple software update
  • Apple mobile device support
  • Bonjour
  • Apple Application Support 32-bit
  • Apple Application Support 64-bit
iTunes and its components

It is very important for you to follow this order and install all listed components in order to avoid unnecessary consequences. Search your computer to make sure that any files and folders associated with these components are deleted. If not, manually delete them and empty the recycle bin. Only after removing all these can you then restart your computer.

If you have Windows 10 on your computer, then visit the Microsoft store to install a newer version of iTunes. You can also download and install it from Apple’s website.

Part 4. Try Four Different Ways to Update iPhone

If you meet any problem when updating your iPhone using the common method, don’t worry, there are some other methods to get your device updated.

4.1. Update iPhone in Recovery Mode

You might also consider putting your iPhone into recovery mode and updating it using iTunes. iOS 17 can also be updated through this method. Make sure that your iTunes, as well as macOS, is up to date if you are using a Mac.

For those owning a Mac with a macOS Catalina or later, select Finder but if you are using a PC open iTunes. Then connect your iPhone to your computer using an Apple USB cable and follow the steps below until you see a recovery mode screen. 

  • In iPhones 8 or later, press and quickly release the Volume Up button, do the same procedure with the Volume Down button and then press and hold the Side button until the recovery mode screen can be seen.
  • For iPhone 7, press and hold the Side Button and the Volume Down button at the same time and maintain your hold until a recovery mode screen can be seen.   
  • For iPhone 6s / earlier, simultaneously press and hold the Home and the Side buttons and try to maintain this until the recovery mode screen is visible.
iPhone recovery mode

Then iTunes will recognize your device and show the options to Update or Restore, you have to choose Update. Use your computer to download and re-run the software for your iPhone.

Update frozen iPhone through iTunes

4.2. Use an IPSW File to Update iPhone

Some users in the forum said this helped them out when iTunes was stuck on preparing iPhone. To use IPSW to update your iPhone, you can follow the steps listed below:

  • Visit to download the latest version of the IPSW file for your device. Remember that the latest software iOS 17 is only compatible with iPhone XR/XS or later.
  • After downloading the IPSW file, use an Apple USB cable, and connect your iPhone to your computer
  • Open iTunes or Finder( in case you are a mac user). If your device can be recognized, you can jump to the next step. If not, you need to follow the instruction in the above solution to put your iPhone into recovery mode.
  • Once your device is detected, on your PC press down the SHIFT button and simultaneously click on the Update option. On a Mac hold down the Option button and then click on the Update button.
  • From there tap on the IPSW file you downloaded and tap on Choose.
  • Your iTunes will then proceed to update your iPhone using the IPSW file.
Use iTunes to install IPSW

Using this method is similar to updating your iPhone manually because the IPSW is just an iPhone software file.  

4.3. Restore iPhone using iTunes

As we mentioned at the beginning, when iTunes is stuck on preparing iPhone for software update, even for iOS 17 update, your iPhone might not be in a normal state. To get it back to its normal functional state you might need to restore your iPhone. Restoring iPhone will erase all your data and reset it to its factory settings.

You can restore your iPhone while you are still in recovery mode. If it is not in recovery mode, put it into recovery mode. To do this, the other steps are the same as the ones in updating iPhone using recovery mode. You just need to click on the Restore button this time. This process will only last a few minutes. When it is done, set up your iPhone and enjoy using it. 

Restore frozen iPhone through iTunes

4.4. Use a Tool to Update iPhone

There are different choices online. All are paid tools, but some of them really work like a charm. We want to introduce the most powerful one iMobie AnyFix.

It has several different features. It is recommended that you use the iTunes Repair feature to repair your iTunes first.

If your iPhone is in a normal state, choose the Upgrade/Downgrade iOS to update iPhone.

If your iPhone won’t boot into the system, then choose the System Repair feature and then Standard Repair to fix your iPhone and also update to the latest iOS. This will not affect the data on your device.

iMobie AnyFix interface 1

Hopefully, this article gave you more insight and helped you fix the issue with iTunes getting stuck on preparing iPhone for a software update including iOS 17 update.



Joel Wilson

Joel Wilson

Joel is a fan of technology. He uses both iPhone and Android phones. Being interesting in exploring new features, he likes to share his experiences on how to use the devices in a better way. Because of his enthusiasm for technology, he becomes an "expert" to fix problems with phones and computers.

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