How to Fix iTunes Stuck on Preparing iPhone for Restore

Sometimes iTunes gets stuck while preparing your iPhone for restore. If this stays stuck for too long, you will probably want to do something about it. This guide lists some of the possible reasons for this error and then offers some methods to fix the issue.

Joy Taylor Last Updated: Nov. 03, 2020

People restore their iPhone with iTunes for various reasons. Restoring basically installs a fresh version of the firmware on your iOS device. While performing this procedure, you might sometimes find that iTunes is stuck on preparing the iPhone for restore. If this happens, the progress bar will not move.

This issue basically means that iTunes is having issues restoring your device for whatever reason. If you are frustrated by this error and you do not have an idea what to do about it, this guide should provide you with some methods to fix the issue.

The Stuck Issue of Preparing an iPhone for Restore

The Stuck Issue of Preparing an iPhone for Restore

How Long Does it Take to Prepare iPhone for Restore

What you find to be “a really long time” may not actually be that long. You need to first find out how long it takes for iTunes to prepare an iPhone for restore normally.

Generally, there is no fixed time as to how long it can take for the app to prepare your device. It may take anywhere between several minutes up to an hour, sometimes even more than that. It all depends on your unique situation. But you can check the follwing phases that iTunes goes through to restore your iPhone.

1. Download Firmware

This is the process of downloading the firmware for your iPhone from Apple servers and saving it to your computer. If your Internet is fast, this should not take too long.

2. Extract Firmware

Once the firmware is downloaded, iTunes extracts the contents of the firmware. This should also not take too long.

3. Verify Firmware

After the firmware is extracted, iTunes then verifies the integrity of the files. This is a small checkup of the files and this will hardly take a few minutes.

4. Restore Firmware

Finally, iTunes restores the firmware on your iPhone, and this might take a bit longer than the other phases.

Further Reading: Firmware File is Not Compatible iPhone/iPad/iPod >

How to Stop Preparing iPhone for Restore Stuck

If your iPhone is stuck in the same situation for a really long period of time, anyone will get annoyed. There are a few things you can do to possibly fix the situation and try and get the progress bar to move.

Solution 1. Restart Your Computer and Your iPhone

Whenever there is an issue either on your computer or on your iPhone, the first method you should apply is to reboot your devices. Rebooting helps fix many minor problems, and it could fix your iPhone restore stuck issue as well.

Reboot an iPhone

You probably already know how to restart an iPhone but the following generic steps will help you.

  1. Press and hold down the Power key on your iPhone > Move the slider and your phone will turn off.
  2. Press the Power key again for a few seconds and your iPhone will turn on.

Reboot a Computer

You can restart a Mac by going to the Apple menu and selecting Restart. Windows users can click the Start Menu, select the Power option, and choose Restart to restart their PCs.

Solution 2. Update iTunes on Your Computer

You need to ensure the version of iTunes on your computer is up to date. Older iTunes versions can have issues in them which cause the app to remain stuck on the preparing iPhone for restore screen. To update iTunes as follows:

  1. Search for Apple Software Update using the Start Menu on your computer and click on it.
  2. Let it check for available iTunes updates. If an update is available, click on the Install button at the bottom.
Launch Apple Software Update Utility

Launch Apple Software Update Utility

Further Reading: How to Fix iTunes Update Not Working on Windows >

Solution 3. Use a USB 2.0 or Faster Port

It has been suggested by various users that you should use USB 2.0 or a faster port on your computer while you restore or update your iOS device. These faster ports can provide your iPhone with the firmware at the required speed.

Use a Fast USB Port

Use a Fast USB Port

An older USB port cannot transfer the data at the required speed, and this can cause iTunes to remain stuck on the preparing iPhone for restore screen. Most computers have multiple USB ports these days so use the fastest one.

Solution 4. Avoid Using a USB Hub

If you have more USB devices than the USB ports on your computer, it is likely you use a USB hub. While updating or restoring your iPhone, it is highly suggested that you do not use a middle-man like a USB hub to make the connection.

Get rid of any USB hubs that you use to connect your iPhone to your computer, and connect the device directly to your machine. This will help fix many connection issues that can potentially occur on your computer.

Solution 5. Try to Repair iTunes

If the above methods didn’t work, then you can try to fix iTunes. AnyFix – iOS system recovery is a third-party tool that designed to help Apple users to solve iOS system issues and iTunes errors. If you encountered iTunes cannot recognize/connect/sync the iOS device etc., including iTunes stuck on preparing iPhone for restore, AnyFix can help you solve these problems.

Now, you can check the simple steps below to repair:

Step 1: Get AnyFix on your computer. Click iTunes Repair after launch it.

Free Download

Free Download

* 100% Clean & Safe

Free Download * 100% Clean & Safe

Click iTunes Repair

Click iTunes Repair

Step 2: Choose iTunes Connection/Backup/Restore Errors and click Scan Now.

Choose iTunes Connection/Backup/Restore Errors

Choose iTunes Connection/Backup/Restore Errors

Step 3: Then you can get the error list for your iTunes. Click Fix Now to continue.

iTunes Component Errors

iTunes Component Errors

Step 4: Give AnyFix authorization, letting it fix the above errors.

Solution 6. Use a Different Computer to Restore the iPhone

Sometimes, it is your computer that is to be blamed for the iTunes issue. It may be that there are certain issues with your machine’s components, and that may be the reason why you are unable to successfully restore your iPhone.

To fix this issue without any hassle, simply use another computer with iTunes. Connect your iPhone to another computer, launch iTunes, and follow the standard procedure for restoring your device. This solution has worked for many people and it is worth giving it a shot, if you have not already.

Further Reading: How to Fix iPhone Not Showing Up on Computer >

Solution 7. Use the iPhone Recovery Mode

In case you do not already know, your iPhone has a special mode called recovery mode that lets you restore or update your device when you have some serious issues with the device. Right now is the time when you can utilize this mode and get your device restored.

The following are the steps on how to put your iPhone into recovery mode, and use either iTunes or Finder to restore the phone.

Step 1. Keep iTunes or Finder open on your computer.

Step 2. Connect your iPhone to your computer using a USB cable.

Step 3. Reboot your iPhone into recovery mode. The process on how to do this is as follows for various iPhone models.

  • iPhone 8 or later: press the Volume Up key and release it, press the Volume Down key and release it, press and hold down the Side key.
  • iPhone 7 or 7 Plus: press and hold down the Top or Side key along with the Volume Down key.
  • iPhone 6S or earlier: press the Home and Top or Side keys together.

Step 4. iTunes or Finder will display a prompt asking you to either restore or update your device. Click on the Restore button to restore your iPhone.

Restore iPhone with Recovery Mode

Restore iPhone with Recovery Mode

Further Reading: Fix iTunes Not Recognizing iPhone in Recovery Mode >

The Bottom Line

Your iPhone needs to be prepared for restore and sometimes iTunes fails to do this. If you are the victim of this issue and you cannot restore your device no matter what you do, you will find the above guide to be extremely useful as it provides you with the methods to fix this problem on your computer. Once that is done, your iPhone will restore just fine whenever you want.

Joy Taylor

Member of iMobie team as well as an Apple fan, love to help more users solve various types of iOS & Android related issues.