[Fixed] iPhone Software Update Server Could Not be Contacted

Nicole Campbell
October 17, 2020
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    Most iOS devices are excited to install any new iOS update on to their devices. But sometimes, the process can stall for various reasons. Some people may see the error message “The iPhone Software Update Server Could not be Contacted” when they try to update their devices.

    When this error occurs, it can be difficult to update the device and enjoy the many benefits of a new update.

    In this article, we will show you what you can do when faced with this error.

    1. Quit and relaunch iTunes, then try again

    This solution often works for most people and it is very easy to do which is why we recommend it first. Simply quit iTunes, wait a few seconds to relaunch iTunes, and try updating the device again.

    2. Wait a while

    Another simple thing you can do when you see this error is simply to wait. Sometimes, when every iOS device user is trying to update their devices at the same time, the Apple servers can get bogged down causing this and many other errors.

    3. Check your network settings and try again

    You will also get this particular error code on your screen when your network is not strong enough. The following are some of the things you can do to check your network’s stability:

    • Start by restarting your Wi-Fi router. Turn it off and then wait about 10 minutes before turning it back on. Reconnect to it to see if this fixes the problem.
    • Then you want to check if your PC is connected to the Wi-Fi network. Simply try to open a webpage on any browser to see if it launches.
    • If you are unable to open the webpage, you may want to check if the network is weak. You can try to connect the computer to a different network.

    4. Update or restore your iOS device without using iTunes

    If you are still having problems updating the device via iTunes, you can still choose to update it without iTunes, using the device’s settings. Follow these simple steps to do it:

    Step 1: Disconnect the iPhone from your computer.

    Step 2: Connect the device to a stable Wi-Fi network. It is not recommended to use a Personal Hotspot network for software updates.

    Step 3: Once the device is connected to Wi-Fi, go to Settings > General > Software Update to update the device.

    5. Download the firmware manually for the update.

    If you are unable to update the device OTA via the settings, you can try to download the firmware and manually update the device. Follow these steps to use this method:

    Step 1: Go to https://ipsw.me/ to download the IPSW file to your computer. Ensure that you download the most suitable firmware for your iPhone model.

    Step 2: Connect the iPhone to the computer and wait for iTunes to recognize the device. Click on the “Summary” option.

    Step 3: Now press the “Shift” key (For Windows) or “Option” key (for Mac) and then click on “Restore iPhone”.

    Step 4: Then select the IPSW file that you downloaded earlier in the window that appears. Then simply wait for iTunes to update the device using that IPSW file.

    6. Edit or reset Your hosts

    The host files on your computer may prevent you from accessing the software update server. Therefore, if the problem persists, you may want to edit or reset the host files:

    On Mac:

    Step 1: Open Finder and then select “Applications > Utilities > Terminal in the menu bar

    Step 2: Once Terminal opens, type in the following command and then press “Enter” to open the hosts file.

    sudo nano /private/etc/hosts

    Step 3: If prompted, enter the password. Please note that when you type the password in Terminal, nothing appears.

    Step 4: Navigate through the host files using the arrow keys on the keyboard.

    Step 5: If you find a line that includes apple.com, add the character # and space at the beginning of the line

    Step 6: Press “Control + O” to save the change and at the filename prompt, press Enter

    Step 7: Press “Control +X” to exit the Terminal.

    On Windows 10:

    Step 1: Open Notepad on your PC and then copy and paste the following text into the new Notepad file:

    # Copyright (c) 1993-2006 Microsoft Corp.
    #
    # This is a sample HOSTS file used by Microsoft TCP/IP for Windows.
    #
    # This file contains the mappings of IP addresses to hostnames. Each
    # entry should be kept on an individual line. The IP address should
    # be placed in the first column followed by the corresponding hostname.
    # The IP address and the hostname should be separated by at least one
    # space.
    #
    # Additionally, comments (such as these) may be inserted on individual
    # lines or following the machine name denoted by a ‘#’ symbol.
    #
    # For example:
    #
    #      102.54.94.97     rhino.acme.com          # source server
    #       38.25.63.10     x.acme.com              # x client host
    # localhost name resolution is handle within DNS itself.
    #       127.0.0.1       localhost
    #       ::1             localhost

    Step 2: Click on the File menu and then select “Save as”. Enter the file name as “hosts” and save the Notepad file to the Desktop. Close Notepad.

    Step 3: Now in the search function, type in “%WinDir%\System32\Drivers\Etc” and then select the File Folder icon in the results that show up.

    Step 4: Right-click on the Hosts file and then select “Rename”. Change the name of the file to “Hosts.old”

    Step 5: Move the “hosts” file that we created in step 2 above to the %WinDir%\System32\Drivers\Etc folder. Enter your password when prompted and then select “Continue”.

    If this process doesn’t work, then the security software that you are using may be outdated or may be interfering with iTunes. If you can, it may be a good idea to turn off or uninstall any security software. You can always reinstall it after updating the device.

    Nicole Campbell
    Nicole is the chief editor of itoolab.com. She has been writing about Apple, software, and computer for over 10 years.

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