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There was a Problem Downloading the Software for the iPhone Error [Fix]

Since the launch of first iOS devices, Apple’s support team has been providing regular software updates to its users. These updates are generally designed to provide new features and minor bug fixes on iPhones, iPods and iPads.

Although it’s quite easy to download and install OTA updates, you might find it difficult on iTunes. Apple’s iTunes software is known for throwing multiple download errors while updating your iPhone.

Here’s an example of common software download error on iTunes –

There was a problem downloading the software for the iPhone. An unknown error occurred.

Looks familiar?

Many iPhone users have been facing similar problem in downloading the desired software updates on their iPhones. It’s also kind of annoying to receive this error when the download is about to complete.

Once the error pops up, you’ll be left with no other choice than downloading it again. There is nothing much you can do about it.

For those who don’t know, it is related to connection error or communication error. That’s right!

When the download servers don’t receive any response from iTunes software, it displays this type of error on the screen. It’s important to note that this error can pop-up multiple times without prior notification, which means you’ll have to start the download process from zero percent.

Even though you can’t do anything after the error appears on iTunes, there are some fixes and workarounds that you can try to avoid it completely.

So, let’s see how to fix the iOS software download problem –

Network Connection

As mentioned above, it’s pretty much related to the communication error. If you’ve got some issues with internet connection or you’re on unstable network, you’re likely to receive the error on your computer.

Hence, it’s better to be on a good internet connection when you want to download software files from Apple’s server.

If you have an internet connection at home, do check the router settings as well as cables connected to computer.

Firewalls and Security Software

This is a well-known problem in Windows based computers.

Many antivirus software and firewalls block iTunes from accessing Apple’s servers, which eventually results in iOS software download errors.

If you’ve enabled protection settings in firewall or security software, please disable them until you finish with this process. After that, you can switch back to previous settings.

In some cases, your iPhone’s apps can also create similar download issues. So, deactivate or remove them for some time.

Update iTunes and Mac

Apple recommends us to keep our devices updated with latest software update.

If you haven’t updated your iTunes and Mac (or Windows) in recent time, check for the new releases and install them as needed. It will help you download iOS updates for your devices.

Beta Software Problem

The Beta testers also encounter similar software download problems on iTunes.

This error generally occurs when you’ve installed unidentified/unsigned software on iPhone. Due to this, Apple’s servers can’t match your device’s signature with their database entries and return the error message on your screen.

In order to fix this issue, restore your device from iCloud or iTunes backup.

Note – You can only restore previous iOS files that are signed by Apple’s system.

Download iOS Software on Computer

This may not be an actual fix to the problem, but it does work for sure.

You just have to download the iOS update file from Apple’s servers and update the device from iTunes. There are many reliable websites on the internet that provide a list of downloadable iOS files’ links also known as .IPSW files.

You can directly get such files from these sources and avoid iTunes from interrupting you. Don’t forget to use download manager software to expedite this process.

In case you don’t know how to get it done, take a look at the following steps –

  1. Download iOS file on computer and save it on the desktop.
  2. Copy this file and paste it into iTunes software library. (~/Library/iTunes/iPhone Software Updates/
    )
  3. Open the iTunes software and connect your device to Mac.
  4. Click on the update button and let iTunes do its work.

Note – You may also use Restore method to install iOS file on your iPhone.

Steps to follow:

  1. Download iOS file on computer and save it on the desktop.
  2. Copy this file and paste it into iTunes software library. (~/Library/iTunes/iPhone Software Updates/
    )
  3. Open the iTunes software.
  4. On your iPhone, press Home + Power button for 10 seconds and then release the Power button. This will put your device into DFU mode and iTunes will automatically ask you to restore it.
  5. On your Mac, press & hold the Option key and click on the Restore button.
  6. Locate the downloaded files from iTunes library and wait for iTunes to verify and install the software.

Done. This way you can avoid frequent iTunes interruptions that ask you to update the device again.

Tip: Sometimes, you might get different iTunes errors while following the above steps. To tackle this issue, you can use your friend’s computer. Just transfer the downloaded IPSW file to his/her computer and follow the same procedure on iTunes and iPhone.

Hosts File

When we talk about network communication problems on iTunes, we can’t ignore the hosts file.

This file lets your computer connect with Apple’s servers. Therefore, it’s very important to have correct IP address settings in hosts file. Here’s how to confirm these settings –

1. Open the Finder app on Mac and select Applications.

2. Then, go to the Utilities folder and open Terminal app.

Tip: You may also use Spotlight Search to find this app on Mac.

3. Paste the following command and hit Enter.

sudo nano /private/etc/hosts

4. Enter your login details and open the file.

5. In gs.apple.com line, add the # tag symbol in the beginning of IP address.

6. Save the file using Control + O command and close the Terminal window.

7. Finally, restart the system and try downloading the software from iTunes.

With this hosts file solution, iTunes won’t report any download problem error and will update the iPhone accordingly.

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and perform these fixes on your devices. If you know some other solution to this issue, do let me know in the comments section below. It’ll certainly help other iPhone users in resolving their software download problems.

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