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Best Way to Fix “iTunes Cannot Read the Contents of the iPhone”

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Every once in a while, we’re reminded about the importance of backing up our iPhones. Most of us disregard these reminders, even though taking a short amount of time to take the backup has a lot of benefits. On the other hand, plenty of people welcome those reminders and regularly back up their iPhone data. If you fall into the latter group, then iTunes cannot read the contents of the iPhone is certainly frustrating.

iTunes Cannot Read the Contents of the iPhone

To clarify: this can occur for anyone that syncs their iPhone or any iOS device for that matter, not just regulars. However, it is more upsetting for users who frequently take backups only to see this error randomly start appearing. Right off the bat, it’s crucial that you don’t click “OK” if a factory reset notification appears. Doing this will wipe all of your personal data instantly. Fortunately, there are solutions you can try before giving up hope!

PS: if you have problems with iTunes Won’t Open on Windows 10, or iTunes keeps asking for the password,  click to fix them now.


Reasons for “iTunes Cannot Read the Contents of the iPhone”

Why does this problem happen? Usually, we can list a bunch of reasons for iOS errors, but in this case, we simply don’t know yet.

That said, we can take a few generic reasons and apply the most logical to this situation where iTunes isn’t able to read iPhone data. For example, it could be because the lightning cable is faulty, the device’s port or PC’s USB port is damaged, iTunes has a bug that interferes with the connection, or your iPhone’s data could be corrupt.

Above all of the other reasons, though, it’s been found that iTunes cannot read the contents of the iPhone is more common among jailbroken devices. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that if your iPhone is jailbroken, reversing the jailbreak will repair the issue.


Best Solution to Fix iTunes – iMyFone iTransor

Rather than vigorously testing a list of fixes that may not work, the best thing you can do is use an iTunes alternative such as iMyFone iTransor. As well as avoiding this iTunes problem, you’ll never encounter it again.

  • Take backups of all iPhone data or selectively
  • Restore iPhone backups from iTunes and iCloud
  • Extract specific data from your backups without restoring them
  • Compatible with recent iOS versions (iOS 13) and iPhone models
  • It is free to use iMyFone iTransor’s backup features
  • Restores data to iOS devices without overwriting existing data

Get iMyFone iTransor

Even though you’ll need to buy a plan to use iTransor long-term, it’s perfect for replacing iTunes and any consistent errors you experience. One of the best abilities which it has is being able to back up and restore data selectively. Instead of backing up a lot of unnecessary data or restoring an entire backup, you can save time by selecting specific data types to handle.

How to Restore Partial Backup with iMyFone iTransor

So, if you decide that iMyFone iTransor is exactly what you’re looking for, it’s time to learn how to use the software. In this first example, we’re going to explain what steps need to be taken to restore app data for a specific application, without restoring a whole backup.

  • Step #1 – Download and install iMyFone iTransor on the computer, then launch it to begin.
  • Step #2 – Connect your iPhone to the computer with a lightning cable.
  • Step #3 – From the sidebar menu, click “Restore Backup to Device.”
  • Step #4 – Any backups that were taken with iTunes or iTransor will be listed, and to view iCloud backups as well, click “Login in” below the list.
  • Step #5 – Select the backup containing app data you want to restore and click on “Next.”

iMyFone iTransor

  • Step #6 – Next, you can choose to restore the full backup or partially/selectively. As we are restoring an app’s data, click on “Restore Partial Backup.”

iMyFone iTransor Restore Backups

  • Step #7 – On the following screen, there will be a list of the formats that iTransor supports for selectively restoring. Check the box next to the types you want to have restored and press “Preview & Restore.”
  • Note: rather than previewing data, clicking “Directly Restore” will skip the preview stage.

iMyFone iTransor

  • Step #8 – Finally, select anything you want to have on your iPhone and click “Restore.”

iMyFone iTransor

Currently, only a small number of data types are supported for selectively restoring on iMyFone iTransor, but this will likely be increased over time.

How to Export App Data from iTunes Backup

Another thing you can do if iTunes cannot read the contents of the iPhone is export data. This can be done by either extracting the data from your iPhone or also an iTunes backup. The latter takes data out of an existing backup and stores a copy on your computer.

  • Step #1 – First of all, open iMyFone iTransor and click the “Export from Device & Backup” feature on the left sidebar menu.
  • Step #2 – The list of your iTunes and iTransor backups will be displayed, and you can choose the one you want to export data from before clicking “Next.”

iTransor export data backup

  • Step #3 – On the next page, all of the data types you can export will be shown. Once you check the box of any type you want to export, or “Select All,” click “Scan” to proceed.

iMyFone iTransor Export Data

  • Step #4 – iTransor will retrieve and scan everything in the backup you chose, and once this process finishes, you can see the backup data.
  • Step #5 – Navigate through each of the data types and select any files you want to export.
  • Step #6 – After selecting the data, click “Export” and choose a folder to save the exported data.

Export Whatsapp with iTransor

Furthermore, if you wanted to export data from your iPhone instead of from a backup, selecting “Export from Device” follows a similar process. Both ways are effective and perfectly demonstrate how great of a program iTransor is and why you should use it instead of iTunes.

Try iMyFone iTransor


Alternative Fixes for iTunes Can’t Read iPhone Contents

Meanwhile, some people are adamant about using iTunes even if they keep running into problems with it. This is understandable because using the manufacturers’ own software is reassuring, and that’s completely fine.

So, if iTunes cannot read the contents of the iPhone and iTransor doesn’t appeal to you, try these fixes.

1. Install iTunes Again

Any sort of iTunes error that happens more than once is disruptive, and reinstalling the program could help.

Just uninstall iTunes by going to the “Add or remove programs” Windows menu, download the installation file from Apple’s website, and install it again. Doing this deletes all of iTunes’ program files, so if there’s a corrupt or damaged file, it’ll be repaired after reinstalling.

However, if you do this, there’s a chance that it will delete your iTunes backups too.

2. Rename iOS Files (Jailbreak Only)

For users that have a jailbroken iPhone, renaming 3 iOS system files has proven to be an effective solution when iTunes cannot read the contents of the iPhone.

  • Step #1 – Install the iFile app on your device and disconnect the lightning cable.
  • Step #2 – After that, launch iFile and open the directory “var > mobile > Media > iTunes_Control > iTunes“.
  • Step #3 – In this directory, locate the following files and add “.old” to the end of each file:
  • iTunesCDB
  • iTunesPrefs
  • iTunesControl
  • Step #4 – Lastly, restart your iPhone and reconnect it to iTunes.

These iOS files store information about how your iPhone communicates with iTunes, so by doing this, new versions of these files are created.

3. Delete Something from iPhone

When we connect an iOS device to iTunes, it stores various information in a database. If this database is corrupt, then problems start appearing, and iTunes can’t read the device’s data.

To force iTunes to rescan the database and repair errors, it helps to delete data from your iPhone. All you have to do is delete a song or an app then reconnect the device to iTunes. After the initial sync, if this fixes the content reading error, you should be in the clear.

4. Factory Resetting the iPhone

Still noticing that iTunes cannot read the contents of the iPhone? Only a few remaining things can be the source of the error, and at this point, factory resetting is the best approach. If possible, make an iCloud backup before you do this.

  • Step #1 – Unlock your iPhone and open the “Settings” app.
  • Step #2 – Open up the “General” menu and swipe down to “Reset.”
  • Step #3 – Tap on “Erase All Content and Settings” and enter your passcode.
  • Step #4 – After confirming the factory reset, it will wipe all the device data.
  • Step #5 – Once your iPhone resets, set it up normally and restore the iCloud backup you took.

Factory resetting deletes all of the device’s personal data as well as system files (and junk files left behind by previous iOS updates).


Conclusion on How to Fix “iTunes Cannot Read the Contents of the iPhone”

By following the solutions above, you have a good chance of working around iTunes cannot read the contents of the iPhone. If you decide to try the basic solutions, then hopefully the issue resolves, but the quickest and most effective results come from switching to iMyFone iTransor instead. This iTunes alternative rarely causes problems as iTunes does, and there are several features that make it better than iTunes. In short, iTunes errors aren’t always easy to fix and considering there are lots of factors that can contribute to them, using an alternative is ideal.

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