How to Fix iPhone Error 4013

Everything you need to know to resolve this common error

The last thing you want to see on your iPhone when you're trying to restore it or updating its operating system is error 4013 telling you it can't be restored. This may seem like a major problem — especially because you can't use your phone until it's fixed — but it's actually a relatively easy thing to solve. Read on to learn what causes iPhone error 4013 and seven ways to fix it.

The information in this article applies to all iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models running recent versions of the iOS operating system.

What Causes iPhone Error 4013

Error 4013 is commonly referred to as "iPhone Error 4013," but that's not technically correct. This error can strike the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch — essentially any device that runs iOS.

This error occurs when you're trying to update your device's version of the iOS or to restore your device and a problem occurs. That problem can sometimes happen when the iOS device disconnects from iTunes or iTunes is unable to prompt the device to finish the update/restore process. In most cases, this is the result of a software bug, though in a few cases it can come from a hardware failure.

You'll know you're facing this error when you get this message from iTunes: "The iPhone [device name] could not be restored. An unknown error occurred (4013)."

You may also see errors 9, 4005, and 4014. All four errors are closely related to each other, so the steps in this article can be used to fix them all.

screenshot of iphone error 4013

How to Fix iPhone Error 4013

To fix iPhone error 4013, follow these steps, in this order:

  1. Install the Latest Version of iTunes. The most common cause of iPhone error 4013 is software. Because iTunes is essential to both restoring and updating, it's crucial to make sure you're running the latest version of iTunes. You could be running into this error because your version of iTunes is out of date. A simple, free software update could solve your problem. Update iTunes and then try again.

  2. Force Restart the Device. You'd be surprised how often a seemingly difficult problem with an iPhone or iPad is solved by restarting the device. Sometimes the problem is just a temporary software glitch that the restart will fix. In this case, you want what's called a "force restart" or "hard reset," which is a more complete reset. Then try your restore or update again.

  3. Connect the Device to iTunes and Update. If the error hasn't been fixed after the first two steps, connect your device to a computer using a USB cable. When you do this, iTunes should ask whether you want to Update or Restore your device. Choose Update.

    It's crucial that you pick Update in this step. This reinstalls the operating system, but leaves all of your data untouched. If you select Restore, all of your data will be deleted. If you try all of these steps, and you can't update, a restore may be your last resort, but save it until everything else hasn't worked.

  4. Check for Updates on Your Mac or PC. Just like an older version of iTunes could have caused error 4013 back in step 1, there could be software updates you need to install on your Mac or PC that could be the culprit. Check for any available operating system updates, install them, and then try again.

    Get instructions on how to do that in What Is Windows Update and How Do You Use It? and How to Update Your MacBook Pro (applies to all Macs, despite the name).

  5. Try a Different USB Cable. Remember that it's possible for iPhone error 4013 to be caused by a hardware problem? This is one of the cases. It's possible that your iOS device is disconnecting from iTunes, or iTunes is unable to communicate correctly with your device, because the cable connecting your device to your computer is faulty. Try swapping out the cable you're using for another that you know works and see if that solves your problem.

  6. Try Restoring Using a Different Computer. This is the other scenario in which a hardware problem could be causing the error. If it's not the USB cable that's the problem, it could be the USB port itself or another hardware issue on the computer you're using. Because that can be so hard to pin down, it's a good idea to just try restoring or upgrading your device on a new computer.

  7. Contact Apple. If everything you've tried so far hasn't fixed error 4013, it's time to call in the experts: Apple. At this point, you may have a more serious problem that can only be solved by the people with access to top training and repair options. For tips on how to get the support you need, read How to Make an Apple Genius Bar Appointment for Tech Support.

Watch out for sites selling fixes. If you've done any Googling for information on how to fix iPhone Error 4013, you've probably come across a number of websites selling software that claims to fix the problem. Be careful about these programs. While it's true that they may be able to help you fix the error, you don't need them. As we've seen in this article, there are many ways you can try to fix the error and none of them involve paying a third party.

Looking to learn how to solve other iPhone errors with number codes? We've got articles on fixing iPhone error -3, 53, 3194, and 3259.