[Solved] Can’t back up iOS 10.3.3 iPhone in iTunes

“I have just updated my iPhone SE to iOS 10.3.3, now I can’t do a backup anymore, and always get the error message: “iTunes could not back up the iPhone because the iPhone disconnected”.

I tried to back up multiple times with the same result. My iTunes version is 12.6.2.20.”


Since the release of iOS 10.3.3, we have been receiving messages that iTunes backups don’t work. In this article, you can find all the possible solutions for iPhone owners who don’t want to upgrade to iOS 11 or simply can’t because their devices don’t support iOS 11.

iOS 10.3.3 doesn’t support backups in iTunes

From iOS 10.3.3 on, Apple introduced a bug that made backing up your iPhone through iTunes impossible. The backup in iTunes fails for some devices running iOS 10.3.3 with the following error message: “iTunes could not backup the iPhone because the connection to the iPhone was disconnected.”

iPhone was disconnected error in iTunes

Further research showed that this issue is a consequence of an Apple bug that was introduced with the new AFS file system. Because of the file system upgrade to AFS, non-English characters in filenames are processed incorrectly. If you use a language with accents, umlauts or other special characters (á, ü, ё, á, ñ) or have some app documents that contain such special characters, you may be affected.

The most radical solution is to completely delete all contents and settings of the iPhone and then restore it from an existing iCloud backup. But the process is very time-consuming, even if you have a current iCloud backup.

CopyTrans Shelbee – the first automatic solution to the iOS 10.3.3 backup error

CopyTrans Shelbee offers a straight forward fix for this situation. The latest program, version v1.133, can automatically identify the files that are causing the error. You will only need to start CopyTrans Shelbee and do a full backup and the problem will be fixed automatically during the backup.

CopyTrans Shelbee is free for personal use, so you don’t need to purchase a license (unless you are using the program in a business environment).

Download CopyTrans Shelbee

    The process is very simple:

  1. Download and open CopyTrans Control Center. In the list of programs select CopyTrans Shelbee and start the program.

    Start CopyTrans Shelbee
  2. CopyTrans Shelbee will open. Click “Backup”.

    Backup in CopyTrans Shelbee
  3. Select “Full Backup”.

    Full backup in CopyTrans Shelbee

    One great thing CopyTrans Shelbee can do is that the next time you do a backup of your device, you can choose to save the latest changes only. You won’t have to make another full backup. It’s faster and takes way less space.

  4. You can save the backup in the usual iTunes backup folder or specify a different folder (even on a flash drive or on an external hard drive, if you want to save space on your PC).

    Choose backup location in CopyTrans Shelbee
  5. In addition, there is the possibility to encrypt the backup so that your passwords, web page sessions, WLAN settings, and health data are backed up. To do this, click Encryption and create a password. Don’t forget to save it! You will need it when you restore.

    Encrypt backup in CopyTrans Shelbee
  6. Then click Start and wait for the full backup to complete. The corrupted file names will then be automatically found and repaired.

    Backup successful

    Because iOS 11 only supports 64-bit processors, the previous iPhone and iPad models with 32-bit processors can’t be updated. Here’s the list of devices that can’t update to iOS 11: iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, and iPad 4.

Apple’s suggestions for the users who cannot do a backup in iTunes because of iOS 10.3.3

    For some customers who cannot do an iPhone backup in iTunes, Apple Support recommends the following procedure:

  1. Enable low power mode. Go to Settings > Battery > enable Low power mode.

    Low power mode
  2. Disable background updates because some apps load data even when they are inactive. Go to Settings > General > turn off Background App Refresh.

    Background app refresh
  3. Enable Airplane Mode. Go to Control Center (swipe up from the bottom), and tap the Airplane Mode icon.

    Airplane mode

For some users, these three options are enough to reduce the background processes enough to complete the backup.

If you’re having trouble creating an iPhone backup through iTunes

  1. Restart the computer and the Apple device. By the way, this can solve many problems.

  2. Update iTunes. Open iTunes, click “Help” > Check for Update.

    Check for updates in iTunes
  3. Disconnect all other USB devices from the PC.

  4. Disable your security software. Follow the instructions of the software manufacturers.

  5. Make sure you have enough free space on your PC.

  6. Alternatively, you can create an iCloud Backup if you have enough iCloud storage. You can quickly clear the iCloud storage by downloading all iCloud photos to your PC and then deleting them all at once.