iTunes could not backup iPhone

Why won’t my iPhone backup

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Many users feel frustrated with the way iTunes manages (or essentially fails to manage) iOS devices. You’d be surprised by the amount of emails we receive daily saying that their iPhone won’t backup to iTunes. To make our life easier, we decided to summarize all iTunes backup issues in one place and provide the actual solutions.

If you are reading this, it means that you probably got an iTunes error message while trying to back up your iPhone, iPad, or iPod. We found that most iTunes backup errors can be resolved by several easy solutions we listed in this article.

This article features iTunes errors and solutions that should help you to backup your iOS device:

  1. iTunes errors
  2. iTunes could not backup because the backup was corrupt or not compatible
  3. iTunes could not backup the iPhone because the backup was corrupt
  4. iTunes could not backup the iPhone because not enough free space is available on this computer


iTunes errors

Here’s a list of the most common errors in iTunes:

  • “iTunes cannot backup iPhone because an unknown error occurred -1.”
  • “iTunes cannot backup iPhone because the backup session failed.”
  • “iTunes cannot backup iPhone because the iPhone refused the request.”
  • “iTunes cannot backup iPhone because an error occurred.”
  • “iTunes cannot backup iPhone because a session could not be started.”
  • “iTunes cannot backup iPhone because the backup could not be saved on this computer.”

Most issues that cause iTunes backup errors occur either on the side of your iPhone or your PC.

If you don’t know what to do if your iPhone is disabled connect to iTunes please follow the steps in our guide to fix the problem.


  1. Restart iPhone. Begin by restarting your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch with which you experience the trouble. This solution may bring a quick fix. As you are on a roll, we’d recommend restarting your PC too.
  2. Install the latest iTunes version. Your PC requires iOS drivers so it can correctly recognize your iPhone. Getting the most recent version of iTunes will make sure you have the latest drivers.

    As a substitute for iTunes, you can install the required drivers with CopyTrans Drivers Installer.

    Download CopyTrans Drivers Installer

  3. Connect iPhone to PC via another USB slot. And unplug any other USB devices before attempting to back up again.

  4. Deactivate security software. Temporarily disable your antivirus and firewall programs and try to back up once more.

  5. Free up hard drive space. Most iOS backups require at least 1 or 2 GBs of free space on your system drive. If you can’t back up because your computer is low on memory, we recommend you free up at least 5 GB from your primary computer drive.

    Alternatively, you can backup your iPhone to an external hard drive.

  6. Delete previous iOS backup entries. iTunes may fail to back up the iPhone due to a previous backup entry being corrupted. Delete that backup by following the steps in the below image.delete itunes backups from pc

  7. If your backup is corrupt and you don’t want to lose your precious data, you can extract data from a corrupt backup.

If the solutions above fail to help you solve the problem, it may quickly become complicated. Our experience shows that even Apple Support may not be able to help.


iTunes could not backup because the backup was corrupt or not compatible

When you backup your device with iTunes, the backup can turn out corrupt due to various reasons like connectivity issues, or you may have unplugged your device too early. iTunes also fails to check the data integrity of your backup, and later you can end up with nothing on your hands. As a result, you cannot make a new backup based on the previous one that is corrupt. Is there a way around this issue?

itunes backup corrupt or not compatible

Solution 1: make a full backup with CopyTrans Shelbee

CopyTrans Shelbee is a PC tool designed to complete full-featured iOS backup and restore for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. The program works independently of iTunes and quickly helps you forget the iTunes error. Forever. Here’s how quick and easy it is.

  1. Download and launch CopyTrans Shelbee on your PC, connect the iPhone, or iPad and click Backup.

    Download CopyTrans Shelbee

    Click Backup in the CopyTrans Shelbee main menu

  2. Click Full backup. CT Shelbee Select Full Backup
  3. Now choose the location of the iPhone backup away from the default iTunes backup location by clicking the Pencil symbol.Select the destination of your backup
  4. In this case, we’ll back up to our PC second drive G:/. You can even create a new folder there. Choose the destination drive
  5. Once ready, click Start. Choose and confirm the destination folder for your backup
  6. The iPhone backup begins. All iPhone information like device settings, contacts, calendars, messages, app documents, and Camera Roll photos are backed up. Stand by while the backup is in progress
  7. Voila, the backup is complete! Backup of iPhone is completed

Once your backup is done, you may want to make a full or selective restore with CopyTrans Shelbee.

Secure your photos backup with CopyTrans Studio

CopyTrans Studio presentation

With CopyTrans Studio, you can:

  • Access your iPhone and iPad Photos as if they are stored on a USB key
  • Use 1-Click Backup or Automatic Backup to never lose a photo anymore
  • Organize your photos with Smart Albums
  • Say goodbye to HEIC photos and convert them to JPEG
  • View Live Photos in motion and all Apple tricky formats on your PC with the built-in viewer

iPhone won’t backup

YouTube tutorial


iTunes could not backup the iPhone because the backup was corrupt

Solution 2: extract data with CopyTrans Backup Extractor

CopyTrans Backup Extractor searches for backups and extracts Photos, Messages, Contacts, Calendars, and Notes from your iPhone backup directly to your computer. Even if your backup is corrupt, CopyTrans Backup Extractor will be able to retrieve the information that has been saved properly, nonetheless.

  1. Download and launch CopyTrans Backup Extractor and click Find Backups.

    Download CopyTrans Backup Extractor

    ctbe welcome page find backups

  2. Select the backup from the list. choose your backup with ctbe
  3. If the backup is encrypted, enter the password and wait until CopyTrans Backup Extractor decrypts it. decrypting your backup with ctbe

    NOTE: If you forgot your backup password, we’ve got you covered!

  4. Wait until the backup is loaded. loading your backup with ctbe
  5. Select the information you’d like to pull out and click Extract. extract data from the backup
  6. The extraction has begun. extracting data from a chosen backup
  7. That’s it! Click Go to folder to view extracted data. data extracted and ready for viewing

Advantages of CopyTrans Backup Extractor:

✔ extract photos from iPhone backup in HEIC, PNG, and JPEG formats;

✔ extract videos from iPhone backup in MOV and MP4 formats;

✔ extract contacts from iPhone backup in VCARD format (separate files);

✔ extract text messages from iPhone backup (SMS, iMessages, WhatsApp, LINE) in PDF (with attachments in a separate folder);

✔ extract notes from iPhone backup in HTML format;

✔ extract calendars from iPhone backup in ICS format.


iTunes could not backup the iPhone because not enough free space is available on this computer

itunes cannot backup iphone because not enough free space on computer

The error message reads: “iTunes could not back up the iPhone because not enough free space is available on this computer” suggesting deleting files from the computer and the Recycle Bin.

Unfortunately, the statement above doesn’t really help users to resolve the issue. You don’t know how much free space you need or where you should be deleting your data from.

We created an easy iPhone backup solution called CopyTrans Shelbee that allows you to backup your iPhone wherever you want and to change the location of your original iTunes backup.

NOTE: If you don’t have one already, you can get an inexpensive high-capacity external hard disk or a USB drive to keep iPhone backups.

Why should you choose CopyTrans Shelbee over iTunes?

⭐ You can make an incremental backup with the latest changes
⭐ You can change the location of your backup
⭐ You can perform a custom restore of your data to the device if there’s no need to do a full restore
⭐ You can backup and restore apps even if they aren’t in App Store anymore

Backup your device to an external hard drive:

  1. Run CopyTrans Shelbee, click Backup and then choose Full backup.
    cts full backup of the device
  2. In the Select a backup location field, click on the folder icon and choose the external drive you want to backup your iPhone to.
    cts choose an external hard drive to backup the device
    NOTE: You might want to encrypt your backup to save sensitive data, like passwords.
  3. Wait until your backup is complete.
    cts backup to external drive is complete

As a result, you saved your iPhone backup to the location of your choice in the exact same format as the backup made by iTunes. You can also use CopyTrans Shelbee to restore a previous backup to another device.

This is how easy it is to go around the iTunes errors and back up the iPhone regardless of the free space left on your primary computer drive.

These easy steps will help you extract data from the iTunes backup on your PC that you thought you lost irrevocably.

We hope that following these steps will help you backup your iPhone despite the iTunes error messages. Contact our support team if you need additional guidance; we are always happy to help!

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By krasimir

Krasimir is an avid marketing aficionado and a tech-support specialist in charge of the English-speaking market. He grew up in Bulgaria and on the island of Mauritius where he became passionate about windsurfing and photography.