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How to Restore iPhone Without iTunes

A clean slate can do wonders in life, especially when it comes to the numerous gadgets and gizmos we use on a daily basis such as the Apple iPhone. You may use it to capture unforgotten moments; You may use it to send precious message to your loved ones; You may also use it to take important notes for job or study. However, it's quite common and inevitable that sometimes iPhone users encounter data losing problems with their phones. In this case, restoring iPhone maybe the top priority and with iTunes is always a good idea for an old hand. But sometimes some iPhone users just haven't install iTunes or forget to back up iPhone data to iTunes. Then here comes the problem: is there any way to restore iPhone without iTunes? In fact, after reading the tutorial, you may find the answer is absolutely yes.

Reasons stopping you from using iTunes to restore your iPhone successfully:

  • Your computer is not at hand at that time
  • Get an error message from iTunes as "iTunes could not restore the iPhone because the iPhone refused the request"
  • Just haven't got iTunes installed and don't want to use it.

Method 1: Restore iPhone to Factory Settings Without iTunes

Although iTunes is a very useful application to help you restore your iPhone, you actually have a handful of applications to help you do the trick. If you're looking for another Apple application to help you out, you can always turn to iCloud for your restoration needs. Remember that to do this, you need to have an iCloud backup file created previously.

  • Resetting your iPhone: Go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.
  • Restoring your iPhone without iTunes: Start up your iPhone, and you'll be prompted to use the Setup Assistant. Get your iPhone connected to Wi-Fi. Then choose "Restore from iCloud Back".

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Method 2: Restore iPhone Without iTunes Using iOS Data Recovery

Without iTunes, there is no way to restore iTunes backup to an iPhone, because that is the only way Apple lets you do with the iTunes backup file. Then let's consider someone else, like iRefone, which allows you to extract iTunes backup for preview and recovery. iRefone a third-party application that can basically do what the iTunes-only method does. It goes a bit farther though. With the application, you may opt not to restore all the data that's in the backup file. This method, however, still requires that you have synced your phone with iTunes. Take note that you'll have to use your Mac or Windows computer for this.

Option 1: Restore iPhone without iTunes using iRefone

Step 1: Run iRefone for Mac on Mac, Choose "Recover from iTunes Backup" on the main interface. All the iTunes backup files of your iOS Device which has ever synced with iTunes on this Mac will be automatically found and listed here. You can choose the one you want and click "Select" to access the data interface.

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Tip: If your iOS device backup is not displayed here, it's probably because your iOS device has not synced with iTunes on this Mac or you save the backup in other location. You can click "Select more" button to choose the backup by yourself.

Step 2: Then you will enter into the interface to show you all the data categories in your backup. Select the data you want to preview. The scanning time depends on the database in your iTunes Backup. You can preview them one by one before recovery.

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Step 3: After scanning has finished, iRefone will display all files found in the backup that you selected. You will be able to preview these files and you may select only the files that you want to restore, thus avoiding unnecessary files to be restored and take space in your phone. Once you're done choosing the files you want back, click on the "Recover to Mac" button to restore them.

Option 2: Restore iPhone from iCloud without iTunes

Step 1: Choose "Recover from iCloud Backup File" on the top of the window, and then log in your iCloud account.

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Step 2: When you logged into iCloud, the program can find all iCloud backup files in your account. Choose the one where you're going to recover data and click on the "Download" button.

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And then in the pop-up window, you can choose the type of files you would like to download. This will reduce the time of downloading the iCloud backup file. After that, you can scan the iCloud content now. Click on the "Next" button to begin. It will take you some time. Just wait for a moment.

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Step 3: The scan will be complete in a few minutes. Once it stops, you can click the icon of the data you need in your iCloud backup file, like contacts, messages, photos, and more. Check them one by one and tick the item you want. Then click on the "Recover to Mac" to save them on your computer with one click.

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iTunes Could Not Restore the iPhone: Issues and Troubleshootings

While iTunes seems a really good way to help you restore your data from a backup file, there could be some issues one might encounter while using it for restoration. In total, there are mainly five issues many iPhone users have been encountering when trying to restore their phones with iTunes. Most of these errors, usually denoted by their numbers, are caused by similar issues and can be solved using similar methods. Probably one thing that an iPhone user could take note of is to not panic while troubleshooting his or her phone for restoration so as to examine the error and solve it properly. Some examples of such issues and troubleshootings are the following:

Issues 1: Error 21

Troubleshooting: A hardware issue is causing the error to appear.

Make sure your cable is perfectly working and is properly connected to your iPhone and your PC. Have your phone connect to a reliable network and make sure your computer is running well. Ensure that no security settings or software in your PC is blocking your phone's communication with Apple's update servers then attempt to update again.

Issues 2: Error 1

Troubleshooting: A hardware failure is most likely the reason.

Booting properly into DFU mode should solve this issue. To do this, make sure your phone is properly connected to your computer and iTunes is open. Switch off your device then press on the power and home buttons for about 30 seconds. Release only the power button until the device is identified in iTunes.

Issues 3: iPhone won't restore with iTunes after failed jailbreaking attempt

Troubleshooting: The software used to jailbreak the phone may have messed up phone's the software and configurations.

Also having the phone boot in DFU mode will allow you to restore your phone using iTunes. See the solution for Error 1.

Issues 4: Error 3004

Troubleshooting: Another hardware issue, most likely with the USB cable, is this problem's culprit.

Try replacing the USB cable you're using to connect your phone to your PC with one that you're sure that is working perfectly fine. Attempt to restore from iTunes again.

Issues 5: Restoring stops, the loading bar disappears, and an error message appears

Troubleshooting: This issue is probably also caused by hardware problems.

Replace your USB cable with a better or newer one, just to be sure, disable all security software and make sure your phone's network connection is strong and reliable. Restore again with iTunes afterwards. It should now work.

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