Previous 1 2 Next 28 Replies Latest reply: Nov 29, 2015 12:40 AM by Briansyddall Branched to a new discussion.
beewings Level 1 Level 1

I want to backup my 4S. Last was in November and I have things since that I don't want to lose (text messages, notes, appointments and contacts).


I have tried every. single. thing. apple. suggests. Scoured net looking for other suggestions. They don't work either.

Whatever I try, it runs a few steps then says "iTunes could not backup the iPhone because an error occurred"


Phone iOS 6.0.1

MacbookPro OS X 10.6.8


On phone:

Deleted all apps.

Deleted all music.

Even deleted all music on iTunes downloaded since last successful backup in case there was a corrupted song.

Macbook pro up to date.

iOS on phone up to date - updated it through wifi.
iTunes up to date.

Antivirus up to date.

Time/date both auto.

Reset computer.

Reset phone.

Used different cable (not that I think that would've done anything anyway)


Won't backup to iCloud.

Won't backup to another computer.

Won't let me encrypt backup (it wasn't previously)


Wiping it completely might help but as I said, I want the data from the last month!! If restoring must be done, is there any way I can retrieve the data?


May not want to wipe it but I tell you I'm damned near ready to break it...



iPhone 4S, iOS 6.0.1
  • Cactusarch Level 1 Level 1

    I had a similar problem once because I have the phone locked with a password.  By typing in the password and then performing the backup with iTunes, I have not seen the problem repeated.

  • Lawrence Finch Level 8 Level 8
    Mac OS X

    1. Delete any iPhone backups on your computer. In iTunes go to Preferences, Devices tab, highlight the backup and use the Delete button.


    2. After deleting in Preferences, make sure it was really deleted by going to the Backup folder. If it has not been completely deleted, delete the backup folder itself using Windows explorer or Finder depending on your operating system.


    3. Connect the phone to a USB port directly on your computer, not a hub. If it is a PC and a desktop computer use a port on the back, not the front.


    4. Open your phone and enter the passcode if you have one.


    5. Click Backup in iTunes.


    If it still fails to back up let us know. If it works please let us know, also.

  • LDotMarie Level 1 Level 1

    Hi, Lawrence—


    I am having the same issue. I keep getting an error message when trying to backup  via iTunes. I've tried wireless backup and also via USB port to my MacBook. It says, "iTunes could not backup because an error occurred." I also tried deleting previous backups per your steps above. I removed the passcode and still nothing. It still fails to back up. Please help.

  • LDotMarie Level 1 Level 1

    In addition to above: I've tried to backup via iCloud. When I click "Back Up Now" in iTunes for the iCloud option, my iPhone restarts, then it goes through the sync steps. The iTunes Wi-Fi Sync on the phone shows my last sync as the current date and time. However, the last backup still shows a previous date and time and the error message still pops up. I'm at my wits end.

  • Lawrence Finch Level 8 Level 8
    Mac OS X

    Have you checked to make sure the backup folder is entry? The location is "~/Library/MobileSync/Backup"


    If it is try deleting the backup folder itself. If it still doesn't work. To finally eliminate the computer as a possible source of the problem try backing up (not syncing) to a different computer. Be careful not to sync!


    You can also try repairing disk permissions. This is rarely a problem, but it can happen. Launch the disk utility (its under Applications, in the Utilities folder), click on Macintosh HD and choose Verify Disk Permissions. If you get any errors reported click on Repair Disk Permissions.

  • Lawrence Finch Level 8 Level 8
    Mac OS X

    It sounds like something is corrupted on your phone if the problem exists for iCloud backups also. The phone should not restart before an iCloud backup.


    You may have to restore your phone as new and add back your content manually.

  • LDotMarie Level 1 Level 1

    I do not have the folder "~/Library/MobileSync/Backup." A Mobile Sync option does not show in Library.


    I guess I will have to restore and add back apps manually. I am mostly concerned about my Contacts, Notes, and Mail because they are all empty in the phone. However, they are shown when I login to  Is there a way to transfer them from iCloud to my iPhone?

  • Lawrence Finch Level 8 Level 8
    Mac OS X

    If you set up an iCloud account on the phone (Settings/Mail,Contacts,Calendar) or if you already have one tap on it. There are switches to enable contact, calendar, notes, email sync with the iCloud account.

  • Neverenough02 Level 1 Level 1

    Yup, same issues here. Tried it all.

    Iphone 5 on 6.1.1 and windows 7 64 bit with newest itunes.


    This happened with my old phone (Iphone 4) once before and i remember deleting a few music files with errors which solved the issue.


    The new itunes does not seem to show incomplete/errored files. Is there a way to show the error files in this version?


    Apple.... This is all over the internet. Get on it. Iphones that dont sync are kind of useless.


    Someone help us out.

  • beewings Level 1 Level 1

    No dice. Nothing worked. Restoring factory settings is precisely what I wanted to avoid, as how in the name of multi-gigabytes are you supposed to add back the content MANUALLY. Who gives a rats about apps or anything purchased that is replaceable. It's contacts whose business cards you have binned after adding them to your phone, appointments that weren't on your computer because... right, the phone wouldn't sync. Text messages with information you needed to refer to later. Photos. Lost photos. Not cool. If you have to sit there and hand write them all out... not feasible. And photos obviously not possible.

    In the end I did just have to restore factory settings and use the backup from November. There was no library/mobilesync/backup folder. NOTHING suggested worked. The longer I looked for a solution the more worried I got there wouldn't be one and there goes another week of stuff, I figured it better to just cut my losses, wipe the phone and use November's. Not particularly pleased. I thought this kind of stuff-up was more typical of Microsoft. Anyway thanks for all the suggestions. You'd think one would have worked!!

  • JeaniceSkipper Level 1 Level 1

    I have the same problem as well. I have tried everything on several support pages and still nothing! This is ridiculous. I am almost to the point of wiping it clean. I took screen shots of all my contacts, settings, notes, and important texts today. Is there really no hope of an easier fix?

  • Karly555 Level 1 Level 1

    Hi Lawrence,


    Thanks for great advice. I've tried all your suggestions and it still won't back up. It doesn't give me an error code, just a message. But now the problem is I don't have any backup at all since I deleted all my previous backups. On my iTunes backup screen it says Last Backup: "unknown". Is it time to go to the Apple Store? I really wanted to avoid that. The reason being is that they want you to backup EVERYTHING including your computer because their last resort is a complete wipe! I cannot loose info on my phone. I have a lot of work information that is extremely important!


    Please help


    BTW.. Just throwing something in here, my "other" folder in iTunes is at 6g! Just in case it has something to do with it.

  • Lawrence Finch Level 8 Level 8
    Mac OS X

    "Other" that large indicates data corruption on the phone, so that could be part of the problem. Have you tried backing up to iCloud? If that fails all you can do is start over. You should sync your contacts, calendars and notes to apps on your computer using iTunes or to iCloud, so you won't lose them. Also, any apps that have separate backup features, and get your photos off the camera roll.

  • Karly555 Level 1 Level 1

    I just attempted to back up to iCloud... failed. Everything else is backed up to my computer. I am also linked to Microsoft Exchange through my job for important client contacts. I have information written on the "notes" section for a lot of my contacts. Do think that will be deleted? I can always connect my contacts from work to my phone but I'm more concerned about the notes in each contact. SO FRUSTRATING. Am I at the point to do a complete restore???


    I also just tried another suggestion that shrunk my "other" folder to 4.77g. I think that's still a large file if it holds corrupted data.



    Thank you for quick response!


    Shrinking the "other" folder:


    1-  Held the power and home button down for approximately 6 sec, NO MORE THAN THAT otherwise it wil go to DFU mode. It will power itself off.


    2-  Power it back on.


    3-  Then connect the device directly to your computer and "sync"

    This reduced my "other" file by 1.5g. Maybe more for others.

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