iPhone 4 iOS 5 Upgrade: Error 1611, 1603, 1604 – Unable to RESTORE

iOS5 upgrade and issues –  I thought to share my experience here for the benefit of other iPhone users.

After the iOS5 was launched yesterday I was a bit reluctant to do the upgrade as I had issues in past with my iphone 3G during iOS upgrades. Over the weekend it just struck my mind that I should go ahead and do the upgrade (hate that moment). I downloaded iOS5 and when it came to install part, an error popped up saying I don’t have enough space for the backup. It asked me for 6GB of space in my C drive while I only had 2GB free. The warning was if I continue, I will lose all my media etc. I tried my best to change the location to my external 1TB HDD but for some reason this iOS was looking for space in C. Anyways, I moved my downloads and few other folder to make some space for it before going ahead with the install part. So a very important point – you must have enough space in your C drive before you can do iOS5 upgrade. I don’t know if there are any tweaks which can solve this issue but I tried few and none of them worked till I released space in C drive.

During the install part it backs up your iPhone data and then validates from Apple site. Different users have come across different errors. I came across a very strange one and that was Error 1611. My iphone hung in recovery mode and I could not do anything.  Searched that error on Apple site which left me more worried. Let me share with you what Apple says about that error:

Error 1611: This error may indicate a hardware issue with your device. Follow the steps in this article. Also attempt to restore while connected with a known-good 30-pin Dock Connector cable, computer, and network to isolate this issue to the device. The MAC address being missing or the IMEI being the default value (00 499901 064000 0) can also confirm a hardware issue. Out-of-date or incorrectly configured proxy or security software, such as FoxyProxy, can cause error 1611. To troubleshoot third-party security software, follow these steps.

I followed the basic restore procedure but after every failed attempt it came back with a new error like 1603, 1604, 9 etc. My iphone was stuck in recovery mode and I could not do anything. The ‘Restore’ procedure I followed is here at Apple Site.

This ‘Restore procedure’ did not resolve my issue and I thought this is it, I can never see my iPhone again. Searched through different forums and most of them said it is a hardware error and it will brick the iphone. Regarding Error 1611 there was a story on BBC where a user had to buy another phone. Few users suggested that anyone who came across Error 1611 will not be able to see their iphone again!

Don’t get panic! after hours of trying different things I finally resolved the issue by going through the following procedure:

  1. Uninstall itunes from Programs/Features in Control Panel
  2. Unintsall ‘Apple application support’
  3. Remove Apple registries if possible using software like CCleaner
  4. Restart your computer
  5. Disconnect all USB devices except your mouse/keyboard
  6. Download latest itunes (10.5 at the time of writing)
  7. Install the itunes – don’t worry you won’t lose anything
  8. Log out from your itunes account if you are already logged in
  9. Log back in
  10. Turn off all your firewalls, antivirus, Anti-melware etc (sometimes Apple have issues connecting to certain ports if you have third party firewall/AV installed)
  11. Make sure ‘Apple Mobile Device’ service is started (check from Services.msc)
  12. Run itunes
  13. Use a different USB port of your PC/laptop (if available) to connect your iPhone directly to computer (Do not use a USB hub/port on monitor)
  14. Click on the device and hit on Restore

itunes will now successfully restore your iphone to factory default settings and after that will look for last Backup. I always keep latest backups so I had my backup ready to be restored. After like 30-35 minutes everything was restored and I could see my iphone again with new iOS 5.

I know this could get very painful and the whole purpose of writing this blog entry was to help those who are stuck in this issue. As this is my very own personal experience I cannot gurantee that this will resolve your problem but I really hope it does.


66 thoughts on “iPhone 4 iOS 5 Upgrade: Error 1611, 1603, 1604 – Unable to RESTORE

  1. I’ve had part of your problem. When I was going to download iOS 5 it said I didn’t have enough hard drive space. So I deleted things I never use, moved photos and music to a backup drive. Then I emptied the recycle bin and let it compress and do a clean up on the HD. Well finially had enough space to download the new iOS. After spending nearly an hour downloading I continued to install and then when the time came to backup my iPhone I didn’t have the 9 something GB’s that it required. So now I still haven’t installed the new iOS. Very aggravated that I deleted things off my HD that I kind of wanted to keep just to free up space and the time I’ve invested all for nothing.

    I’m glad to see after all your troubles that you have all your new iOS install issues resolved.

  2. I can understand the pain – I for once can’t understand why it needs space in C: – no matter how many times you change the path, it will always look for C drive. In your case, if there is any way you can synch your iphone again, synch it with your media removed so that iphone doesn’t have media files. Once the upgrade procedure is completed, you can restore from backup.

  3. 1603 on my iPad restore, will follow these instructions as the apple instructions I have followed have not resolved, many thanks for posting in detail

  4. I have a ipod touch 4th generation. I’m constantly getting the 1611 error whenever im trying to get my new ipod touch to update to ios 5. I get stuck at preparing to restore”. If anyone can tell me why i’m receiving this error please contact me via email at r.budram@live.com

  5. @Randy – Please make sure you have enough space in your C drive and there are no firewalls/AV running. Also try connecting it to a different USB port, don’t use a USB hub or anything. The USB port you are using must be on that computer/Laptop.

  6. I was able to upgrade my iPhone 4 without any problems. But when I tried to upgrade my iPad2, I got the 1611 error.

    I snooped through the Apple support communities and found one fellow that said he had the same problem, but when he moved his USB cable from a port on the side of his monitor to a port on the computer itself, his problem was solved.

    So I tried it, and it worked for me too.

    SO — if you get the 1611 error (especially on an iPad) make sure your cable is plugged into the computer itself, not a port in your monitor.

    Worked for me anyway. Hopefully this will help others too.

    -Tom in SoCal

  7. i am using my iphone 4 without SIM and tried to upgrade to ios 5. It went through smoothly till the device says ‘insert valid SIM’.

    I dont have the SIM but I had been using iphone 4 successfully without SIM for taking pictures and mail using wi-fi connections. Is it NOT possible to upgrade without the SIM card? Please advice, i am stuck at it with fear of losing data!

  8. @Atul – Sorry mate you have given this issue a whole new dimension. I haven’t come across people using iphone 4 without sim card so can’t answer your questions but my feeling is that you won’t lose data if it’s all backed up to itunes. Again this is just my educated guess and I can’t tell you 100%.

    1. Thx for response. But hte moot question is how to restore the iphone. It s just got stuck. what should i do now in absence of a SIM card? can I restore to previous setting? if yes then how?

  9. @asharsidd
    Thanks i tried all of that before, i’m not really sure what else to try I’ve looked up all possible solutions and nothing works.

  10. Thankx.
    i was trying with front usb ports on my pc as they r usb Hubs
    work fine with motherboard on the back of Pc
    Thanx again.

  11. Okay so here a update. I took my ipod touch 4th Gen to the apple store who was able to restore it to ios 5 and yet i cant get it to be shown on my itunes but it will come come up as a camera on windows i got irritated and restored it now im back at square one because i cant do anything at all but get a 1604 error can anyone help with this?

    1. Hi Randy, did you try all the steps mentioned above step by step as it is? most of the people have their issues resolved after following the pattern I mentioned above. If the issue persists take it back to apple and ask them why it is showing as a camera device at your computer? If it’s a laptop I will take the laptop with me to show them exactly what’s going wrong. Hope this helps.

    1. It may be because you are using iCloud on the handset and it may be active. All you need to do it go to settings, then iCloud, then switch contacts to off, it will ask whether to delete or keep the contacts. Now you need to click on Keep on iPhone and the contacts will appear again on your contacts.

      1. thanks for letting me know, I followed those steps, yeah my iCloud was active, and now I got my contacts back hurray 🙂

  12. Followed your steps to the letter, except “14. Click on the device then press and hold left Shift and hit on Restore and choose the iOS 5 IPSW firmware”

    When I do that it takes me to some random My Documents location. I’ve searched for the IOS5 IPSW firmware but it is nowhere to be found.

    Still got error 1611. The Apple logo appears with the progress bar but the bar remains empty.

    This is so frustrating !

  13. Apologies for the double post but after 5 and half hours of frustration I managed it. Might be some extra tips for anyone having problems.

    Had to uninstall ALL Apple products, especially Bonjour ! Had to disable Zone Alarm (Firewall) and completely UNINSTALL my AVG (antivirus).

    Found the IOS 5 download location

    On Windows Vista/Windows 7:
    Users\\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\iTunes\iPhone Software Updates

    but the file must have been corrupt so I downloaded it fresh from the links here: http://cydiahelp.com/ios-5-download-firmware-for-iphone-4-3gs-ipad-2-1-and-ipod-touch-direct-links/

    Still didn’t work first time, it would update then crash, next time it would update about 25% then crash …

    So after about 30 to 40 Error 14, 1604 and 1611 – I’ve done it.

    All I can say is, if you’re having problems and seem to be doing the same unistall, restart, reinstall, restore steps and the same thing is happening and it feels like groundhog day … keep going, it WILL eventually work.

    1. @Gav – Did you not disable Firewall/AV after reading my steps as I mentioned it is very important to disable …also you rightly mentioned it takes several tries and this is what I mentioned that I spent quite few hours trying several things. I am glad it eventually worked for you.

  14. I also got the 1611 message on the first gen iPad. Nothing would work until someone here suggested not using a USB hub. I was using a port on my monitor. Plugged cable directly into my PC and perfecto!

    1. This worked for me also – plugging the ipod directly into a USB port on the PC rather than through the hub in the screen.

  15. Hi .. I got error 1611 during my iphone4 IOS 5 update and the rtequested restore failed …. Panic …. After much angst and mumbling, I fired up my old laptop that had IOS 4.3.5
    , plugged in and my phone spluttered into life … I did not restore on the old laptop, but plugged back into itunes 10.5 and restored the latest backup … It still prompts to upgrade to IOS 5 … but I am not brave enough …. This uninstalling/re-installing/disabling stuff is not on … Come on Apple …. give us some stability !!!!!!!

  16. None of the solutions I found on the internet worked for me when upgrading an iPhone 4 from 4.2.1 to 5.0. I tried changing cables, USB ports, computers, killing iTunes (this worked on my 3GS for the same problem), re-installing iTunes, etc. I couldn’t get past the loader screen (apple with progress bar beneath it).

    Eventually I discovered that on Windows 7 Pro x86, the Apple Mobile Device USB Driver could not be started. Updating the driver had no effect, nor did searching the Windows repository. So I disabled the driver, then re-enabled it. As soon as I did this the progress meter started and installed the iOS 5.0. Hope it helps someone!

  17. Was a bad cable for me. I also use a fiber USB hub. When I went strait in to the computer with a new USB cable, it worked fine. Thanks for the info!


  18. I have followed all the steps and continue to get error codes. I even tried Gavs alternate IOS 5 download file. any suggestions?

  19. Thank you so much. That’s the way it worked for me. I couldn’t believe when I saw the progress bar filling. Deactivated windows firewall and avast av. Finally, had to deconnect/connect iphone and now my backup’s running. Annoying how much time is wasted on that crap if you add 5 hours at least of everyone encountering this problem. Cheers, merry christmas, Nina

  20. Mine dispays, “itunes” when I power on and error 1611 while installing ios. Can these steps work for this too?

  21. My iphone 4 displays, “itunes” on switching on and error 1611 when I try to install ios. Can these steps work for this problem too? Please help

    1. I cannot gurantee this will work as I have made it very clear in my post as well that you will do it at your own risk but if you go through the feedback of my post you will see majoority got it resolved following the procedure.

  22. OMG BRO! you fixed my ipod i love you man. i thought i bricked it or something and im only in high school so my parents would of killed me. thank you man, and you dont need to turn off your AV and firewall because i didnt do that and it worked 😀 THANK YOU

  23. Thank you so very much. My phone crashed an I couldn’t get it to do anything. I went to two different Apple stores and they wanted me to buy some bulls**t repair package. The clerk at the second store googled this page and told me to give it a try. I did and “it worked the first time!” Once again I “Thank You!!”

  24. You are a genius ! Thank you so much. This was actually the next step I would take because anything else failed me. So, I was thinking of uninstalling itunes and install it again. I had this issue with my ipod 4th gen restartign over and over again and being stuck t the apple logo after the latest update to iOS5.1.1 – the latest. Crazy thing!

  25. Believe it or not i followed this manual step by step with reoccurring errors 1603 and 9 after each time. i saw someone say it took them literally 32 times before there phone was restored. My experience was legit 8 or 9 times of following the steps above before i got through the firmware restore/update. I was told by the Apple Geniuses that my phone was dead and i needed to buy a replacement becasue my warranty was up. They tried once, to restore my phone when i went in for tech help, told me sorry, and offered to replace it for $149. I took it home and searched forums all over the interenet and two days later this right here was my solution. Thanks so much for the help and best of luck to everyone else with the same problem. It was very frusterating.

    Verizon iPhone4

  26. Thanks so much! I was getting worried that I got a bricked ipod. I did all what you said and it fixed it!

  27. Thank you so much ! It was a most terrible day of my life, i wasn´t do anything with my iPhone 4s since morning. Thanks so much !

  28. Thanks a million! it worked for me too. Just try to disable all firewalls (windows firewall, third party anti virus sofftware fiewall etc) and it should work.

  29. Outstanding post however I was wanting to know if you could write a litte
    more on this subject? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Kudos!

  30. I tried it several times the second time it worked, but after 10 minutes it started asking itunes again and now it just doesn’t work anymore, what do I do? P.s. it’s an iphone 4

  31. My situation has been quite stressful. My iPhone 4 had fallen from my bed and the screen went black. No cracks or anything but I had taken it to the apple store and with $200 they could fix it. I don’t know about anyone else but I’m not willing to pay that much money for dropping my phone 2 feet off the ground. The problem is that when I plug in my iPhone to my computer the low battery symbol shows for a few seconds then the apple logo appears for another few seconds and the phone shuts off. I tried putting it in recovery mode and my itunes does pick it up but when I try to restore, I get the 1604 error. I followed your steps exactly how you wrote them. I don’t know what to do. I tried it on a laptop too but no luck.

  32. Thanks. This was a life saver. I was trying to upgrade to the newest OS6 on iphone4. Was getting 1611 error over and over. It took me 4-5 hours of retrys before finding this article.

  33. Thank you very much mate! I did exactly what you’ve written and it worked. At first I thought that my iPhone just turned to a very expansive brick but then I found your website. You’ve saved my life.

    I lost just my apps but they are stored in Appstore – Purchased column, so not really a big deal. At least I can finally decide which app I really need. My Wi-Fi was screwed for a bit, but reboot helped.

    Once again, thanks. Jaro.

  34. i tried all the above, and followed a similar video that is doing the rounds. All failed, always got the 1611 error when trying to restore. This was for an iphone 5 trying to update ios to latest. Took it to mac shop, they even gave me a new phone saying it was a hardware error. Took it home, tried to upgrade new phone same error. Turns out, it was an intermittently faulty lightening cable. Mac shop didnt give me a new one with new phone (!?) I suggest eliminating this possible issue early.

  35. Howdy, I jumped over to your web site via Facebook. Not some thing I generally read, however I really like your perspectives nevertheless. Thanks for developing some thing worthy of reading through!

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