How to Solve iTunes Error 21

Apart from Error 3194 there is another common problem called Error 21 when you are trying to restore or upgrade your iPhone or iPad. Error 21 gives you a message stating that “Device could not be restored an unknown error has occurred“. Many people requested that they are getting this message whenever they want to update their iOS to 6.0.1. Today I am going to show you how to solve this simple problem. Error 21 occurs because Apple changed the method of updating iOS Firmware with the release of their 5th version. Nowadays they verify if you are using a non-jailbroken device before updating or restoration. Follow the steps carefully to fix it.

Error 21 Message

Steps for Fixing Error 21

1. First, you need to download the specific IPSW for iOS 6.0.1 on your device. If you are planning to restore your iPad or iPhone then you can search for the specific version IPSW in Google and I am sure you will find the download links.

2. After downloading the entire package connect your device to the computer/mac. Hold the home and power button for 10 seconds. The device will shut down. Keep pressing the home button until you see an image of a dock connector. This method is called Entering DFU Mode which is critical for all software update operations.

3. Switch off your internet connection

4. When you are inside the device update page Press Shift and then click the restore button. This will pop up the window where you can select your IPSW and install iOS 6.0.1 or restore your device. In this way you will bypass Error 21 check from Apple.

If you are still facing any problem then please comment them below so that I may provide you with more tips the fix the issue.

About the Author

I am the creator of The New iPad Blog. I wanted to share some of the best iPad tutorials, authentic reviews and other fruitful information regarding iPad. I love Apple and want to help spread the usefulness of their tablet. Follow me in Google+ to get instant help for any iOS problems. Besides blogging I like travelling and hanging out with my friends.


  1. iphone user says:

    iphone cannot be restored at this time because iphone software update server could not be contacted

    • rahul247rocks says:

      Do something, keep the internet connection on and see what happens. Then if you by chance get a 3194 error, follow my article on that. Please let me know if you are still having the same problem.

  2. iPod user says:

    I’m in recovery mode and I can’t get into DFU because I have a faulty Home button. i tried restoring and all I get is error 21, meaning DFU which I can’t enter. soo what do?

  3. hi rahul i am having same issue with iphone user. i am 5.1.1 and i want to restore.. first thing i did was to download the 5.1.1 firmware and tried restoring but got 3194 error so i fixed it using ur other thread. and tried it again but i encountered error 21 so i fixed it again using your thread and i got stuck at recovery so i fixed that with tinyumbrella and last error i have is the same as iphone user..

    PLEASE HELP ME…. i spent already 4hours.. :(

    the reason i want to restore is because my iphone 4 runing 5.1.1 jailbroken is not playing my alert tones but all the ringtones,youtube etc is working ok.. and i cant record a video in camera..

    please help…

    • rahul247rocks says:

      go to your hosts and please confirm that you added that line in my error 3194 thread. If you are still facing problems copy paste your hosts file or take a screenshot of your hosts file and provide me the link somewhere.

      • hi.. ive done that now and im in dfu mode now and i am having 1601 error and ive already turned off firewall and antivirus and change ports and changed cables but still no luck.. please help…

        • rahul247rocks says:

          Are you running TeamViewer or Skype. Please exit Skype and Teamviewer. Go to your Task Manager – Services – then click on the services icon at the bottom—browse for Teamviewer and right click to stop it.

          As I mentioned before please copy paste your text from the hosts file here. Then I can have a better look at what’s going on. See this link for 1601:

          • hi.. i am not running skype.. and i have checked services and couldnt find team viewer.. so i guess i am not running it as well…

            and also i have followed that link u gave me but still no luck.. huhu PLEASE HELP..
            i am losing hope now..
            -anyways thank u so much for ur help…

          • rahul247rocks says:

            remove the hash before 127.0.1 Apple Gs and try again. If unsuccessful then add a hash before 74.204 thing….let me know.

          • i removed # in 127 and got 1601 error, i add # before 74 got cannot be restore at this time….

            do u think this will really work? i felt pity with my phone now. turn it on/off.. i spent almost 40min trying to get it to DFU mode.. :(

            huhu is there any more solution to this?

          • rahul247rocks says:

            dude I started a thread in Apple Community in our Google+ Account. So I hope I will get some other solutions real soon.

          • Ohh I see.. :) can u share the link? So rhat I can follow also? I think I will jud update my phone to ios 6.0.1 because it very hard for me not to be able to use my camera for video recording and all mu alert tones not working and will just restore. Anyways pls tell me that I did the right thing that I save my shsh blob first. Anyways I’m female.. :)

          • rahul247rocks says:
  4. hi rahul i update 6.0.1 in iphone 4 i have face this error 11 , and 21

    • rahul247rocks says:

      you mean when you are trying to update you are getting this error right? For Error 11 first make sure that your iTunes is updated to the latest version.

      • rahul247rocks says:

        you can also try to change the hosts file. Please see my Error 3194 article. Sometimes the same steps can be used to solve other iTunes related errors when you are trying to update.

  5. Ipad cannot be restored at this time because iPad software update server could not be contacted. When my internet is on, error 21 pops up again.

    • rahul247rocks says:

      Try the methods of Error 3194 once. Can you confirm that when you are restoring the device it’s in DFU mode and not normal switched on mode? Please confirm that.

  6. Ipad cannot be restored at this time because iPad software update server could not be contacted. When my internet is on, error 21 pops up again. it is in DFU mode, what do i do?

  7. my phone only comes on when it is connected to the computer or an outlet. but i’ve followed these steps and it still hasn’t worked

  8. I don’t have access to my ipad, there is the dock with itunes logo….

    • rahul247rocks says:

      Looks like your iPad is locked you need to unlock it using Tiny Umbrella. Download the latest version of Tiny Umbrella and run it. Make sure your iPad is connected and now click on “Run TSS Servers”. After that select “Fix Recovery”. Your iPad will be fine again. If you are still facing any problem feel free to ask me.

  9. I follow all instruction, but finally, i still got an error, how can I do other ways?

    • rahul247rocks says:

      try following our error 3194 tutorial. Sometimes it helps solve all problems that you are facing with restoring your iPad. Did you also download the right IPSW and I am assuming your iPad is jailbroken?

  10. Hey I did what you said for Error 3194 but now the error 21is coming up again. I can do one error fix and not the other.

  11. i have just few month ago have my iPad 4 iOS 6.0.1 and i was tryng to Update it but not in Wi-Fi but with IInternet Connection on PC!When it was finished it shows me Error [2012]!!!WHAT THE FUCK IS IT!!!

  12. mistraknow says:


    keep getting error 21 but ipad is already in recovey mode so can’t down load the IPSW, What can I do?

  13. Pls. Help. My ipad is stuck with the connect to itunes screen :( i tried the tinyumbrella but it wont work. My ipad originally was jailbroken ios. 5.0.1 but then i upgraded it to ios. 6.1.2. When I upgraded it my screen turned like that and stuck. Please help :(

    • rahul247rocks says:

      Inside TinyUmbrealla did you click on Fix Restore? Also make sure that your ipad is in DFU mode and connected to your PC/Mac while doing this.

  14. i can not enter dfu mode

  15. heeelp i did all the steps necessary to bypass error 11 and 3194 but when error 21 pops up i try to put the device in dfu mode to fix it and it shows me error 1600 that says the device should be in recovery mode but when it is, error 21 shows up, its like a circle ( am trying to update my ipad 2 non rev a from ios 4.3.3 to ios 6.1.2 because 6.1.3 is unjailbreakable) plz helppppppp

    • rahul247rocks says:

      Please watch the video below and make sure you are entering DFU mode correctly. Try running TSS servers in TinyUmbrella when in DFU…

  16. hey..! I’ve replace my iphone 4s home key with iphone 4 home key. After that my phone can’t boot with battery but it work with power supply. And I restored my phone to ios 7.0.4 …while restoring phone an unknown error 21 is occoured.I can’t fixed it. please help me.. it is not working restoring with DFU mode…

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