What Causes It and 8 Fixes

Key Takeaways

Error 4013 is often caused by a hardware problem, but may be down to software on the Mac or PC side. Try updating, force-restarting, replacing the cable, and cleaning your charging port. Trying the restore process on another computer may help, as can a visit to Apple or certain DIY repairs.

iPhone error 4013 can ruin your whole day by preventing you from restoring your device. The cause could be down to a range of problems, from the device itself to your charging cable, computer, or a software fault. Here are some things you can try to fix it.

What Is iPhone Error 4013?

Error 4013 may affect the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, rearing its head as a pop-up error whenever you try to restore your device using a Mac or Windows PC. You’ll see a message like:

The iPhone 'name' could not be restored. An unknown error occurred (4013).

This particular error code refers to a generic hardware fault, but others like 9, 4005, and 4014 may present in the same way. Though the issue may be related to a hardware problem, there are a few simple things you can try before getting your hands dirty or paying for a repair.

Update macOS or iTunes

The first thing you should try when you see the iPhone error 4013 is to update macOS (ideally to the latest version of the latest release) or iTunes if you’re using Windows. You can install outstanding software updates in macOS Ventura or later under System Settings > General > Software Update. On earlier versions, this option will appear under System Preferences > Software Update instead.

Update macOS to the latest version

If macOS Software Update notifies you that a new release of macOS is available (typified by a new major version number, i.e. “macOS 13.0”) then consider applying the update if you don’t have good reason to avoid doing so. On Windows you can update iTunes by opening the app and clicking Help > Check for Updates.

Force Restart Your iPhone or iPad

The next step in fixing error 3014 is to force restart your iPhone or iPad (or even iPod touch). The instructions for doing this will differ depending on which device you own.

On an iPhone 8 or later (including the iPhone X) or an iPad model without a home button: press and release the volume up button, press and release the volume down button, then press and hold the side button (iPhone) or “top” button (iPad) until it restarts.

How to force restart an iPhone 11 or iPhone 12. Push this combination of buttons in order.

On an iPhone 7 or seventh-generation iPod touch, press and hold the volume up and side button until you see the Apple logo, which indicates the device is restarting. On older iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch models with a Home button (that aren’t mentioned above), press and hold both the Home and side (or top) button until you see the Apple logo.

Related: Having a Weird iPhone Problem? Reboot It!

Connect Your Device to Your Mac or PC and Try Again

After you’ve updated and completely rebooted your devices, it’s time to try restoring again. Connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to your computer using a (preferably first-party, undamaged) cable. Now attempt to initiate the process again.

If you want to just update the software on your device without losing data, make sure you hit Update instead of Restore. If you were already trying to restore your device, this doesn’t matter so much. Clicking “Restore” will reinstall everything on the device and require you to either set it up as new or restore from iCloud or using a local backup.

Change the USB Cable or Clean Your Port

If you’re still getting the 4013 error, try swapping out the USB cable you’re using. The error could be a result of a problem with the connection between your iPhone and computer. In some cases, these sorts of problems are caused by faulty cables. Cables that show obvious signs of damage like fraying or cracked connectors should be thrown away. In many cases, it’s not even worth repairing them, so get a new cable instead.

Another potential cause of an “iPhone could not be restored” error could be a dirty charging port. This could mimic the effects of a damaged cable, so make sure that you carefully check and clean your iPhone’s charging port from time to time. Just because your iPhone charges normally doesn’t rule out this issue (since not all of the pins are used for power, some are used specifically for data).

Cleaning an iPhone's Lightning port
Tim Brookes / How-To Geek

Consider Retrying With a Different Mac or PC

If you have another device you can use to attempt to restore your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, giving that a shot could fix error 4013. It’s more likely that the device (rather than your Mac or Windows PC) is to blame, but you should rule everything out.

This may be a spare Mac or PC that you own, something borrowed from a friend, or a computer provided by work or school.

Take Your iPhone to Apple

If your device is still under warranty and you’ve ruled out issues like the USB cable, source computer, and software updates, take your iPhone to Apple and have them sort out what’s causing iPhone error 4013 for you. They’ll either offer to replace or repair your device, depending on what the cause of the issue is. If the issue is caused by physical damage that you have inflicted, AppleCare+ should cover you for a $99 fee in most cases.

If your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch is outside of the warranty period (you will see a “Coverage Expired” notice under Settings > General > About), you can still take it to Apple and ask them what is going on. Apple may try and restore it in-store for you, at no charge. Otherwise, you’ll get an estimate for repairs before going ahead with any work so you won’t be out of pocket unless you authorize a fix.

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Alternatively, you can go to an Apple-authorized service center. Both appointments can be made using the Apple Support website.

The other option you have is to go to a non-authorized repair center that may be able to fix the issue for less than Apple or one of its partners. You’ll need to use your best judgment to decide whether or not the “risk” is worth it in this instance, so make sure you check the web for reviews.

Consider a DIY Fix for Error 4013

According to several Reddit threads (specifically this one and this one), the iPhone error 4013 issue is common on the iPhone X as a result of the Face ID and front earpiece sensors. Some suggest disconnecting this using this iFixit guide to “Update” the firmware using a Mac or PC, ideal if your data is held hostage on the phone.

Related: Should You Repair Your Own Phone or Laptop?

If the phone boots as normal with the earpiece sensor disconnected but boot loops with it connected, you can try replacing this part (using a spare like this on the iFixit store) for a permanent fix.

This sort of repair job won’t be for everyone (and there’s no guarantee of a fix) but if your device is old and you have (or want) some experience prodding around inside an iPhone, it might be worth a shot.

Fix Your Other iPhone Problems

Many iPhone issues require a bit of work to fix, from apps that crash repeatedly to devices that won’t turn on, vague errors about your device being “unavailable”, and devices getting stuck on the Apple logo.

Related: iPhone Notifications Not Working? 8 Fixes

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