Fix “This device isn’t eligible for the requested build” Error in iTunes When Updating iOS

Nov 3, 2011 - 99 Comments

Fix Device isn't eligible build iTunes error

If you’re trying to update iOS to the latest version on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and you get an error in iTunes saying:

The iOS Device “Device Name” could not be updated. This device isn’t eligible for the requested build.

You’re encountering one the following problems: either you are using an old version of iTunes, you are using an incorrect version of the firmware for your device, or you have gs.apple.com re-routed in your hosts file.

If you know you’re using the proper iTunes and iOS version and you’re familiar with editing a hosts file, just throw # in front of the “74.208.10.249 gs.apple.com” entry and you’ll be good to go. If you have no idea what that means, read on and it’ll be explained easily. First let’s cover the iTunes and firmware aspect, then explain hosts modifications. Try these in order, one of them will certainly fix the ineligible build error:

1) Update iTunes

This is easy, just open iTunes and update to the latest version. This is required because the newest version of iOS require the newest versions of iTunes. Easy to resolve.

2) Use Proper iOS Firmware

The next thing you need to do is make sure you’re using the proper firmware IPSW file for your iOS hardware. You can download any firmware files from these links:

A fair amount of confusion regarding IPSW seems to be in the difference between GSM and CDMA downloads, in the USA this is easiest to determine based on the cellular provider: AT&T is GSM, Verizon is CDMA. If you’re not sure what to do with an IPSW file, you can read our walkthrough of how to use them.

If you’re certain you have the correct firmware file and you’re still getting the “device isn’t eligible” iTunes error, it’s almost certainly a result of gs.apple.com being blocked in the hosts file.

2) Remove the Hosts Block

This usually comes from users who have jailbroken an iOS device at some point on their computer, or did the error 3194 fix, and as a result have a line in their hosts file blocking Apple’s servers. There’s two ways to fix this, the first is the easiest:

Easy: Using TinyUmbrella
TinyUmbrella prevents you from having to use the Terminal to edit system files, instead you can just launch the app and quit it.

After you’ve downloaded and installed TinyUmbrella, here’s how to use it to remove a hosts block:

  • Open TinyUmbrella and click on the “Advanced” button tab at the bottom
  • Uncheck the box next to “Set Hosts to Cydia on Exit”

Remove Hosts block to fix Device isn't eligible error

Now quit out of TinyUmbrella and the app will modify the hosts file in the process to remove the block, allowing you to connect to Apple’s servers again. Before you try though, be sure to turn the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch on and off again, and relaunch iTunes as well.

If you still run into problems, you may need to flush the DNS cache as well. Quit out of iTunes and open the Terminal in OS X Lion, then type:
dscacheutil -flushcache
Now relaunch iTunes and you’ll be good.

Advanced: Manually Editing Hosts

  • Quit out of iTunes
  • Go to the hosts file. For Mac OS X this is located at: /etc/hosts or /private/etc/hosts and in Windows it is located at: c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts
  • Open the hosts file with Administrative privileges so that changes can be made and saved (eg: sudo nano /etc/hosts)
  • Look for a line that resembles something like this:
  • 74.208.10.249 gs.apple.com

  • Put a # in front of that to comment it out, making it now look like this:
  • # 74.208.10.249 gs.apple.com

  • Save the hosts file
  • Flush DNS cache and restart iTunes

Whichever approach you took, this fixes the “eligible build” error and the iOS device will update as intended.

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Posted by: William Pearson in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

99 Comments

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  1. plebs says:

    you should preface this entire article with a big warning saying “if you dont know how to pick the right firmware you shouldnt be doing what youre trying to do”

    • wey says:

      How you know you are picking the right firmware?, I thought I could use any version?

      Considering that I already choose the right my model between GSM or CDMA, is there any particular firmware version, i should choose?. Thanks for clearing this doubt.

  2. Andrew says:

    Hi,
    Another fix for this is not to update the iOS device that you’re trying to upgrade but to restore it instead. This gets around the error but of course wipes your device in the process, so make sure you do a backup first.

    Once iOS5 was on my device, I restored the backup. Everything went fine for me with one exception, I lost the folders for some reason which was a nuisance but otherwise everything else was ok.

    Hope this helps.

  3. Jopi Bakir says:

    If u right-click on the hosts file and change the read and write priveleges you can edit it directly with TextEdit

    https://discussions.apple.com/message/15156516#15156516

    or if you are using Snow leopard you can do this:

    sudo /Applications/TextEdit.app/Contents/MacOS/TextEdit /etc/hosts

  4. Daniel says:

    Thanks so much! I couldn’t get iOS 5 on my iPod Touch, and I thought it was because Apple could tell I had been jailbroken before and I was therefore ineligible for an update. Didn’t know the fix was so simple! Thanks again.

  5. Christian says:

    Thank you!!! So much!! only solution I could find that worked!!

  6. Amin says:

    Hi
    I did everything that you said BUT i still get the error.
    I have an iPhone 4 with ios4.3.5, bb 4.10.01 and want to upgrade it to ios5 with a custom ipsw.

  7. Bastian says:

    hi there,
    unfortunately have the same problem than Amin. Don’t know what to do, tried all the stuff. have the same configuration as him. used redsn0w 09.9b8 to create custom fw. have a mac

  8. Bastian says:

    iTnes 10.5.1 is installed

  9. DSSK says:

    thanks a bunch!

  10. Prankerio says:

    WooHooo!
    Thanks a lot! This helps me a lot!
    Surely works!

    I edit the host file manually by copy the host file to desktop and then edit. Delete the original host file (move to trash) and then copy the edited host file from desktop into the /etc folder!

  11. Marcio Andrade says:

    Hi Pal,
    I did all the steps, but keep receiving the same error message. In my case I want to downgrade from 5.0 to 4.3.2 GSM.
    There is anything that you might help me out?

  12. Daniel says:

    Dear MAT,

    Did all the options you gave, still getting the same problem. any other thing i can try? i have 4.3.3 on my iPHone, but it is crashing a lot and i wanted to fresh install, and that is why i am doing thing. any other idea i might try??

    thanks,

    dan

  13. Rick says:

    Thanks a lot. I had to go all the way to tiny umbrella, but it worked first try. Thanks Again, I’ve been trying to fix this for days.

  14. amitefrat1 says:

    thanks you. you save my iPhone

  15. Andrew Rodriguez says:

    Worked awesome, thanks! I tried a lot of other solutions but this one is the only one that worked for me. (obviously)

  16. BigT says:

    very informative. Nice touch with the TinyUmbrella information

  17. dduncombe says:

    Thanks! Tiny Umbrella worked liked a charm!

  18. paddlehappy says:

    Worked like a charm with the TinyUmbrella option .
    I had my iPhone 4 in IOS 5.0 , did a jailbreak before upgrading to 5.01 then got stuck on the ” Unable to upgrade …. ” .
    thanks a bunch ..

  19. abanium says:

    Cheers, thanks!

  20. David says:

    Thank you so much! I’ve been looking and trying for over 2 hours to find a way to restore my iPod and I just found it here!

  21. Mark says:

    Thank You a lot!

  22. Emily says:

    Hey, I actually did all the steps above, but it still appears the same error. I want to restore my ios 4.3.5 and my current ios is 4.3.5. Any idea how to solve this?

  23. Micheal says:

    Have the same issue as Marcio. Trying to Downgrade from 5.0 to 4.3.5 GSM.

    A few sites give you instructions that basically includes downgrading to itunes 10.4 and restoring with 4.3.5 ipsw.
    I’ve tried everything it says here, plus.. Nothing works!

    Is there a solution? or am i wasting my time trying to downgrade to 4.3.5 in the first place?

    • Sid says:

      Having the same problem as Micheal and Marcio. Can’t seem to downgrade from 5.0 to anything below.

      Does anyone now of a way around this?
      Thanks

  24. Elan says:

    Thanks for the guide, all I had to do was use tiny umbrella and uncheck the box and it worked perfectly!

  25. Edward says:

    Thanks for the info about the TinyUmbrella settimgs. After I changed the settings, I was able to restore my iPhone 4 again.

  26. Lorie says:

    Bless you!!! Nothing else worked but this did. I was worried that all my stuff would be lost when it restored, but it was all there. THANK YOU!!!

  27. Felipe says:

    Funcionou! Valeu!

  28. macUser says:

    wow it works for me, thanks

  29. Albert says:

    Thanks for this, the method did a restore not an update wiping all my pictures, but that was my fault for not backing up. Over all the method worked!
    Thanks for the info.

  30. Edgar says:

    NEED SOME HELP PLEASE!

    I wanted to upgrade mi ipod 4g from 4.2.1 (jailbroken) to 5.0.1 and then jailbreak, but I jailbroke with redsn0w without restore the right firmware (forgot it :/), I downloaded the right firmware to restore and followed all the steps, but still having the same thing “this device isn’t eligible”.

    Please help me :(

  31. PetP says:

    have same problem with my iPhone (3GS, iOS 4.3.4) like Edgar

  32. Cam says:

    i love you.

  33. koi says:

    everything listed on this site worked thanks i had a bricked iPhone and this worked not jailbroken but its restored at least

  34. Regi says:

    Glad that this has worked for me, by using tinyumbrella. Thanks buddy!

  35. JOE says:

    Superb! works at the first try…. After a week trying to search for help, my ipad 2 problem solved here…. Thanks alot to osxdaily…

    Regards,

  36. Levi says:

    Thank you soooo much!!! That works like a charm! (The Tiny Umbrella way)

  37. Perceptor says:

    You are wonderful… THANK YOU!

  38. maria says:

    same problem as edgar! please HELP

  39. Gil says:

    Same problem here! I did carefully all the steps, tried on different computers, even with different internet connection, still getting the “isn’t eligible” message!

    It’s an iPhone 4 running iOS 4.3.3 and I want to restore it to the very same version. No dice. PLEASE HELP!!!

  40. Steve says:

    thank you so much.

  41. Christian W says:

    thanks man, this is the best way to solve my problem :D

  42. dan says:

    thanks! I never comment, but this really helped a lot!!

  43. Chris says:

    Thanks a bunch, this really worked!

  44. Joe says:

    Thanks so much. It resolve my problem (jailbroken 3GS unable to restore to factory setting & update to latest iOS) which I’ve being trying to figure out for hours.

  45. LEINAC says:

    thank soo much… i fixed my iphone!! :)))))

  46. Carlos says:

    Worked perfectly. Tks!!!

  47. hellios says:

    thanks a lot budddy.. the trick worked fine.

  48. djego says:

    Thanks a lot! it’s work for my iphone4

  49. Bryan says:

    Worked like a charm. Cant tell you how frustrated I was because I couldn’t update to IOS 6. Thanks. The site below has some info on how to actually edit your host file

    http://osxdaily.com/2012/08/07/edit-hosts-file-mac-os-x/

  50. Paul says:

    I just tried this today and didn’t have any luck. I’ve managed to download the ipsw file but then it runs into problems when contacting Apple to verify the software. Has anyone managed this since September 20?

  51. sh says:

    Thanks so much! :)

  52. Max says:

    Hello. I’m on 4.3.3 and I want to upgrade to 5.1.1 on a 3gs jailbroken iPhone. When trying to restore in dfu mode, I get ‘error 3014′. I the edit my hosts file and ADD the gs.apple.com line. Go back to iTunes, try to restore, but then I get the ‘requested build’ error. What can I do? I’m stuck in a loophole. Please help.

  53. Paulisha says:

    I have an iPod 4th Gen which I updated to IOS6. I’m trying to downgrade back to IOS5.1.1. but I keep getting this error. None of these solutions worked. Please help!

  54. Juan T. says:

    Thank you so much. Had to do the dscacheutil -flushcache for it to work.

  55. Brandon says:

    First I made sure my host file was correct. I used Gas Mask for that. Then I Deleted Cydia. Then deleted any apps installed after Cydia. Then the restore worked in itunes. Took me a week to figure it out. Good luck.

  56. Rohan says:

    I dont have the line, “74.208.10.249 gs.apple.com” in my host file, what can i do.. I am getting the message “iphone could not be restore” Please help me out . thanks

  57. Rohan says:

    I dont have the line, “74.208.10.249 gs.apple.com” in my host file, what can i do.. I am getting the message “iphone could not be restore” Please help me out . thanks

  58. Shotan723 says:

    Wow thanks!!!

  59. kirke says:

    My Hosts file shows the below info , with no IP address shown.
    any thoughts?

    ##
    # Host Database
    #
    # localhost is used to configure the loopback interface
    # when the system is booting. Do not change this entry.
    ##
    127.0.0.1 localhost
    255.255.255.255 broadcasthost
    ::1 localhost
    fe80::1%lo0 localhost

    • jen says:

      any chance u found a solution. my ipod does the exact same thing

    • Tyrrell McAllister says:

      I had this exact problem. In my case, the cause was that I was logged in as a non-Administrator user. When I logged in as an Administrator, the expected lines showed up in my hosts file *with* the # sign in front. Then I followed Deeptesh’s instructions in the comments below, and everything worked.

  60. i says:

    Fantastic explaination.. works like a charm. Thanks!!

  61. elias says:

    what if i dont have in the “hosts” file , this last line “74.208.10.249 gs.apple.com” , what should i do ?!

  62. LJ says:

    BY FAR THE BEST ADVICE EVER YOU JUST HELPED ME FIX MY PHONE AND IVE BEEN TRYING FOR 2 DAYS NOW!!! WILL DEF SHARE YOURE ADVICE!!!

  63. Socorro says:

    I followed the steps carefully… However, I keep on receiving the same error, I tried the manual option and the Tiny Umbrella…
    Please, help!!!

  64. Desperate says:

    Miracles do happen! Thank you so much! This was the only thing that would fix my 4s! I was so worried I was going to be without a phone for days…I was even able to restore my backup! Thank you so much!

  65. Anand says:

    This saved my life. Thank you so much!

    Went to an Apple Store today and they told me they couldn’t help me because of the fact that my iPad was jailbroken. How lame is that?! Well, thanks to this tutorial anyone can be a freakin’ Genius.

    Many thanks!

  66. Deeptesh says:

    I found the possible solution for all those that tried all the suggested methods and did not work. After a long struggle, I found a video on You Tube and tried it as follows:
    In the hosts file, go to the line ’74.208.10.249 gs.apple.com’, DO NOT put a # in front. Instead DELETE the ‘gs.apple.com’ part only.
    If you have a line with ’127.0.0.1 gs.apple.com’, DELETE this entire line completely.

    After days of struggling, I did this and it restored immediately. I was updating a JB iOS 5.1.1 on iPhone 4 to a fresh iOS 6.0.1 install.

  67. danneskjold says:

    I tried everything here but I’m still getting the same error message.

    I have a 3GS with baseband 04.26.08, running 5.1.1, achieved via pwnagetool. I’m giving my phone to someone and just want to restore it fresh. I’m attempting to simply restore from the custom ipsw that I originally used to get 5.1.1 on this phone.

    I even tried Deeptesh’s recommendation, but to no avail.

    Any ideas? Or maybe there’s a better way to wipe the device while keeping the jailbreak (and the ultrasnow unlock, which is the only reason I jailbroke it in the first place).

    P.S. I’m on a mac.

  68. Mr.P says:

    Hi there, plz help,

    Does this work on 4s ios 6.0.1 restore to 5.1.1?

    i upgraded my 4s w/o saving shsh blobs (i actually used tinyumbrella unchecked “request shsh from cydia”, but it did not save the shsh, it only saved .cache and known_devices) now i am stuck with 4s 6.0.1 trying to downgrade to 5.1.1, gives me the “isn’t eligible” error.

    i’ve tried advanced editing method, but not flush DNS yet

    i need your advice!!

    thx
    Mr.P

  69. Mohamed says:

    The advanced step worked like champ…. Finally i fixed my customers computer after 2hrs.. Great!!!!!

  70. Essa Reyan says:

    Hello there ,
    I know that you already have a lot of people thanking you for this and mine doesn’t matter
    But thank you
    My phone is fixed :D

  71. MOJO says:

    This is magical! Thank you very much!!!

  72. james says:

    Thanks. Worked for me!

  73. Neg says:

    i have iphone4 and i want to upgrade to 6.1 I
    I downloaded tiny-umbrella on my macpro but when I open it. it opens and disappear. i cant do anything with it !!!
    and i can not find any folder related to Hosts in my library too. i have snow leopard and iphone 4.3.2

  74. Robert says:

    Did not work. Same error. I followed all steps.

    • Robert says:

      ahh… so, after manually editing host, one should use the normal restore (and update), not the option+restore. it DOES work after all!!
      thanks for the post, and providing multiple options!

  75. aslan says:

    i am using mac
    i downloaded ios6.1.2 for my iphone 4s
    i did everything as it was said using terminal but i got the same error
    then tried to used the software u suggested but the box said to uncheck was already unchecked and i could;t check or uncheck it
    any help please ????

  76. doodman says:

    i’m getting the same error. i did all steps as well.

  77. Jimbo says:

    Please help! tried everything but still “This device isn’t eligible for the requested build” error !!!
    iTunes 11.0.2 and osx 10.8.3 are up to date, HandsOff is tmp disabled, hosts file has the # before the “74.208.10.249 gs.apple.com” line , only the iPhone is connected and i did a fresh reboot – but i still get the eligible-error after iTunes has checked the ipsw file, it has loaded after pressing alt+update.

    Is there no one with an idea how to come from 6.0 to a jailbroken 6.1.2 ???

    Apple just says “only current ios is supported” but there must be a way. e.g. how will a developer support its software for compatibility with earlier release …

  78. masterGie says:

    You should upgrade to iOS 6.1.3.
    i have the same problem.
    just download iphone 4s firmware ios 6.1.3, go to itunes, then restore. (hold option if u use mac, and shift if u use wins, then click restore. select the firmware that u download before, and it should running perfectly).

  79. Thanks for the help! Did the manual edit of the hosts file and that did it. No clue why all of a sudden this error started popping up — updates worked fine until now, and never jailbroke my iPad or anything.

    Erik

  80. dom says:

    i have had to restore my iPhone 5 as my friends changed my password but i have the right firmware iOS and i have the newest iTunes but i am still getting “This device isn’t eligible for the requested build” i have a mac so i went into manually edit host and i don’t have the line 74.208.10.249 gs.apple.com at all..??

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