Resolving an iTunes “iPhone Software Update Server Could Not Be Contacted” Error Message When Updating iOS
Some iPhone and iPad users who went to update to the latest version of iOS using iTunes may have discovered an error message saying the following: “The iPhone Software Update Server Could Not Be Contacted. Make sure your network settings are correct and your network connection is active, or try again later.”
While sometimes this error message appears because of local networking issues, and you’ll certainly want to be sure you’re connected to the internet, it’s more often a sign that Apple iOS update servers are overwhelmed by requests. As the error message suggests, simply delaying to “try again later” typically resolves the problem and allows the iTunes based update to function as intended.
This means you have four basic choices to get the iOS update to kick off, some of which still use iTunes to update the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, and the other which uses the familiar OTA update mechanism.
- Quit & Relaunch iTunes, Then Try Again – quitting and relaunching iTunes to try again often works, you may want to try that first
- Wait a While – simply waiting it out and then trying again almost always works, this is recommended if you can be patient, as the issues resolve themselves when requests to Apple iOS update servers settle down
- Use OTA Update – the on-device delta update mechanism is available on the iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch through Settings > General > Software Update
- Use Firmware – pre-downloading the proper IPSW firmware file will get around the failed update server connection, then you can update manually with that firmware file. If you go this route, you can always find the latest IPSW firmware here, look for the appropriate version number and match it up to your device
For most users, simply having patience or going with the OTA Software Update mechanism is preferable and very easy, though the latter is sometimes impossible to update due to storage constraints, and the iTunes approach becomes a necessity.