Fix Error 3194 from iTunes During iPhone Restore
Error 3194 in iTunes will usually prevent an iPhone, iPad, or iPod from being able to successfully restore. Typically Error 3194 will show up when iTunes is not able to communicate with Apple servers.
If you run into Error 3194 in iTunes when trying to restore your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you might be able to fix it by addressing some connectivity issues. There are also some unique situations where Error 3194 seems to be triggered when unsigned or expired firmware is used, often during an iOS downgrade or upgrade, jailbreak attempt, or even during some restores.
If you experience the error on your iOS device, read on for some troubleshooting advice so that iTunes will function with the restore or iOS update as intended. This applies to all versions of iTunes on both Mac and Windows PC, and we’ll cover a variety of troubleshooting tricks aimed at fixing this issue.
How to Fix Error 3194 in iTunes
iTunes Error 3194, Error 17, Error 1639, Error 3000, Error 3100, and similar errors are typically the result of iTunes not being able to contact the update server from Apple. Try the following tips to resolve the error message.
Confirm Internet Connectivity
First, verify that the computer running iTunes has an active internet connection and is able to access the outside world.
Sometimes restarting the computer as well as the router / modem can resolve connectivity issues.
Confirm Nothing is Blocking Connections
Next you’ll want to make sure that any router, firewall, security software, anti-virus, or other similar software is not actively blocking domains and access to Apple servers.
An easy way to test this is to disable those types of filtering and see if iTunes can restore the iPhone or iPad as expected.
Wait a Few Minutes and Try Again
Sometimes there is a blip in internet connectivity, and simply waiting a few minutes and trying again later can resolve the issue on its own. This is particularly true if the error seemingly came out of nowhere.
Try Another Computer with iTunes
If you have access to another computer, Mac or PC, try using that computer with iTunes to see if it works to restore the device. If it does, it’s likely that the other computer is having a problem connecting to Apple servers.
Verify Nothing is Blocking Hosts Domains Which Can Cause Error 3194
If you still encounter the 3194 error, or you find another iTunes error, go into the computer hosts file and place # (pound sign) in front of any IP addresses that reference ‘gs.apple.com’, thereby preventing their association. If you see an IP in front of the gs.apple.com domain it may be placed there from another application (often related to jalibreaking or modifying iOS software) and this can block the ability for iTunes to connect to Apple servers, which prevents a restore.
This may look something like the following:
Save the hosts file and try to restore the iOS device again.
Flushing DNS cache is sometimes necessary after modifying the hosts file on a Mac or Windows PC.
Each IP rule with a # in front of it becomes voided. You can also delete the IP’s and their associated domains, but that isn’t entirely necessary.
If you’re having trouble figuring out the whole hosts file situation, click here for a walkthrough on the process, demonstrating how to make changes to hosts and how to make those changes take effect if they are not instantly recognized by the OS.
How to Fix Error 3194 if Jailbreaking
If you see Error 3194 and you happen to be jailbreaking (or attempting to) the device, then it may be fixed by temporarily blocking Apple’s firmware signing services. This usually only applies to older iOS versions with older jailbreaks, but nonetheless we’ll maintain this for posterity.
The fix is the same regardless of what operating system you are using:
- Quit iTunes
- Locate your hosts file, in Mac OS X it is located at /etc/hosts and in Windows it is located at c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts
- Open the hosts file with Administrator privileges
- Add the following lines to the very bottom of the hosts file and save the change:
- Connect your iPhone to the computer
- Launch iTunes
- Put the iPhone/iPad/iPod into DFU mode by turning the phone off and then holding down the sleep and power button for 10 seconds, then release the power button but hold onto the home button until iTunes tells you that the device is now in recover mode
- Use the iTunes Restore feature as usual with the iOS device
You may need to flush your DNS cache for the change to take effect, though usually just quitting and relaunching iTunes is sufficient to get the app to recognize the change.
Once your iOS update is finished, go back to the hosts file and remove the “188.8.131.52 gs.apple.com” line again so that iTunes can properly update as usual. This is an essential step otherwise you may encounter future errors when trying to update or install iOS versions.
For those who want to know, the IP address being temporarily used and re-associating gs.apple.com with is saurik’s (of Cydia fame) signing server.
Note that iTunes Error 3194 can also happen sometimes if the wrong firmware version is used, and you will see an error message like “This device isn’t eligible for the requested build”, which is why it’s necessary to always use the appropriate firmware files for your device if you are performing manual updates. Or better yet, just let iTunes or iOS update itself without trying to use the firmware files manually.
If you need them, you can get the latest versions of iPhone and iPad firmware as IPSW files here, all firmware comes directly from Apple. Keep in mind that the signing window for downgrading iOS versions has shrank dramatically, and without a history of storing SHSH blobs there is no way to revert back to prior versions of iOS once that happens. In that case, no amount of tweaking hosts or adjusting IP’s is going to make a difference to restore to older IPSW, and thus you would have to either keep the current iOS version or opt to upgrade to a newer version to escape the 3194 error.
Why does error 3194 happen when users are trying to jailbreak?
If the 3194 error is encountered related to jailbreaking, it’s likely because at some point in time, they used a jailbreak utility to modify their iOS device, and in that process of modification the jailbreak tweak modified the hosts file thereby blocking Apple’s servers. Initially that’s not a problem, but it can trigger the error when iOS is later attempted to be updated to a new version, restored from a backup, or modified. Most modern jailbreak apps will make the necessary changes to prevent the error from ever being triggered, but that isn’t always the case.
In more rare occurrences, Error 3194 can happen when there is an unrelated connectivity problem between the client and host server during an iOS upgrade or restore. In those cases, usually attempting again in another minute or two will let the issue sort itself out and things will be working again as usual.
Thank you to Parakeet for providing this fix.
Updated on 6/19/2019 and 1/4/2015