Can’t Install XCode 4.1 Because of iTunes? The Fix is to Kill iTunesHelper

Aug 2, 2011 - 28 Comments

Xcode 4.1 was made available as a free download through the Mac App Store for OS X Lion owners, but many users are encountering a strange error when they go to install the development suite; an error message pops up saying that XCode can’t be installed while iTunes is running telling you that “In order to continue installation please close iTunes” – the problem is that iTunes isn’t open when you get this error dialog.

So what’s the fix? It’s easy, open up the Terminal and type the following:

killall iTunesHelper

If you don’t feel like using the command line, you can also hunt for the process in Activity Monitor and kill it from there. Whichever method you choose, this kills the iTunesHelper process that is always running in the background and allows Xcode 4.1 to continue it’s installation in Mac OS X Lion.

I just ran into this problem while trying to install Xcode from the App Store with a fresh 10.7 installation, I would bet it’s just a bug with the installer that wasn’t fixed yet. Oh well, at least the fix is simple.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Troubleshooting


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  1. Pete says:

    Hey thanks for the help. Getting ready to take some c++ classes and needed this program… Seems like such an obvious bug that they would have fixed.

  2. bensozia says:

    Thanks a lot, this saved me from doing something, I might later have regretted, to my monitor.

  3. mabe says:

    Thank you, that was dumb.

  4. Ali says:


  5. AnthonyB says:

    Awesome. Thought I was going nowhere fast when I got that message. Thanks a bunch for a for a great solution to a potentially time-consuming problem.

  6. Troy says:

    Thank you, this totally solved the issue. You just saved me hours of heartache :D

  7. Morshed says:

    Thanks, it works perfect using the terminal.

  8. Bedomax says:

    Thank you for that line, it was perfect for me ;)

  9. John says:

    this is fuc* working

  10. Bibin says:

    yaaah its worked for mee too in Snow Leopard Thanks

  11. Anne says:

    This just worked for me in Snow Leopard! THANK YOU!

  12. Sebastopol says:


  13. mysoftds says:

    it’s work :)

  14. Murgatroyd says:

    The problem appears to be symmetrical. I just installed iTunes 10.4.1 through Software Update, and happened to be running XCode 4.1 at the time; the installer required that I close XCode before it would continue the iTunes installation.

  15. Neezio says:

    Thank you so much for this little fix. I tried force quit, opening and then closing again, and I had even tried killing the usual gamut of iTunes processes, but the Helper slipped right past me!

  16. David says:

    Still an issue, every time I try and run the installer it won’t install, says there’s an error. I installed each package separately from within the installer’s package and found that devtools was the one not installing.

  17. Jack says:

    A new update to the installer in the App Store fixes this problem. No need to re-install if fixed already. Just download the updated installer.

  18. BoduRomania says:

    4 august Lion Os same problem. Solved with activity monitor. Thank you very much

  19. Sweden says:

    Thanks, this post helped me out!

  20. Tony Baynes says:

    Thanks! Due to your concise instructions I was able to solve this problem quickly and easily. Your help is much appreciated.

    Tony Baynes

  21. Dmitry Dulepov says:

    XCode from AppStore + Lion works fine for me. Nothing crashes.

    Regarding iTunesHelper: if you get the problem that iPhone/iPad is not charging through USB after you kill iTunesHelper and install XCode, reinstall iTunes 10.4. After that i-devices charge again. It seems that the best installation order is XCode and than new iTunes.

  22. خالد الدرع says:

    After i kill the iTunesHelper the installation still tel me you must close the iTunes, The fix is quit all your system apps .

    Thanks Troubleshooting.

  23. Brent says:

    I upgraded 3 machines to Lion and then installed Xcode through the AppStore and Xcode crashes on all machines before bringing up the launchpad…

    If you are a developer depending on your computer do NOT upgrade to Lion and get Xcode from the AppStore.

    • Mireille says:

      You may have the same problem I had. The crash log indicated that a library (possibly more than one) was missing. The solution was to reinstall iTunes(!).

      • Mark says:

        Not very surprising that something that interfaces with iOS devices (iTunes) has a library that Xcode (which also interfaces with iOS devices) shares. It makes a lot of sense when iTunes is installed on every Mac.

  24. James says:

    I have come across this error EVERY TIME I download Xcode regardless of the Mac that I am on. This is clearly a bug, the installer should quit iTunes and iTunesHelper itself.

    I solved it with Activity Monitor and then I also went and stopped iTunesHelper from loading on Login through my Accounts Login Items, it’s only good for syncing iOS devices and I don’t sync anything on my work machine. Almost felt like Windows for a minute there with pointless error messages that only tech savvy people can figure out, but then again nobody else needs Xcode right.

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