How to Fix iTunes Error 54 – Unknown Sync Error


This article explains how you can fix iTunes error 54 while syncing an iPhone/iPad/iPod.

The iPhone or any iOS device users use iTunes on PC/Mac for various reasons. The main purpose is taking backup, restore or sync your device. However, Sometimes, These processes may stop by showing you an unknown error like -54. Usually, During the sync process, you may see the following message-

“The iPhone [device name] cannot be synced. An unknown error occurred (-54).”

Probably, You are one of them who is looking for a way to fix iTunes error 54. If yes, you are in the right place. Here, you will know about the methods to troubleshoot this problem.

Possible Reasons Behind iTunes Sync Error 54

Sometimes, The reason behind this unknown iTunes sync error 54 may be confusing. However, In most cases, it is related to the lack of permission. It can be either from iPhone/iPad/iPod or the computer. Also, there are some other things which are also known to cause this problem.

  • Outdated version of iTunes.
  • Some important components are corrupted or missing.
  • Insufficient permission to perform the operation.

There may be other reasons which are responsible behind this problem.

How to Fix iTunes Sync Error 54

Troubleshooting this error 54 can be easy and also difficult. It mostly depends on the situation. However, here are the most effective ways to fix this iTunes sync error.

1. Restart Computer and iOS Device

Sometimes, A simple re-start can fix so many things. It may save your time. As an initial step to fix iTunes sync error 54, I suggest you to restart your computer as well as the iPhone/iPad/iPod. Then, Try again.

2. Consolidate the Library Files

It is another effective method. All of your media contents may be stored in several places. But, Consolidating them will bring them into the same folder. It will reduce the risk of getting an error. In some cases, It can be very effective to fix iTunes sync error on Windows 10. To do it, follow these steps.

consolidate files
  • At first, Open iTunes on Windows.
  • Now, Navigate to File > Library.
  • Then, Click on Consolidate Files…

3. Sync Small Amounts

Syncing a large number of contents may fail by showing you errors. So, It is safe to sync a small number of files at a time. In this way, you can easily avoid the iTunes sync error 54.

4. Update iTunes and iOS

If you still get the unknown iTunes error -54 while syncing, you can update the iOS and also the iTunes to the latest version. It is one of the most working methods to get rid of this unexpected problem. Here are the instructions.

To update iOS:

  • At first, Go to Settings > General > Software Update on your iPhone/iPad/iPod.
  • Now, It will automatically check for the latest update.
  • If you find any, tap on Download and Install and follow onscreen instructions.

To update iTunes:

For Classic iTunes-

  • At first, Open iTunes.
  • Now, Go to Help > Check for Updates.
  • It will automatically show if any update is available. If you find any, just click-on download iTunes and install the latest version.

For Windows Store version-

It is much easier to update iTunes windows store version.

  • At first, Open the Microsoft Store (Formerly known as Windows Store).
  • Then, Click on the three dots on the top right corner and choose Download and Updates.
  • Then, Click on get updates. It will automatically check for the updates for all apps.
  • Then, Update the iTunes.

After updating both iOS and iTunes, you can try to sync again. It may fix the unknown error 54 in iTunes while syncing.

5. Run iTunes as Administrator

This is another possible solution to repair iTunes error 54. You can right-click on iTunes and choose run as administrator. Then, Try to sync again. Hopefully, This time it will work.

6. Uncheck Read-Only for iTunes Folder

This is another thing that has a small chance of fixing your problem. Unchecking read-only mode can be helpful. To do it, follow these instructions.

  • At first, Go to Music folder on Windows.
  • There, You will see the iTunes Folder. Just, Right-click on it and go to its properties.
  • Then, Uncheck the read-only option and save it.

7. Get Full Access to the iTunes Folder

It is another method that may help you to fix iTunes sync error -54. As the problem may be related to the permission, taking the full access of iTunes folder on Windows may solve it. If you don’t know how to do it, follow these instructions.

  • At first, Right-click on the iTunes Folder and go to its properties.
  • Now, Go to the Security tab and click on edit.
  • Check full control and save the settings.

Now, Retry syncing. It should solve the iTunes error.

8. Try in iTunes Alternative

iMazing Screenshot

iTunes has a lot of difficulties. So, there are some decent iPhone manager software. You can use any of them. However, I can suggest you iMazing or Anytrans two well popular iTunes alternatives can take backup, sync and restore contents from iOS devices. If iTunes is constantly giving you the errors, maybe, the alternatives will work without any problem.

9. Some Additional Tips to Fix iTunes Error 54

I believe the above methods are enough to troubleshoot this sync error. However, You also can take some additional steps. Here are they-

  • Disable antivirus or firewall. Because, Sometimes, These may create the problem. Then, see if it fixes the error.
  • Consider performing a clean boot. Then, try to sync again. It will help you to understand if third-party services were creating a problem or not.
  • Delete and Re-Download/Import the contents.
  • You also can remove PDF files from sync process.

These are the most working methods to fix iTunes error 54 while syncing iPhone/iPad/iPod. If you know any better method, you can let everyone know in the comment box.

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Hasibul Kabir is the founder of TechClassy. He is a Tech Blogger, Web Developer & Hobbyist Game Developer. He loves to write on technology, mainly Windows, macOS, iOS, etc.


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