Troubleshooting iTunes error 54 – Unknown sync error

If you encounter the message “Unable to sync iPhone [device name]”. An “unknown error (-54)” has occurred while syncing with iTunes on Windows 10 or Mac. You can solve this problem by consolidating media files in your iTunes library, checking a third-party security issue, syncing a small amount of content at a time, etc. If all these basic solutions fail, you can always use a third-party application to back up all iPhone content without iTunes.

When using iTunes to backup or sync your iPhone, iPad, iPod, you may encounter many unexpected errors, such as iTunes error 0xE8000015, error 3194 or iPhone backup error, corrupt or incompatible. In addition to these problems, there is another annoying problem, which is the inability to sync iPhone caused by iTunes sync 54 error, which occurs in Windows 10 and Mac users. This page discusses this error and talks about possible ways to fix it. Meanwhile, a simple and free iPhone data transfer utility can help you sync iOS files to your computer without iTunes when basic solutions don’t work.

When trying to sync iPhone/iPad/iPod touch with iTunes, you may get a warning message “Unable to sync iPhone [device name]”. An unknown error has occurred (-54).

The iTunes 54 error appears when the file is locked on your computer or iPhone, or it is a permission error on your computer or iOS device. In most cases, the content is not synced when the problem occurs.

You can try rebooting your computer and iOS device to fix the problem. If that doesn’t help, don’t worry. You can solve the problem with the solutions below. But before you do that, make sure you have the latest version of iTunes and the latest software updates for your device.

What is the cause of error 54 from iTunes – Unknown sync error

What is the cause of error 54 from iTunes - Unknown sync error

  • You are not using the latest version of iTunes: once your iTunes app is out of date, you will get errors like iTunes Error 54-Unknown Sync Error.
  • Deleted iTunes app files: In most cases, this happens when there are malware and viruses on your device, or you have accidentally deleted some files from your apps folder, which is very rare.
  • Damaged iTunes files: This can also happen due to a virus or update error.
  • Updating and updating iOS: This happens mostly for iPhone users, after updating your device, you will find that you cannot sync your device and you will get error 54-Error Sync.

Here’s how to fix error 54 – Unknown Sync Error – from iTunes

Here's how to fix error 54 - Unknown Sync Error - from iTunes

Reboot your device and computer

If the sync process has stopped, try rebooting your computer and iPhone device to see if that fixes the problem.

Updating iOS and iTunes

Updating iTunes and iOS can help resolve this issue. To update iTunes, open iTunes, go to the menu bar at the top of the iTunes window and click Help -> Check for Updates. Then follow the instructions and install the latest version or download it directly from here.

To update your iOS device on your iPad, iPhone, and iPod, go to Settings -> General -> Software Update. Then click Download and Install. To update, click Install.

Consolidate media from your iTunes library

The iTunes library consists of videos, movies, and music that may be stored in different locations. You can easily consolidate all of these media into one folder to reduce the risk of errors.

To do this, open iTunes on your Mac or Windows computer, then go to File -> Library -> Consolidate Files and click OK.

Try syncing a small number of files at a time

If you sync a large amount of content at one time, it may cause an error in iTunes. Try syncing a small amount of content at a time, such as photos, then contacts, then other data. This will also help determine which files are causing the problem.

Turn off the “Read Only” option in your iTunes folder

If all the above solutions don’t work, you can try this solution to solve the problem. Locate the iTunes folder in the Music folder and right-click on it. Then click Properties, uncheck the Read-Only option under Attributes, and click OK.

Make sure that iTunes is running in administrator mode

This should fix the iTunes error in Windows. To run the iTunes folder in administrator mode on Windows, right-click the iTunes icon, select Mode, and then select Run as administrator. If you are not in an administrator account, you may be prompted to enter your administrator credentials.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Consolidate your media files on your computer. The media files in the Music app or iTunes library may be stored in different locations.
  2. Check for problems with third-party security software.
  3. Synchronize a small amount of content.
  4. Delete the content and download it again.
  5. Delete content and re-import it.
  6. Remove PDFs from the sync process.

Make sure you have the latest versions of iOS, iPad, macOS, or iTunes for Windows installed on your devices. Make sure that the sync library is enabled for all of your devices. Connect all of your devices to the internet. Check the Apple system status page to see if there are any service failures in your country or region.

Make sure that you have the latest version of iTunes that is compatible with your computer. Make sure you have the latest software installed on your Mac or Windows computer. Make sure your device is turned on. If you see the "Trust this computer" warning, unlock your device and click "Trust this computer.

Go to iTunes general settings and uncheck "Show Apple Music". Later, you can restart iTunes and try to connect your device again to see if syncing has failed or not. If your iOS device is having problems, it can be fixed simply by restarting it.

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Mark Ginter is a tech blogger with a passion for all things gadgets and gizmos. A self-proclaimed "geek", Mark has been blogging about technology for over 15 years. His blog,, covers a wide range of topics including new product releases, industry news, and tips and tricks for getting the most out of your devices. If you're looking for someone who can keep you up-to-date with all the latest tech news and developments, then be sure to follow him over at Microsoft.