iPhone not appearing in iTunes (error 18)

by benl

I’ve had a few issues with the phone today: namely the thing isn’t being recognised by iTunes, plus my music and videos have mysteriously disappeared from the iPhone itself.

Upon trying to restore the iPhone from a backup in iTunes I got the dreaded message:

The iPhone “iPhone” could not be restored. An unknown error occurred (-18)

Luckily after a bit of jiggery-pokery I managed to get it functioning as normal with all data and settings restored following these steps:

  • On the iPhone, go into Settings > General and do a full delete of settings and data
  • Hard-reset the iPhone by holding the power key and the home key until the Apple logo appears
  • Plug back into iTunes
  • iTunes recognises the iPhone and offers to set it up fresh or perform a restore. Pick restore
  • Bingo!

Phew got a bit worried there for a moment. Hopefully this might help someone in the future!