What Causes It and 8 Fixes

What Causes It and 8 Fixes

Person's hand holding an iPhone with a Lightning cable, and more cables in the background.
Hannah Stryker / How-to-Geek

Error 4013 is often caused by a hardware problem, but can be due to software on the Mac or PC side. Try updating, restarting, replacing the cable and cleaning your charging port. Trying the recovery process on another computer can help, as can a visit to Apple or some DIY repairs.

iPhone error 4013 can ruin your whole day by preventing you from restoring your device. The cause could be due to a range of issues, from the device itself to your charging cable, computer or a software bug. Here are some things you can try to fix it.

What is iPhone error 4013?

Error 4013 can affect the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and pops up as a pop-up error when you try to restore your device using a Mac or Windows PC. You will see a message like:

The iPhone 'name' could not be restored. An unknown error occurred (4013).

This particular error code refers to a generic hardware error, but others like 9, 4005 and 4014 can occur in the same way. Even if the problem is related to a hardware problem, there are some simple things you can try before getting your hands dirty or paying for a repair.

Update macOS or iTunes

The first thing you should try when you see the iPhone error 4013 is to update macOS (ideally to the latest version of the latest version) or iTunes if you use Windows. You can install outstanding software updates in macOS Ventura or later under System Settings > General > Software Update. On earlier versions, this option will appear under System Preferences > Software Update instead.

Update macOS to the latest version

If macOS Software Update notifies you that a new version of macOS is available (typified by a new major version number, ie “macOS 13.0”), then consider applying the update unless you have good reason not to to avoid. On Windows, you can update iTunes by opening the application and clicking Help > Check for Updates.

Force restart your iPhone or iPad

The next step to fix error 3014 is to restart your iPhone or iPad (or even iPod touch). The instructions for doing this will vary depending on which device you own.

On an iPhone 8 or later (including the iPhone X) or an iPad model without a home button: press and release the volume up button, press and release the volume down button, then press and hold the side button (iPhone) or “top” button (iPad) until it restarts.

Force restart an iPhone by pressing volume up, then volume down, then holding the side button.

On an iPhone 7 or seventh-generation iPod touch, press and hold the volume up and side button until you see the Apple logo, indicating that the device is restarting. On older iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch models with a Home button (not listed above), press and hold both the Home and Side (or Top) buttons until you see the Apple logo.

RELATED: Having a strange iPhone problem? Recharge it!

Connect your device to your Mac or PC and try again

After updating and rebooting your devices completely, it’s time to try recovery again. Connect your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to your computer with a (preferably first-party, undamaged) cable. Now try to start the process again.

If you just want to update the software on your device without losing data, make sure to click Update instead of Restore. If you’ve already tried to restore your device, it doesn’t matter that much. Clicking “Restore” will reinstall everything on the device and require you to either set it up as new or restore from iCloud or use a local backup.

Change the USB cable or clean your port

If you’re still getting the 4013 error, try swapping the USB cable you’re using. The error may be the result of a problem with the connection between your iPhone and computer. In some cases, these kinds of problems are caused by faulty cables. Cables that show obvious signs of damage, such as frayed or cracked connections, should be discarded. In many cases it’s not even worth repairing them, so get a new cable instead.

Another possible cause of an “iPhone could not be restored” error could be a dirty charging port. This can mimic the effects of a damaged cable, so be sure to carefully check and clean your iPhone’s charging port from time to time. Just because your iPhone charges normally doesn’t rule out this problem (since not all pins are used for power, some are specifically used for data).

Clean an iPhone's Lightning port with a toothpick
Tim Brookes / How-To-Geek

Consider trying again with another Mac or PC

If you have another device that you can use to try to restore your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, give it a shot to fix error 4013. It’s more likely that the device (rather than your Mac or Windows computer) is to blame, but you should rule everything out.

This could be a spare Mac or PC you own, something borrowed from a friend, or a computer provided by work or school.

Take your iPhone to Apple

If your device is still under warranty and you’ve ruled out issues like the USB cable, source computer, and software updates, take your iPhone to Apple and let them sort out what’s causing iPhone error 4013 for you. They will either offer to replace or repair your device depending on what the cause of the problem is. If the problem is caused by physical damage you’ve caused, AppleCare+ should cover you in most cases for a fee of $99.

If your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch is out of warranty (you’ll see a “Coverage Expired” notice under Settings > General > More About), you can still take it to Apple and ask them what’s going on. Apple can try to repair it for you in the store for free. Otherwise, you’ll get a repair estimate before you proceed with any work, so you won’t be out of pocket unless you authorize a fix.

Inside of an Apple store

Alternatively, you can go to an Apple Authorized Service Center. Both appointments can be made using the Apple Support website.

The other option you have is to go to a non-authorized repair center that may be able to fix the problem for less than Apple or one of its partners. You’ll have to use your best judgment to decide whether or not the “risk” is worth it in this case, so be sure to check the web for reviews.

Consider a DIY solution for error 4013

According to several Reddit threads (specifically this one and this one ), the iPhone error 4013 issue is common on the iPhone X due to the Face ID and front ear sensors. Some suggest unplugging it using this iFixit guide to “Update” the firmware with a Mac or PC, ideal if your data is being held hostage on the phone.

If the phone starts as normal with the ear sensor disconnected but bootloop connected to it, you can try replacing this part (with an extra one like this one on the iFixit store) for a permanent fix.

This kind of repair won’t be for everyone (and there’s no guarantee of a fix), but if your device is old and you have (or want) some experience poking around inside an iPhone, it might be worth a try.

Fix your other iPhone problems

Many iPhone issues take some work to fix, from apps that repeatedly crash to devices that won’t turn on, vague errors about your device being “unavailable,” and devices that get stuck on the Apple logo.

RELATED: iPhone notifications not working? 8 Corrections

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