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How to Fix iTunes Sync Error 54 on Windows and Mac

Updated by Cedric on Feb 22, 2023
Written by Tracy King
 | Home > iPhone Data Recovery


Meet iTunes error 54 on your computer? If you do, don't feel frustrated. This guide will provide all possible solutions to fix it with ease.

"After the recent iTunes upgrade on my Windows 10 computer, iTunes always report me an error says "The iPhone cannot be synced. An unknown error occurred (-54)" while syncing my iPhone in iTunes. How to fix it?"

-- A Question from the Apple Community

When you sync your iPhone/ iPad/ iPod touch with iTunes, you might see an alert message that says: "The iPhone [device name] cannot be synced. An unknown error occurred (-54)." Usually, this issue can be addressed by restarting your iPhone and computer. But if a restart doesn't work, you'll need some further solutions offered in this guide to fix it. Before that, you can briefly learn about iTunes error 54 if you're interested in this issue.

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
1. Consolidate iTunes Library Files The iTunes media library contains all the music, movies, and videos you purchased...Full steps
2. Sync Less Files at a Time This error also occurs when you synchronize too much content at once, so you can...Full steps
3. Check Third-Party Software Some third-party software, or security software, can influence the sync process...Full steps
4. Delete and Re-Download Content Besides, error 54 is also likely to happen with iTunes Store. If this is the cause of...Full steps
5. More Solutions Deleted PDF files before synchronization > change permissions > sync data to PC..Full steps

What Is iTunes Error 54?

iTunes error 54 is a permission error that often happens when you try to sync files with the computer, which is locked or when your computer is not authorized to access iTunes files or contents. Apart from error 54, other unknown iTunes errors like error 0xE8000015, error 3194, and error 3150 are also very common. In this guide, we will mainly focus on iTunes error 54 and its troubleshooting tips.

iTunes error 54

7 Solutions to Fix iTunes Error 54

If you wish to fix iTunes error 54, try the solutions below. If none of the regular solutions works to help you out, you can use an iTunes alternative to sync your iPhone data or manage your files instead.

1. Consolidate the iTunes Library Media Files

The iTunes media library contains all the music, movies, and videos you purchased or imported from your device that might be stored in several locations. You can consolidate all the media contents in one folder to reduce the probability of errors. Here's how: Open iTunes on your Windows or Mac, go to "File" > "Library" > "Consolidate Files" > click "OK."

iTunes error 54

2. Sync a Small Amount of File at a Time

This error also occurs when you synchronize too much content at once, so you can sync only a small amount of content at a time and increase the amount slowly until you see the error again. In that way, you can identify the file that causes the problem.

3. Check the Third-Party/Security Software

Some third-party software, or security software, can influence the sync process when you use iTunes. You can try to close the security software or change its setup to fix the issue.

4.  Delete and Re-Download/Re-Import Content

Besides, error 54 is also likely to happen with iTunes Store. If this is the cause of iTunes error 54, you can try to remove and then re-download the content. If the file is that you import from other sources, you can remove and re-import it. 

5. Deleted PDF Files Before Syncing with iTunes

This error may also appear when you try to transfer iTunes purchases from your device to your computer or sync with Apple Books. Since iTunes can't read the PDF, you'd better transfer your PDF from iPhone/iPad to computer, then remove them, finally use iTunes to sync again. 

6. Change Permissions of iTunes

Since error 54 is a permission error, you can fix it by changing the permissions of your iTunes folder or original files/folders. Here's how: Open Windows Explorer > go to "Music" folder > right-click "iTunes" folder > Properties > Uncheck "Read Only."

7. Sync iPhone Data to Computer with an iTunes Alternative

As we all know that iTunes error 54 might occur when you sync your iDevice to the computer. This error is very common. Once it occurs, you have to spend a lot of time and energy to fix it. If you're lucky enough to find a workable solution, you can get rid of this problem easily. But if you're out of luck, none of the solutions works to help, you may have to use the iTunes alternative to manage your files.

There are many iTunes alternatives in the market for you to choose from, here we mainly introduce one of the best iTunes alternatives for iPhone - EaseUS MobiMover. As a professional iPhone data transfer tool, EaseUS MobiMover has many functions that iTunes don't have, such as:

  • Transfer data from an iPhone to a computer, or vice versa
  • Move data between two iPhones
  • Back up & restore data on iPhone
  • Manage WhatsApp data on your iPhone
  • Download videos from Twitch, Twitter, Facebook, and other websites.

To sync iPhone data to the computer, you can:

Step 1. Connect your iPhone or iPad to your computer with a USB cable. Tap "Trust This Computer" on the device screen if a pop-up asks. Run EaseUS MobiMover on your computer, and select the "Phone to PC" to help you sync iDevice data to the computer. Click "Next" to continue.

how to sync files from iPhone/iPad to the computer - step 1

Step 2. As MobiMover has loaded all the data on your iDevice, you can start the transfer directly. Before that, you can set the storage path for the synced files of the iPhone/iPad. Otherwise, MobiMover will export the data to the desktop. Now choose the desired data categories and then click "Transfer".

how to sync files from iPhone/iPad to the computer - step 2

Step 3. Wait patiently until all the selected files are successfully synced from your iDevice to your computer. Please don't disconnect your device while transferring. After that, you can browse, edit and change the location for the newly added content.

how to sync files from iPhone/iPad to the computer - step 3

Bonus Tip. How to Recover Lost Data on iPhone

Some approaches above require you to remove files to fix the error. If anything goes wrong during the deletion process, don't panic, you have this iPhone data recovery tool - EaseUS MobiSaver to help you recover unlimited data deleted on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch in three steps.

To recover deleted data from iPhone:

Step 1. Run EaseUS MobiSaver

First, download EaseUS MobiSaver > Connect your iPhone/iPad to your computer > Start EaseUS MobiSaver > Select "Recover from iTunes Backup" > Select an iTunes backup.

Recover Data from iTunes1

Step 2. Unlock iTunes

If this iTunes backup is encrypted, you need to enter the password to unlock it. After entering the password, click the "Continue" button. EaseUS MobiSaver will automatically scan your backup file to find the lost data.

Recover Data from iTunes2

Step 3. Preview and Recover Data from iTunes

After the scanning, preview the detailed contents of your lost photos/videos, contacts/messages, notes, SNS data. Choose the file and click the "Recover" button to save them on your computer.

Recover Data from iTunes3

In Conclusion

That's all about how to fix iTunes error 54. If you encounter this error, don't hesitate to use the solutions we offered in this guide to fix it with ease. If, unfortunately, data loss happens while fixing this problem, don't worry. The bonus tip can help you recover deleted or lost data from your iPhone. 

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