With your iOS devices, you have the option to sync devices between devices and upload things from your iPhone or iPad to iTunes. iTunes also allows you to back up your iPhone so you can restore it later.

There are times when things go wrong when using iTunes and this is very common when trying to sync, back up or restore your iOS device.

When performing these tasks fail, you can get an error message that says, “iTunes could not back up/restore because a session could not be started with the iPhone.”

You can get different variations of this error message, but they all mean the same thing. Essentially, iTunes is failing to start the process with your iPhone.

The Reason you Get the Error

There are a few reasons why you get the error “a session could not be started with the iPhone,” but the main reason is that some of the files on your PC associated with iTunes and are corrupted. You’ll need to delete these files so that you can back up and restore your iPhone in iTunes.

1. Delete Lockdown Files

The lockdown folder in your Apple folder on your PC is a protected folder that contains temporary data – this is useful when transferring nonsensitive data which is mostly your syncing data. Sometimes, the files in the Lockdown folder might become corrupt, and you need to delete these files to get rid of the error in iTunes.

  1. Click the search bar on your PC.
  2. Search for %programdata% and open the folder.
  3. Open the Apple folder.delete lock down files apple
  4. Open the Lockdown folder.
  5. Delete all the files in this folder.
  6. Restart iTunes and check if you can backup your iPhone.

2. Update iTunes

If iTunes is out of date, then there may be a bug in iTunes that doesn’t allow it to backup your iPhone. Bugs are always prevalent in old software and they can cause problems if they’re not addressed. The easiest way to get rid of the bug is to update iTunes.

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Click Help at the top > Check for Updates.
  3. Follow the prompts to install the latest version. Once you’re done, you can check if you’re able to backup and restore your device on your iPhone.

3. Restart your iOS device

If you’re trying to backup your iPhone or iPad and you’re still seeing the error in iTunes, you can try and restart your iPhone. The problem is most likely coming from iTunes itself but if you’ve tried the iTunes solutions, then you can try trouble shooting your iPhone.

Restarting your iOS device allows you to get rid of any software problem that could be causing it to fail when you’re trying to back it up to iTunes. There are better ways you can troubleshoot your iPhone, but the easier way to try first is to restart it.

4. Use a Different USB Cable

If you’re connecting your iPhone or iPad to your Windows PC and you’re using a faulty cable, this could be responsible for the error. When connecting your device to your PC, you need to have an Apple certified cable to have a good connection.

If you recently bought a new Apple cable and it wasn’t from Apple, then it’s likely that this cable is faulty and therefore, won’t establish a good connection when you try and connect your device to iTunes.

Once you’ve switched cable, you can go back to iTunes to check if you’re able to back up your device.

5. Force Restart your iPhone

Another good way to troubleshoot your iPhone for the problem is to force restart your iPhone. A force restart is a more aggressive way or restarting your iPhone and it can help troubleshooting problems.

If you have an iPhone 7 or above:

  1. Press the sleep/wake key.
  2. Press and hold the volume down key.
  3. Wait for the Apple logo to appear.

If you have an iPhone X or 8:

  1. Quickly press the release the volume up button.
  2. Quickly press the release the volume down button.
  3. Press and hold the Power button until you see the Apple logo.

6. Turn off your Firewall

Firewalls are known to cause a lot of problems on PCs even though their purpose is to protect PCs from malware. Sometimes they can see things on your PC as a threat and this can cause a lot of error when connecting your iPhone to iTunes.

  1. Open the Control Panel.
  2. Click on Windows Firewall.Turn off firewalls Windows
  3. Click on Turn Windows Firewall off. This is in the left navigation pane.
  4. Click on Turn off Windows Firewall. In the Customise Settings window
  5. Click OK.