How to Fix iTunes Error 3194 When Updating iPhone 5 to iOS 6.1.4

As trivial as this may seem, I’d still like to write about this because many new iPhone users out there are stuck with this problem. Don’t worry, it’s an easy fix.

You’re probably trying to restore your iPhone 5 using iTunes but kept getting this error. If you’re new to using iPhone, one of the most important things you need to know is you can never downgrade your iOS. This is by designed, and of course, how Apple wants it to be. The main reason is that Apple doesn’t want you to jailbreak your iPhone. For example, iOS 6.1.2 has exploits that can untether jailbreak the iPhone 5. Since Apple can no longer patch or fix previous releases of iOS, they can only do it on the next update e.g. in iOS 6.1.4.

Now let’s go back to your iTunes restore error 3194. This is a very common error if you’re trying to restore your iPhone. Error 3194 is a response from Apple’s verification server (or by Saurik’s server) telling you that your iPhone is not eligible to be restored to a particular iOS version. Apple will only allow you install the latest iOS, but why are you still getting this error if the iOS version you’re trying to restore to is already the latest? Well, the problem lies with your computer’s hosts file.

iTunes uses your computer’s hosts file to “communicate” with Apple’s iOS restore verification server. It exists in both Mac and PC. If your hosts file is modified, you will definitely get this error message when updating to iOS 6.1.4 using iTunes.

So, how did your hosts file got modified in the first place? Jailbreaking software such as TinyUmbrella and redsn0w are the culprits. If you’ve used one of these programs before, they will modify your hosts file to trick iTunes to NOT connect to Apple’s iOS restore verification server. Why you may ask? On older devices, it IS possible to restore to an older iOS for as long as you have the SHSH saved. This is a separate topic but is related so let’s discuss about this another day while we work on fixing this issue.

How to Fix iTunes Error 3194 When Updating iPhone 5 to iOS 6.1.4

Scenario 1: if you need to restore to a firmware version that is currently being signed by Apple (latest iOS):

Apple OS X Snow Leopard & Leopard

  1. Open Terminal (Click Spotlight, or press Command+Space. Now type terminal.)
  2. Copy and paste the following code into Terminal
    sudo /Applications/ /etc/hosts
  3. Press Enter.
  4. Remove any line that says or similar.
  5. Save by pressing Command+S, click Save.

Apple OSX 10.4.X Tiger

  1. Open Terminal (Click Spotlight, or press Command+Space. Now type terminal.)
  2. In Terminal type, ‘sudo pico /etc/hosts‘, press Enter.
  3. Remove any line that says or similar.
  4. Press Ctrl+X, then Y to save.
  5. Type ’sudo niload -v -m hosts . < /etc/hosts’, press Enter
  6. Type ‘lookupd -flushcache’, press Enter.

Microsoft Windows 7 / Vista

  1. Click Start -> All Programs -> Accessories.
  2. Right click “Notepad” and select “Run as administrator”
  3. Click Yes on the UAC prompt.
  4. Click File -> Open.
  5. Change the file filter drop down box from “Text Documents (*.txt)” to “All Files (*.*)”.
  6. Browse to “C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc”.
  7. Select “hosts” and click “Open”.
  8. Remove any line that says or similar.
  9. Close Notepad. Click Save when prompted.

Microsoft XP/2003/2000

  1. Browse to Start > Programs > Accessories > Notepad.
  2. Click File > Open.
  3. Browse to “C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc”.
  4. Select “All Files (*.*)” from the Files of Type drop-down menu.
  5. Select “hosts” and click “Open”.
  6. Remove any line that says or similar.
  7. Close Notepad.  Save when prompted.

Scenario 2: if you need to restore to an earlier firmware version and if your SHSH blobs is saved in Cydia (Saurik) server:

You will need to add the following line to your hosts file using the same steps above.

Well, remember to close iTunes or reboot your computer after modifying your hosts file. If you managed to fix this problem, please share, tweet or like below.

The ‘Unlocking Technology Act Bill’ will Make iPhone Unlocking 100% Legal in the USA

iPhone unlocking is a gray area and US congress declared it as “illegal” last year. Here’s how to show your support so that this can be reversed.

The Librarian of Congress determined in October last year that unlocking mobile phones were illegal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Any iPhone or smartphone that’s purchased or made after January 26th of 2013 cannot be legally unlocked unless permitted by carriers.

However, this act is deemed to be very vague and falls in a huge gray area. No one really understands what it means, at least for the general public.

Now, a bill called the “The Unlocking Technology Act” has been introduced by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and co-sponsored by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) – that would completely fix Section 1201 of the DMCA, making unlocking and jailbreaking cell phones, tablets, and game consoles completely legal.

In order for to this happen, if you’re based in the US, you must sign this petition and show your support so that the bill can be passed.

This is important for anyone living in the US because unlocking your mobile phone, jailbreaking your iPad, or modding a game console can land you in court because of the DMCA’s poorly-written “anti-circumvention provision.”

The proposed bill would permanently legalize all such modifications, as long as the purpose of the modifications isn’t piracy or copyright infringement. The bill mentioned on has three main parts:

  • It amends Section 1201 to make it clear that it is completely legal to “circumvent” if there is no copyright infringement.
  • It legalizes tools and services that enable circumvention as long as they are intended for non-infringing uses.
  • It changes Copyright Law to specify that unlocking cell phones is not copyright infringement.

“Lock-out codes” are increasingly being implemented by vehicle manufacturers. These codes are used to prevent maintenance by independent repair shops. Again, no copyright infringement is involved in repairing a broken car, truck, or other device, but the DMCA’s vague language can make it a crime,” stated on their website.

You have the rights to do anything with your property so don’t let the DMCA take control of your life!

Since our business is located outside of USA, we are not bound by the law above and can legally unlock any AT&T iPhone or any US mobile phones. Beware of unlocking your iPhone with US-based vendors such as this one as there is a risk that you may be prosecuted!


You Must Replace Your iPhone 3GS Battery Soon Before it Expands or “Explodes”

As the iPhone 3GS is approaching 4 years old next month, you should consider replacing the battery soon before it expands and break your logic board.

Apple iPhone 3GS was first released in June 2009, which was about 4 years ago. It is powered by an internal 3.7 V 1219 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion polymer battery and is designed to retain up to 80% of its original capacity after 400 full charge and discharge cycles.

The photo above shows one of customers iPhone 3GS with a battery that expanded 1.5 times its original size. This is a serious problem because it physically applied forced in all directions, causing the logic board to be pushed up. This caused the logic board to bend and disconnects the delicate circuitry on the logic board. The touch screen also gets pushed up and may break the LCD screen.

If your iPhone 3GS is still operating normally but with decreased battery performance, you should consider replacing the battery sooner rather than later especially if it’s from the first production batch. It is easy to check this simply by looking at the serial number.

On your iPhone 3GS, go to Settings > General > About and look for the serial number. Take note of the third, fourth and fifth numbers of the serial number:


  • 1 is the year of manufacture which is 2011
  • 09 is week 9 of year 2011

This gives you a good estimation of how old your iPhone 3GS is. Do be aware that if your iPhone 3GS’ battery was never replaced before and your iPhone 3GS came from the first production batches, there’s a chance that this may happen.

While it’s extremely rare, battery problem such as this is usually caused by manufacturing defects. However, I believe Apple and its suppliers are doing all they can to produce high quality products, but the chemicals inside a battery can go unstable and will cause chemical imbalance. Other factors such as a bad battery charger or irregular voltage can also damage the battery.

Seriously, I’m not pulling your legs as there’s already an ongoing discussion about this on Apple’s support forum (photo above was from a user on the Forum). You should schedule an appointment at your nearest Apple store to ask for a battery replacement. If that’s not an option for you, most local repair shops can do the replacement. If you prefer to do it yourself, our eBook on iPhone repair or other online resources can guide you through the process.

Just to give you some ideas, here’s a brief summary of replacing iPhone 3GS battery:

  1. Prepare a backup phone in case something goes wrong.
  2. Backup your iPhone data.
  3. Take apart your iPhone 3GS:
  • Remove 2 screws at the bottom
  • Use a suction cup to gently lift the display (don’t lift it up all the way yet!)
  • Disconnect the cables on the top right of the logic board (extremely delicate!)
  • Detach the screen assembly
  • Remove all screws holding the logic board
  • Detach dock connector and WiFi cable
  • Lift the logic board and gently remove the battery (it sticks real hard due to glue, you may want to heat up the back casing with hair dryer for 15-20 seconds to melt the glue)
  • Get a replacement battery that matches the model number printed on the battery
  • Once you get your battery reassemble everything by reversing the steps above
  • Boot up your iPhone

If you run a repair shop it’s best to check your order records and contact your customers who have an iPhone 3GS. I’m sure they will appreciate for letting them know about this potential disaster.

6 Things You Can Do with an iPhone that Has Bad ESN or Blacklisted IMEI

The sweet deal you recently got when purchasing your iPhone turned out to be a nightmare. Don’t worry, one of these 6 tips may be able to help you get out from this mess.

The first thing you found out when you got your iPhone is that it’s not getting any signal from your carrier, or that probably happened a few days after your purchase. You’re pretty sure that there’s no hardware issue but after spending hours online looking for a solution or explanation, you finally found out that it’s been blacklisted by your network provider.

A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about ‘What Ever Happens to IMEI Blacklisted iPhones or Other Popular Smartphones?‘ This will help you understand more on why your iPhone got blacklisted in the first place.

It may feel that it’s the end of the world. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Someone out there had gone through what you’re feeling right now. Let’s get things straight and check out these helpful tips.

1. Ask for a refund from your seller

This may be a long shot, but if you bought it used on eBay, you can ask for a refund from the seller by following the refund procedures set by eBay. You will have to arrange to have it shipped back to the seller, once he or she confirms that the iPhone is in order, eBay will release the funds back to your account.

The case may be different if you got your blacklisted iPhone over on Craigslist or on the street. It may be difficult to get your money back because these types of sellers probably won’t entertain your calls at all. They may use a temporary email address and will no longer respond to your email.

2. Use it as a glorified iPod or games console

Since you can’t make calls with your iPhone, just use it as an iPod or install as many games as you can to keep you entertained for hours. You can also download movies and TV series on it which you can watch while on the subway or hanging out in the park. Aside from that, there’s really nothing much you can do with the iPhone, really.

3. Get the ESN or IMEI Cleaned

There’s a bit of a good news if you have a blacklisted iPhone that’s locked to Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile (UK), Orange (UK) and EE (UK). It’s possible to remove them from blacklist. Unfortunately, many other network are still not supported. The services we provided are highly reliable and have helped many people to use their iPhone again. You might also want to know that these services are not limited for iPhone only, any device such as iPad or Android smartphone can only also be removed from network blacklist. Click on the link below to learn more:

4. Swap the Logic Board

Since IMEI blacklist is usually localized to a country’s particular service provider, that means your iPhone’s IMEI is not blacklisted in other countries. For instance, if you have a factory unlocked AT&T iPhone that’s blacklisted in the USA, if you travel to Australia it will work perfectly on any network there.

There isn’t a way to change the IMEI of an iPhone except by physically replacing the baseband and CPU chips; and this is only possible on iPhone 4 and earlier models. Attempting to change the chips on iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 will only cause damage to your iPhone. This is the reason why swapping the logic board is quite a practical solution. We do provide this a service or if you can find someone who’s willing to swap with you, we can help facilitate this process. Click one of the links below to learn more:

5. Get it officially unlocked and sell it

There’s still a market for your blacklisted iPhone. If you live in the USA, you know that there are millions of foreigners coming to your country especially students. When they finish their studies, mostly would return to their home countries. This is where your iPhone becomes valuable.

If you have an AT&T iPhone that’s already officially unlocked but blacklisted, you can sell it off to them. They always want to find good deals while they’re there and even though it’s blacklisted in the USA, it can still be used in other countries. A lot of people get good deals when buying AT&T or T-Mobile iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus online, but they ended up buying blacklisted iPhones. However, AT&TT-Mobile or Sprint iPhone 6/6+ that is blacklisted can still be unlocked.

Please be sure to tell them the whole truth about the history of the phone to avoid any complication later. Remember that honesty is the best policy. So do explain to your potential buyer that the iPhone is blacklisted in your current location but will work fine in his or her country. Don’t forget to checkout other network that we can officially unlock.

Related: Which iPhone carrier can be unlocked even if blacklisted?

6. Sell it as spare parts

If all fails, your last resort would be taking it apart and cannibalize it for parts. The screen, logic board, back casing, dock connector can all be sold separately. It may help someone with a broken iPhone and one of the parts may help revive his or her iPhone again. It’s not the most ideal but you might doing other people a big favor while getting back some of your hard earned cash.

Consider yourself lucky if you bumped into this post while trying to find a used iPhone. The blog post I wrote about 5 Tips on Buying Used iPhone Online on eBay or Craigslist to Avoid Scam will help you prevent all these from happening.

Any other tips to add?

Recommended Services:

Unlock Blacklisted USA AT&T iPhone
Unlock Blacklisted USA T-Mobile iPhone
Unlock Blacklisted USA Sprint iPhone 

How to Fix iPhone iTunes Restore Error (-1) which is Related to Baseband Chip Issue

Doing a full restore on your iPhone is not a fun thing to do especially if you bump into issues like this. Try these different solutions which may save your iPhone.

In many occasions, you have to do a full iTunes restore on your iPhone to fix software related issues or if you need to sell it off. I don’t always like to do a full restore on iPhones because sometimes the process and result can be unpredictable and they are a challenge to fix. There are various error messages you can see on iTunes so for an average user, you will need a lot of time to figure out a fix if you encounter one or some of the errors.

“This iPhone could not be restored due to an unknown error (-1)” is probably one of the toughest one to fix because usually it is caused by hardware issues with your iPhone. The solutions below are possible fixes you can do at home without disassembling or taking apart your iPhone. As this issue is probably related to baseband chip corruption, the fixes below may not resolve it but it’s worth trying them yourself before attempting to send your iPhone to a repair center near you. This error occurs towards the end of the restore process which is also the same time when iTunes writes or updates your iPhone’s baseband.

Before you begin, there’s a quick way to identify if the problem is caused by hardware. On older iPhones such as iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4, you can restore it using custom firmware built using sn0wbreeze or redsn0w. The restore will usually go through without any problem. Once you can get to the Home screen, go to Settings, General, About and look for the IMEI. On an iPhone 4S or 5, there’s no method to restore it using custom firmware. However, in case you managed to restore it, on the Activation screen, tap on the (i) or information and it will show your the IMEI number.

If the IMEI is present that means there’s no baseband or hardware issue with your iPhone. If it’s showing blank that means it’s certainly a hardware issue so the solutions below will definitely not work.

Solution 1: Make sure that your iTunes is up-to-date

In order to check if you have the latest version of iTunes, launch iTunes and check for updates.

Windows: Choose Help > Check for Updates
Mac: Choose iTunes > Check for Updates

Simply donwload and install any available iTunes updates. Just be sure that you have an active internet connection.

Solution 2: Check that your computer’s operating system is fully patched and up-to-date

On a Mac, click Software Update from the Apple menu and install all available updates. On a Windows PC, go to the Microsoft Windows Update page.

Solution 3: Disconnect other USB devices that are currently connected on your computer

USB devices can sometimes mess up data communication between iTunes and your iPhone. Do the following:

  • Disconnect any devices connected to your computer such as printers, scanners, dangling cords, card readers, cameras, and so on.
  • Connect only your keyboard and mouse. Connect your iPhone directly with its cable.
  • Restart your computer.
  • Launch iTunes again and try to do a full restore.

Please pay attention if you have a virtualization software or operating system installed, as it may create a virtualized USB port which may also cause issue.

Solution 4: Temporarily deactivate or uninstall antivirus software or firewall on your computer

Third party security software such as antivirus or firewall is designed to block certain data that may harm your computer. To prevent this from happening they must be kept up to date and properly configured to effectively protect your computer while still allowing an update or restore to proceed. If your computer uses a router on your local network, additional security policy applied on the router which may block some data that’s required to restore your iPhone.

Solution 5: Restart your computer

Sometimes a lot of issues can be fixed simply by doing a computer restart. If you have tried the above make sure you try this as well.

Solution 6: Possible hardware fixes (not for novice)

The solutions below are not meant for novice so proceed only at your own risks!

  • Replace the dock connector
  • Heat up the baseband CPU chip

I hope that one of the suggested solutions above may help bring life back to your iPhone again. Otherwise, your only choice is to get it fixed or replacement from Apple if it’s still under warranty.