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

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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.

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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/TextEdit.app/Contents/MacOS/TextEdit /etc/hosts
  3. Press Enter.
  4. Remove any line that says 74.208.151.171 gs.apple.com 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 74.208.151.171 gs.apple.com 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 74.208.151.171 gs.apple.com 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 74.208.151.171 gs.apple.com 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.

74.208.151.171 gs.apple.com

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.

Comments & Discussion

  1. Solved ….
    just turn off WIFI and connect internet through 3G network and try to run install Update.
    it will run like cham…

  2. i want to restore my iPhone 4 to 6.1 from 7.0.2. Every time I try to restore, it shows error 3194. However I managed to skip error 3194 then another error 1604 popped up again. I am helpless now. Please help me.
    I tried with editing host files and many other ways but it did not worked.

  3. i want to restore my iPhone 4 to 6.1 from 7.0.2. Every time I try to restore, it shows error 3194. However I managed to skip error 3194 then another error 1604 popped up again. I am helpless now. Please help me.




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