How to Fix iTunes Error 3194 when Updating to iOS 9.3.1

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If you encounter iTunes error 3194 when updating iOS 9.3.1, read on how to fix it right here.

You’re probably trying to update your iPhone to the latest iOS 9.3.1 using iTunes but kept getting error 3194 on iTunes.

If you’re new to using iPhone, one of the most important things you need to know is that you can never downgrade your iOS. This is by design, and Apple never wants you to downgrade your iOS.

Editor's note: learn more by reading our ebook on starting your own iPhone repair & unlock business

One of the main reasons is that Apple doesn’t want you to jailbreak your iPhone. For example, iOS 8 has exploits that can jailbreak your iPhone. Since Apple can no longer patch or fix previous iOS versions which have been released to public, they can only fix those issues in the next release.

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 iTunes 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 activation 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 9.3.1 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 to iOS 9.3.1

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

Mac 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.

Mac 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 10

  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.

This may sound very technical so if this is too challenging for you, ask your friends who can do technical stuff.

If you managed to fix this problem, please share, tweet or like below.

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