iTunes displays 'This device isn't eligible for the requested build', or Error 3194, when I try to update my iPhone. What's going on?

When updating or restoring an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch through iTunes (a useful method, because it saves space on the mobile device), you may find that iTunes is unable to connect to APple's software update servers. It will inform you of this with any one or more of the following error messages:

  • Error 17
  • Error 1639
  • Errors between 3000 and 3020
  • Error 3194
  • Other errors between 3100 and 3999
  • An error message saying 'This device isn't eligible for the requested build'

If you get one of these error messages, don't despair. In this article we show how to fix Error 3194, Error 17, ;'This device isn't eligible for the requested build' and related errors. These methods apply to iTunes on both Mac and PC.

How to fix 'This device isn't eligible for the requested build' error: Update iTunes

The first solution you should try, and the simplest, and a step that's generally a good idea anyway, is to update iTunes.

On Mac, open iTunes and click iTunes in the top menu bar, then 'Check for Updates...' Assuming you're not up to date, iTunes will find and offer the latest version update: 'A new version of iTunes (12.5.4) is available. Would you like to download it now?'

If you're up for it, click 'Download iTunes'.

On PC, the process is similar, but you start from a different menu: click Help, then Check For Updates.

Have another go at restoring/updating the iPhone or iPad to see if the problem has been resolved. If not, move on to the next step.

How to fix 'This device isn't eligible for the requested build' error: Check internet connection/router issues

Make sure your internet connection is working properly. On Mac, open System Preferences, then Network, and check your chosen connection options are working.

Now check your router isn't blocking your access to Apple's servers: bypass the router and connect directly to your modem via ethernet cable, then restart the modem (and the Mac or PC).

Have another go at restoring/updating the iPhone or iPad to see if the problem has been resolved. If not, move on to the next step.

How to fix 'This device isn't eligible for the requested build' error: Security/firewall/antivirus software

The connection your machine is trying to establish with Apple's servers is being blocked by something. Depending on what you've got turned on, this could be related to TCP/IP filtering, a firewall, or other security software or features on your Mac or PC. To rule out interference by security software, your next step should be to temporarily turn this off (or at least adjust its settings), and then try to update your iDevice. You may wish to go so far as to uninstall the security software entirely, but remember to reinstall it afterwards.

Have another go at restoring/updating the iPhone or iPad to see if the problem has been resolved. If not, move on to the next step.

How to fix 'This device isn't eligible for the requested build' error: Check your hosts file

Our next attempt will be to check the hosts file for any problems. For Mac users this involves some tinkering in Terminal, which some people find off-putting, which is why we've left it until after some of the easier solutions; but there's actually very little technical stuff required.

Open Terminal. (This can be found in Applications > Utilities.) In Terminal, type in the following command:

sudo nano /private/etc/hosts

Then press Return. Terminal will pop up a warning: 'Improper use of the sudo command could lead to data loss...' and so on: we'll need to be careful.

How to fix Error 3194 and This device isn't eligible for the requested build: Terminal

You'll be prompted to enter your system password (this text won't be visible for security reasons, so don't be alarmed) and hit Return again. You'll now see the hosts file, which should look something like this:

How to fix Error 3194 and This device isn't eligible for the requested build: Terminal

You're looking for "gs.apple.com" in one of the entries; when you find it, add a hash symbol (#) and a space to the beginning of that entry. Press Control-O to save.

You'll be asked for the filename; just press Return, then Control-X. Now restart your Mac.

PC users would be well advised to follow the advice on Microsoft's support website.

Have another go at restoring/updating the iPhone or iPad to see if the problem has been resolved. If not, move on to the next step.

How to fix 'This device isn't eligible for the requested build' error: Restore or update from another computer

At this point we start to wonder if there's a problem with the system itself - the Mac or PC - that's preventing the update happening. We can both confirm that this is the case, and bypass the problem, with the same method: try using a different machine instead.

Preferably, use an alternative Mac or PC on a different network and internet connection. There may be issues related to the network settings, firewall and so on.