How to Unlock an iPod When It Says "Connect to iTunes"

By Roger Smith

One of the most frustrating error messages for an owner of an iPhone or an iPod Touch is the "Connect to iTunes" message that can appear on the device screen, preventing you from using any features of the device. But as annoying as this error is, it serves a good purpose: alerting you of a serious system error that needs to be corrected through restoring your iPod device.

Things You'll Need

  • Apple iPhone or iPod Touch
  • Apple iTunes software
  • iPod-compatible USB cable
  • Active Internet connection

Unlocking an iPod in Recovery Mode

Step 1

Verify you have Apple's iTunes software installed. If not, you can download it for free from Apple's website. A direct link is provided in the resources section of this article.

Step 2

Connect your iPod or iPhone to your computer using the USB cable.

Step 3

Verify the device was detected by iTunes. ITunes should start automatically, and you'll be greeted with a prompt: "iTunes has detected an iPod in recovery mode. You must restore this iPod before it can be used with iTunes."

Step 4

Click OK to begin the restore process. If you have a backup of your device, iTunes will automatically try to reload your device with this saved version of your software and configurations. If you do not have a backup, iTunes will reload your device with the latest version of the iPod firmware. In some cases, this may require an active Internet connection to download and install.

Tips & Warnings

  • The restore process may take several minutes to complete. Make sure the iPod stays connected to your computer for the entire process and avoid losing power to your system.
  • This error sometimes occurs during a faulty system update.
  • Some data and configurations may be lost in the restore process.
  • If you continue to experience the error, more serious support may be needed. Consider calling Apple Support or setting up an appointment with an Apple technician at a local Apple Store.