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MacTechTrainer
MacTechTrainer, Sr. Mac Support Specialist
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 1699
Experience:  Apple Certified Desktop & Portables Technician, A+, Cross-Platform (Mac/PC) Tech - for over 14 Years
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I was just trying to sync my iPad2 with iTunes when I received

Customer Question

I was just trying to sync my iPad2 with iTunes when I received a message that it needed to be updated to a newer software version. I went ahead with the software update. Near the end of the process, I received an error message (21) saying that the update could not continue on, and actually my iPad is now completely wiped out. I've read online that a firewall could cause this problem, but I've disabled my firewall and tried again without success. Please advise.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  MacTechTrainer replied 1 year ago.

MacTechTrainer :

Hello and thank you for asking your question, with JustAnswer.com/Mac. I am Sr. Mac Tech Support Specialist, Terry, glad to assist you.

MacTechTrainer :

Have you performed any successful syncs with your iPad with iTunes recently, before you perfomed the iOS (iPhone Operating System) update?

Customer :

I have several iPads -- one iPad(1) and four iPad2s. The regular iPad has been synced successfully many times recently. The trouble came when I tried to sync the first of the iPad2s. Until we fix the problem with that one, I don't dare try to sync or update the other iPad2s.

MacTechTrainer :

Understood indeed

MacTechTrainer :

Now if I may inquire, the affected iPad, are you still seeking to update the software on that model?

Customer :

My goal is to sync the iPad. I don't especially care about the software, but the system does seem to be wiped out at this point, so something will have to be loaded.

MacTechTrainer :

I believe there is a way to help you get the iPad updated anyway (iOS 6.1 version) because the new update fixes a lot of bugs from the previous version

MacTechTrainer :

You can actually do it without being connected to iTunes

MacTechTrainer :

just by going into Settings>General> Software Update

Customer :

Tell me how. I can be ready now.

MacTechTrainer :

and allowing it to run through your Wifi connection

MacTechTrainer :

I had to do the same with my wife's iPhone 4S model because sometimes as I have come to learn, the software update in iTunes does not always function properly

MacTechTrainer :

and in regards to restoring your iPad with its previous data

MacTechTrainer :

you can connect your iPad to your computer with the iTunes application installed,

MacTechTrainer :

right click on that iPad icon under DEVICES located in the left side view of the open iTunes window,

Customer :

I could try that on one of the iPads I haven't yet tried to sync on iTunes, but the one I'm having trouble with only shows "iTunes" and a picture of a USB plug on the front. It's doing nothing.

MacTechTrainer :

right click on your iPad icon there and select Restore from back up

MacTechTrainer :

Oh I see

MacTechTrainer :

Have you attempted to perform a hard reset with that iPad to see if it boots to the main screen you normally are used to seeing?

Customer :

i don't know how to do that

MacTechTrainer :

No worries, it is simple and I will provide steps below on just how to do that:

Customer :

great

MacTechTrainer :

iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch Hard Reset
What you can do, in order to resolve this issue, is start by resetting your Apple iOS device (i.e. iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch)
(Note: this does not remove any settings, data or media you have installed in your device)

• To perform a hard reset, press and hold your Sleep button (located on the top of device) and Home Menu button (located in the bottom middle of the device) for approximately 10 seconds, or until the screen goes black, whichever occurs first.

• Once your screen goes black, release both keys. (If you see a white Apple logo before you release the keys you have held the keys to long and will need to start the reset process once again)

• The next screens you should see after the black screen, is the Apple logo screen followed by the main screen.

MacTechTrainer :

Let me know if you are able to see your main screen as normal after you attempt this process.

Customer :

I still see "iTunes" and a picture of a USB

MacTechTrainer :

After you performed the hard reset?

Customer :

yes

MacTechTrainer :

Can you you do a favor for me and reconnect your iPad to your iTunes once more?

MacTechTrainer :

I would like to do a play by play regarding what you see in iTunes

MacTechTrainer :

just to get an idea what may be giving you the headache in this situation here

Customer :

Opened iTunes

Customer :

Connected iPad

Customer :

iTunes doesn't seem to notice the iPad yet. "Devices" still doesn't offer me any options

Customer :

okay - restarted iTunes - says iTunes has discovered an iPad in recovery mode. You must restore this iPad before it can be used with iTunes

MacTechTrainer :

That is what we need to be at

MacTechTrainer :

good

Customer :

what should I do next?

MacTechTrainer :

Now do you have any buttons that come up with the option asking if you wish to restore or restore your iPad from a backup?

Customer :

Yes "Restore iPad"

Customer :

I should note that I did this yesterday without success. Is there anything I need to do to prepare, e.g., disable firewall, etc.?

MacTechTrainer :

Good question

MacTechTrainer :

I would recommend before going further, you do check to make sure any anti-virus software or Firewalls have been disabled

MacTechTrainer :

that way you should have a better go at this

MacTechTrainer :

and not to worry, I will be right here

Customer :

do I need to restart then?

Customer :

Windows Firewall is disabled

Customer :

I also have AVG, but I don't know how that can be disabled.

MacTechTrainer :

Do you see an AVG icon at the bottom of the system tray on the left side of your screen

Customer :

yes

MacTechTrainer :

right click on that icon and select the option to disable it

Customer :

done

Customer :

I'll go ahead with the iPad recovery

MacTechTrainer :

Ok good- I will standby and await your update

Customer :

Error message - The iPad "iPad" could not be restored. An unknown error occurred (21).

MacTechTrainer :

Ok hold that pattern for me, let me research that error code for you

Customer :

I'll just wait, won't touch a thing

MacTechTrainer :

lol- no worries-

MacTechTrainer :

I have an article here from Apple regarding iOS Devices (including iPads) that are affected by the error-21 code

MacTechTrainer :

it is simple to follow, but too detailed for me to script out to you

MacTechTrainer :

so I wanted to provide this for you to try and I will be here as you go through the steps Apple recommends, as a guide as needed

MacTechTrainer :

I have it open as well

Customer :

hmmm... not sure what I should do. There aren't any obvious problems.

Customer :

I'm running a current version of iTunes

MacTechTrainer :

This is dealing with the security software (anti-virus, firewall, internet security software) etc

MacTechTrainer :

Are you still reading over the article?

MacTechTrainer :

let me know where you are at, I am going to try to help you through this as well as I can

Customer :

I've read it, but I can't find anything that I haven't already turned off

MacTechTrainer :

Ok then in that case, let's try another approach

Customer :

sounds good

MacTechTrainer :

First, bookmark this session web page in your browser, if you are chatting from the same computer you have iTunes installed and are connecting your iPad to

MacTechTrainer :

this way if you should have to reboot for any reason, you can come right back to this session via the bookmark

Customer :

done

MacTechTrainer :

ok now a quick question

MacTechTrainer :

have you recently updated your AVG software?

MacTechTrainer :

also what version of Windows are you currently running on your PC?

Customer :

I have not recently updated my AVG, except that I think it updates automatically. I'll check

Customer :

I think I'm running Windows XP - almost certain. How would I check for that?

Customer :

updating AVG right now -- oh, it says "update completed successfully. you are up-to-date"

MacTechTrainer :

Ok good

MacTechTrainer :

now do you know how to access AVG to check for Rules which allow you you decide what ports to block or allow?

Customer :

no

MacTechTrainer :

For example, in order for AVG to allow iTunes to work with any connection to Apple's servers which I believe is happening here

MacTechTrainer :

it would need to allow

MacTechTrainer :

This- iTunes must be allowed to contact Apple using the following ports and servers:

  • port 80
  • port 443
Customer :

okay

MacTechTrainer :

I believe when you are using iTunes to contact Apple's servers to run your updates, AVG is blocking those ports

MacTechTrainer :

hence the error -21 you keep getting

MacTechTrainer :

So because I don't have AVG installed on my PC

MacTechTrainer :

I have to work

MacTechTrainer :

"on the fly" with you as they say, relying on what you can see and tell me when I have you go into AVG

MacTechTrainer :

but before we do that

MacTechTrainer :

did you say that you have already disabled AVG?

MacTechTrainer :

Also can you provide me what version of AVG you have?

MacTechTrainer :

(Thank very much for your patience in advance; as I have to ask these questions in order to better isolate what some of the symptoms of your technical issue are-- in order to work toward a more viable solution for you)

Customer :

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2013

MacTechTrainer :

that is just what I thought

Customer :

I disabled it and then re-enabled it to run an update. Should I disable it again?

MacTechTrainer :

ok one moment, checking some of the features of this product's use

MacTechTrainer :

if you would yes please

MacTechTrainer :

now tell me, what firewall software are you also running if I may ask?

Customer :

Windows Firewall, but it's currently disabled

MacTechTrainer :

ok and so both Windows Firewall and AVG are both disabled, correct?

Customer :

yes

MacTechTrainer : Ok then at this point, I will need you to quit iTunes
Customer :

done

MacTechTrainer : then relaunch it, connect your iPad back to your computer and try to restore the device through iTunes
MacTechTrainer :

if that does not work, and you get the error -21 again

MacTechTrainer :

quit that error message and this time right click on your iPad icon listed under DEVICES on the left side view of iTunes

Full Size Image

MacTechTrainer :

and from the menu that pops up, select "Restore from back up"

Full Size Image

MacTechTrainer :

Click the Full Size Image link to enlarge the images

MacTechTrainer :

to see them better as necessary

MacTechTrainer :

how's it going so far?

Customer :

okay - something different -- it still didn't finish the update/recovery, but the error message is different. "The iPad "iPad" could not be restored. An unknown error occurred. (1604)"

MacTechTrainer :

Wow

MacTechTrainer :

if it is not one thing, it is another-

MacTechTrainer :

ok try this for me

MacTechTrainer :

reboot your PC now

MacTechTrainer :

and when you are back up to your main desktop

MacTechTrainer :

go ahead, disable the AVG and Windows Firewall

MacTechTrainer :

and try the restore one last time

Customer :

okay - how will I get back to you?

MacTechTrainer :

bookmark this page

MacTechTrainer :

in your web browser

Customer :

We did not reach any resolution yesterday. I did go to the apple store and have resolved most of the problem. I'm not sure how to rate this session, because I still had to seek other help before I could achieve resolution. I do have a remaining question, though, with which you might help me.

MacTechTrainer :

Hello

MacTechTrainer :

I am sorry I missed you. I did not see a notification of you coming back online, so my apologies for that. I was provided an update that you had come back to this session seeking to continue with me so we could still work to resolve this issue, as I am aware your question is still unresolved.

MacTechTrainer :

I will remain on this case until we have found a viable resolution for you. So during this time, if I am offline, please feel free to still reply in this chat and going forward, I should be able to see alerts coming from this session that you are online seeking my assistance, or to update me on a process I may have provided to you previously.

MacTechTrainer :

When you are back please feel free to post your question and I will be glad to continue to assist you.

MacTechTrainer :

Thank you.

MacTechTrainer :

Sincerely,

MacTechTrainer :

-Terry, Sr. Mac Support Specialist

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