April 20, 2009

Attempting to copy the disk "iphone" failed. an unknown error ocurred (-53)

Attempting to copy the disk iphone failed. an unknown error occurred (-53) (-69) (-36) (-54) (-51) (-48).

This is rare problem that occurs in Iphone. but very difficult to resolve if you don't know the reason. with this problem copy songs to iphone or ipod problem occurs. ie. you will be unable to copy songs or video to this amazing gadget. but itunes will sync calender, outlook and contacts but songs.


According to my experience. it occurs when itunes_control directory got corrupted due to some reason. This is the directory where iTunes store the songs & metadata about the songs. so if its corrupted iTunes will either copy 1-5 songs or none.

I made my phones itunes directory corrupted via deleting and recreating its some interal directory/folders. I searched the web almost a weak to get the solution but in vain. i upated my iphone os from 2.2 to 2.2.1 in try to remove the error. i though new os will again create the directory structure. But after completing the installation Itunes backup the songs with the same itunes_control structure. so all was like hell. i tought i lost my phone's song feature & should go to some expert or get my previous os back but after 15 days i got the solution and that was so easy that i laughed on me even you will.. just get a software like diskaid (www.digidna.net/diskaid/) got o itunes_control folder and rename it to some itunes_control_old.

First Screen:






Second Screen:







plug out and plug in, then start the Itunes.after connecting to the itunes, you will get the following screen

Select first option "set up as new iPhone" -> continue

Itunes will recognize it as new phone. it will recreate all the directory structure and will ignore the old itunes folder.

Now try to sync it. you will automatically get smile on you face when ituens starts copying the songs.
this article is also applicable to ipod touch, or iPods

Note: Itunes will create a new folder that will not have any of the your previous songs you need to sync it to copy all the songs again to the deviceRenamed folder still on device contains the songs & it occupies space,

You have two choice,

1. Cut paste that folder to the machine/computer (Choose if any of the song is not in your itunes, but only on the device(iphone/ipod), so that later on you can search it, but thats tedious process, because itunes renames the songs while copying to the device, so you have to play songs one by one to get to the desired songs.)

2. Delete the renamed folder, if you have all songs on you machine you can delete this folder. you have to remove that folder from the device using either of above two option, to clear the space from the device.

I wrote this article to save others' 15 day. if you like share it on (digg,fb,delicious,twitter)

Thx , comments are welcome.


Websitey said...

i can't thank you enough...
phew... i've been going through the same horror as you did, so i understand how frustrating this error can be.
everything seems to be ok now. we'll see for how long... ;)

Raj said...

hey Weby,

Like you i too love my 8gb device. do not worry, it is permanent solution not temporary.

Anonymous said...

I'm not very computer savvy, can you please tell me where to find the folder I need to rename?

I'm having the same issue.


Raj said...

hi, First i need to know whether you have installed diskaid from
if yes first connect your iPhone to your computer, start the software and then go to media folder. may be by default media folder is opened. you will see "iTunes_Conrol" folder, right click and select rename. thats all. please put your name in the comment.

LISA said...

Ok, I posted earlier about not being computer savvy. (Sorry didn't mean to leave my name out)

I downloaded diskaid, I hooked up my iphone (it's a 2g 8gb standard iphone), and my diskaid window doesnt show what your example showed, it only says "diskaid, and has a folder that says "start here"


Raj said...

hi Lisa,
You are in by default in diskaid directory, you need to select "Media Folder" from the bottom-left. i had added the screen shot. just check it will resolve your problem after selecting the media folder you will get the next screen as shown in first screen shot. i just asked name to address you, Anonymous comments seems bogus or spam.


Lisa said...


I finally got a chance to work on my iphone, and IT WORKED!!



Raj said...

Thanx for appreciating the work. with only sharing we can make internet/world a great place. anyways Secondly if you want to share it with other, just add it to your
digg,delicious or any social bookmarking site.
a Bookmark link is below the post.


James said...

Hi Raj,

your photos for reference don't appear. I'm not sure what folder to rename. ThAnk you.

Raj said...

Hi James,

there should be some problem of server or your browser
any ways. try opening via pasting following link. if one browser do not work try in another. Its working perfectly on my computer
First shot.


Second Shot.


let me know whether it resolved your problem or not.


Laughto said...

Thanks Raj.

I'm running a 160gig iPod Classic on Windows Vista. I took it to the Apple Shop but they didn't fix the problem. Using your method worked first time.
A tip for Windows users: there is no need to download any software. Browse your iPod in Windows Explorer (you may have to restore iPod to original settings using iTunes on another computer). In explorer goto the "organise" menu then "folder and search options", click on the view tab and tick the box that says "show hidden files and folders" then click Apply and OK.
You will now be able to see and rename the iTunes_Control folder. Disconnect and reconnect your iPod.



Raj said...

Thanks Laughto for enhancing this knowledgebase


Anonymous said...

Where exatcly is the Control file?
i search my pc about 10 times and i cannot find it either in the main programs file installation in xp or in the documents and settings folder.

Raj said...

plz elobrate your question, i am not getting the context.

what is Control file?


Anonymous said...

This seems to do the job and causes it restore from the last backup, just like it should. If you are on a Mac, use something like iPhoneView in advanced mode to see the full directory of the phone.

Anonymous said...

Error 53 for the Ipod! You are a the master!

Geek Dan said...

Raj- I followed your instructions but I still get the -53 error. Perhaps I did something incorrectly. Are we supposed to restore from backup?

Raj said...

hi Dan,
i hope you downloaded & installed the software. Close itunes if running. open the diskaid and follow instructions acc to the article. rename the existing itunes folder to itunes_old or something.

restart your device, hook it to usb, now start itune. iTunes will ask for the new setup for you itunes libary say yes.

last step:
try to copy songs from the your machine to device. it should work,

let me know if it still fails with the details of your device and itunes version.

restore is not the solution, i tried switching b.w diff os. but failed

chris said...

Hi Raj, I got the same thing as Dan, it recognised that i had used the phone with itunes before. would I like to restore iphone from back-up? - which i did. Then it synced contacts and mail etc then froze itunes and disk aid! Should i have restored as a new phone? Those were the two options I was offered. Thanks in advance, Chris

Raj said...

Chris, i have updated the post, please read it carefully . it will clear you doubts, you need to check first option, no need to restore.
i am off for three day, so will be unable to answer you question after gmt 1 today.

chris said...

Hi Raj, Thanks for getting back to me. I didn't have the option of not restoring, it was either would you like itunes to treat this as a new phone(is this what you meant I should click)? or restore from back-up? no other options. Thanks Chris. Sorry if i am being dim on this...

Raj said...

would you like itunes to treat this as a new phone(is this what you meant I should click)? Yes, YES

even i rewrite my post for you on that day. you can check new image and text. anyways you

chris said...

Hi Raj, Many thanks.I tried that, for me it did not work, but obviously you are onto something. Just for others interest after trying many, many things, I turned off Zone alarm and disconnected internet access (having read about this elsewhere)and it worked for me! good luck everyone

Raj said...

hi Chris, thats great problem is resolved, just want to knows on which apple device you were trying this solution.

Second: was this -53 error.


chris said...

Hi Raj, It is a 32 gb Iphone 3gs! I cant remember whether it was a-53, but it definetely said "attempting to copy the disk "iphone" failed. an unknown error occured.". I actually had many different error messages at different stages of this battle! You should be helping apple sort this out, from my experience their help desk had no ideas.

Anonymous said...

Hi Raj,

brilliant job, my sync.works again.

But to be honest I did not understand your "Note: itunes wants to create a new folder that will not have any of the your previous songs you need to sync it to copy all the songs again to the deviceRenamed folder on device still contains the songs and it occupies space," and the two options you offered. My problem is mostlikely the language (I am german). Can you explain in different words.

Thanks from Germany

Raj said...

Hi Frank,

i am trying to write it in simple words.

When you sync with iTunes, it creates a Itunes_contol folder and copies the songs from your computer to this folder.
So your all songs stored in the this directory,

suppose you have 8 gb songs.
all your 8gb data will be in that directory/folder only.

Now when you rename it, this directory exist on your disk,so it still occupies 8 GB space,

now after renaming when you sync it Ituens will gain create a new itunes_folder(because you renamed original one) and copies all of yours songs to this new directory,

so the renamed directory still exist on the you device and occupies space without any means. because now iPod of your device will use the new itunes_directory and nobody using the renamed directory.

If you still not clear, Feel free to ask the question, this blog is only for answering the questions :)

Anonymous said...

Thanky You!
it was a big help for me

Anonymous said...

Thank u so much for this fix. I had been at this things for about 10 hours till I found this point. Great work!

Anonymous said...

Sweet!!!! Thanks

FFNogoodnik said...

It looks like I have other problems. I get the (-53) Error.

1) I Have songs and everything on the IPod (80GB Classic)

2) DiskAid does not Recognize the IPod

3) I removed ITunes and plugged the IPod in and my computer treated the IPod as a USB drive. The drive just 3 directories
a) Calendars
b) Contacts
c) Notes

I would try to restore it (if I can) but I do not want to makem y situation worse. At least now I have an IPod that has stuff on it.

Any thoughts?


Raj said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Raj said...

hi Clayton,

search Laughto in the comments.
or directly
check following comment.



Anonymous said...

From Clayton (I could not sign on as my password kept on being wrong)

Thanks, I remember reading that post but I think I just missed the part about viewing hidden files.

Thanks again. My IPOd is syncing as I type this. :)


Moises said...

Can someone tell me how to fix this same problem from a mac OS?

Anonymous said...

Hello There
Did you know that you can use your iphone on any network worldwide? I just unlocked my iphone 3g and now i can use it on any network , it was really easy , i downloaded some files and fallow the instructions on unlock-iphone.org

[url=http://www.unlock-iphone.org]unlock iphone 3g[/url]

Anonymous said...

This was great! Thank you for helping...you should work with the guys at Apple.

Costa Rica said...

Thank you for sharing this easy fix.

Balaji said...

Thanks a lot my Friend !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Iphone really works via Disk Aid

maor.b said...


guru said...

laughto...i did what u said..bt i cant see my hidden files..plzz help

Raj said...

@Guru pls elobore, what os you are using.. which IOS....if windows make sure hidden files are visible from setting....

Anonymous said...

i love you

capriana said...


Thank you very much...I've been crazy for days trying to fix this, thank God I ran to your site, you're a GENIUS!!!

Honey Sakura @ eiMyLiciOus said...


thanks u so muchhhh!!!
now i can copy music n ringtones anytime!!!

ghenz soriano said...

thank u so much for this..
really helpful..it works for my 3gs..
it made me crazy for a couple of days..thank u so much Raj..

Anonymous said...