Photo credit: B Rosen (Flickr)

One of our regular readers, @nishmyshkin recently got in touch to ask us why his iPhone 3GS wouldn’t let him upgrade his iOS to a newer firmware. Each time he tried he got the following message: “The iPhone could not be restored . This device isn’t eligible for the requested build.

Thankfully the solution is simple and falls into one of two areas:

  1. The iOS version that’s been downloaded isn’t the right one for the device.
  2. There’s an entry in your host file redirecting Apple traffic to another location.
In most cases, it’ll be the second option. As a quick test on the machine where you’re trying to do a restore put the following into a web browser If an Apple 404 page (page not found) is displayed then you should be good to restore and therefore you should re-download the required firmware, reboot both your computer and the iPhone and try again. If an index page is displayed (like displayed below) then it means you’ve got entries in your host file you need to remove.

The process for removal on Mac and Windows machines is slightly different but we’ve detailed them below:

Mac OS X

1. On your Mac, open your Applications folder.

2. Navigate to the Utilities folder.

3. Open Terminal.

4. Type “sudo nano /etc/hosts” (without quotes) and press enter.

5. Enter your password

6. Use the down arrow key to find the entries. Once the cursor is in front, make sure you comment out the line(s) by entering # in front of the text.

7. Save the file by pressing CONTROL+O.

8. Exit the nano editor by pressing CONTROL+X.

9. Restore your iDevice.


1. Press Start, then Programs, then Accessories

2. Launch Notepad or WordPad

3. Click Open from File menu.

4. Browse to Windows/System32/drivers/etc

5. In “files of type:” select all documents

6. Open “hosts

7. Delete all line that have or similar

8. Hit Save

9. Restore your device

You should now be sorted and up and running! Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments section below.

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