On my mac I've recently updated to the latest macOS version 10.13.5 and have installed Xcode 10 (beta 1). For my iPhone X there is an update available to 11.4 but i didn't install that yet. Now there is this weird pop up on my mac that keeps appearing, that I have never seen before:

enter image description here enter image description here

When the alert window is focused the menu in to top left corner of my screen doesn't change. So i can't tell from which application it's coming from, so I assume it's a system alert.

But the font size of the description is 12. Standard is 13. That popup doesn't look safe to me because of that and also the description is not really specific. I have 5 iOS devices connected.

I will update on my iPhone X directly and see if this popup still appears.


I've updated my iPhone X to iOS 11.4 but the pop up still appears.


I've found out that the popup is coming from a process called MobileDeviceUpdater

enter image description here


I've installed all updates to all my devices and the popup still appears.


I've sampled the process and it seems that it is an apple process.

Sampling process 14573 for 3 seconds with 1 millisecond of run time between samples
Sampling completed, processing symbols...
Analysis of sampling MobileDeviceUpdater (pid 14573) every 1 millisecond
Process:         MobileDeviceUpdater [14573]
Path:            /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/MobileDevice.framework/Resources/MobileDeviceUpdater.app/Contents/MacOS/MobileDeviceUpdater
Load Address:    0x10d689000
Identifier:      com.apple.MobileDeviceUpdater
Version:         1.0 (1)
Build Info:      MobileDeviceUpdater-988200034100003~2
Code Type:       X86-64
Parent Process:  ??? [1]

Date/Time:       2018-06-08 14:45:55.105 +0200
Launch Time:     2018-06-08 13:28:48.013 +0200
OS Version:      Mac OS X 10.13.5 (17F77)
Report Version:  7
Analysis Tool:   /usr/bin/sample

Physical footprint:         15.4M
Physical footprint (peak):  16.1M


I didn't include the Call graph and the Binary images.

The binary is located at:



I've hit the Install button and it tried to download one item but wasn't able to.

enter image description here enter image description here


There is still nothing to update. The popup keeps appearing and fails every time I hit the Install button ...

  • Where is MobileDeviceUpdater located? You can sample the process to find out.
    – grg
    Jun 8, 2018 at 11:10
  • As long as you don’t have anything suspicious or not popular apps / from the App Store, go ahead and install it. It’s probably just there was too much text that it downsized so it’s not a huge pop up. Jun 8, 2018 at 12:50
  • 4
    This seems like a very confusing and suspicious tool – However, it's official (see link below). The description is lacking clarity and I don't understand why such a tool is necessary... I wrote a feedback on: support.apple.com/en-us/HT208831 , asking for a better explanation.
    – skofgar
    Jun 22, 2018 at 17:35
  • 1
    This is oddly preventing me from backing up my iPad. I plug it in to my Mac and the iPad cycles between disconnecting/reconnecting every time this modal pops up.
    – ray
    Jul 2, 2018 at 1:59
  • Thank you for your work to let me know it is a trustworthy popup. And a same question on Reddit reddit.com/r/iphone/comments/8xong9/…
    – Bruce
    Sep 30, 2018 at 1:21

4 Answers 4


In some cases, the problem can be fixed by installing Xcode beta. ( The original question is within a context where Xcode is already a beta version ).

This error occurs when the version of macOS ( or iTunes or Xcode ) running on the computer is not compatible with the version of iOS on the device you're trying to connect.

Normally, updating the macOS to its current version could solve the problem. However, this won't work if the iOS device is running a newer beta version, and the Mac is not.

If you don't want to run the beta version of macOS (or downgrade the iOS device to a non-beta version), a solution is to install the beta version of Xcode.

Even though you may have no use for Xcode itself, its beta version includes the necessary software patches which will allow your existing macOS (and iTunes) to support devices running the iOS beta.

Download the Xcode beta from: https://developer.apple.com/download

The xip file will (eventually) unarchive into the full Xcode app. Drag it into your Applications folder, and then be sure to start Xcode. At that point it will install the necessary software components for the latest iOS beta. When it asks to open or create a project, you can quit Xcode.

iTunes could now recognize the iOS device.

Reference: https://ios.gadgethacks.com/how-to/fix-software-update-is-required-connect-your-iphone-warning-your-mac-0185898/

  • Answers should be more than just a link. Links can break anytime rendering a linkonly answer useless. Please summarize the relevant content of the linked page directly into your answer (and leave the link for reference). The idea is to make the answer stand on its own.
    – nohillside
    Jul 12, 2018 at 11:45
  • 1
    I have the latest (stable) versions both iOS and macOS, no Xcode and it still appears continuously. And the battery/charging icon on the phone keeps showing on and off.
    – Alex
    Aug 21, 2018 at 9:53
  • @Alex Exactly the same issue here Oct 15, 2018 at 21:17
  • Same here, just downloading Xcode beta to see if it will be fixed. I ues iOS 12 beta then upgrade to GM version, since GM is the release version there is not other update to show. Then I update to Mojave(not beta), reconnect keep going on. Update to iOS 12.0.1 still appears often.
    – Yam
    Oct 20, 2018 at 17:14
  • 1
    This answer didn't work for me. But here's what does: I plug the iphone cord into an unpowered 4-port USB hub, which is plugged into my macbook pro USB port. The iPhone charges slower, but the loop is broken. (issues with both iPhone 5s & iPhone XS, Macbook Pro mid-2015, Mojave/10.14) Nov 14, 2018 at 18:27

I received this error today. I have macOS Mojave and iOS 12 on an iPhone X. I used the phone with the mac for many minutes, then closed the lid (sleeping the machine) and re-opened it a few minutes later, and that's when the message appeared (the first one). I similarly found the popup to be suspicious.

It seems Apple has some bugs in their MobileDeviceUpdater software that cause this message to pop up spuriously.


This is happening to me with a MacBook Pro running High Sierra 10.13.6 and an iPhone X and iPad Pro running iOS 12.1. Apple support have told me that the solution is to upgrade to macOS Mojave, but I don't want to upgrade my entire OS at the moment. The error only occurs sporadically for me. Other people have reported that trying a different Lightning cable might work, or that the error only occurs when the phone is below a certain level of battery charge.


This is a result of Xcode 10 Beta 1 being installed, as far as I know. It no longer occurs.

  • 2
    It occurred to me recently. Jul 10, 2018 at 23:09
  • I don’t have Xcode installed and it still appears.
    – Alex
    Aug 21, 2018 at 9:51
  • @Alex Are you on the latest software versions?
    – Ezekiel
    Aug 21, 2018 at 22:55
  • Yes, I am. Both iOS and macOS are updated to the latest (stable) versions.
    – Alex
    Aug 22, 2018 at 8:27
  • 4
    Happened right now after connecting a iOS 12 (release) device to macOS high sierra. I've got Xcode 9 installed.
    – Jonny
    Sep 19, 2018 at 15:10

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .