After a MacOS install or update the message “A software update is required to connect to iPhone” often appears. For some users after downloading the install fails with the simple useless message that the install failed. This issue has defied solutions for many with countless workaround posted. The first time I called Apple Support about this they were clueless and offered the standard clueless solution - erase your Mac and reinstall.
While many things are possible that could trigger this issue, the one thing that is super easy to fix it has never to my knowledge been published that always works for me. Here it is:
- Open macOS System and choose System Preferences
- Click on File Sharing
- If anything is on, temporarily turn them off by clicking on their checkbox. If nothing is checked, this is not the issue.
- Unplug and then plug in the iPhone
- The software update message should pop up again. Click Install and be patient.
- The software should download and install without issue
- When completed, recheck the checkboxes you unchecked in File Sharing
Follow-up: After writing this I posted the issue on the Apple Discussions board with a link to Tidbits and this posting. Apple deleted it. They would rather have users with this issue continue to try to figure it out for themselves than have them get the solution from another reputable source.