I've plugged my Apple iPod into my computer and nothing happens - no icon appears, there's no response of any kind. How do I get iTunes to recognise the device?

This is the Apple device and iTunes conundrum. Apple uses iTunes to manage all of its iPod and iOS devices - a task which includes fixing, updating and restoring any software. But what if iTunes doesn't recognise your iPod or iOS device?

This seems to particularly affect owners of iPod classic, iPod nano and iPod shuffle devices and Windows computers. But a non-recognised Apple device can occur with the newer iOS-based devices: iPhone, iPad and iPod touch (and it can happen on both Windows and Mac). In this feature we'll look at some steps to follow if you've got a non-responsive Apple device, and how to get iTunes to recognise your iPod, iPhone or iPad.

Read: How to delete music from your iPhone

Check the connection between your iPod or iPhone and computer

Before heading into any troubleshooting steps, first make sure that it isn't a problem with the cable. Quickly go through these steps.

  1. Check the USB cable is connected to both your iPod or iOS device and computer.
  2. Try a different USB socket  on your Mac or PC, and see if that helps.
  3. Check the Lightning port or 30-pin connection socket on your iPod or iOS device for debris. Sometimes dust gets into the slot and prevents the device from making a connection.
  4. Try using a different USB cable to connect the device to the computer.

How to make iTunes (on a Windows PC) recognise an iPod, iPhone or iPad

Do you trust this computer alert

If you've got a Windows computer and don't see the Apple device when you connect it to your computer, follow these steps:

  • Turn off your Windows PC and your iOS device, and turn both back on again.
  • Update iTunes on your Windows PC. Open iTunes and choose Help > Check for Updates.
  • Watch your iOS device when you plug it into your computer, and check for an alert. Click Trust.
  • If you see the Do You Trust this Computer? alert repeatedly you may not have iTunes installed. You can install the latest version of iTunes for Windows here.

Note that you don't need to put your device into Recovery Mode when following these steps.

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Get iTunes for Windows to recognise an iPod: Check Apple Mobile Device Support

Apple Mobile Device Support

When you install iTunes for Windows you also install a program called Apple Mobile Device Support. Follow these steps to ensure that Apple Mobile Device is installed.

  1. Open the Search (in the upper-right in Windows 9, lower-left in Windows 10) and search for Control Panel.
  2. Click Uninstall a Program.
  3. Check that Apple Mobile Device Support is listed in the current programs.

If you can't see Apple Mobile Device Support then you need to reinstall iTunes for Windows.

If you have trouble installing iTunes for Windows, or see "error 7" or "error 2" after installation, then follow the steps in this Apple Support Document: If you can't install or update iTunes for Windows.

Install iTunes for Windows PC

Read: How to stop using iTunes, the best iTunes alternatives

How to make iTunes (on a Mac) recognise an iPod, iPhone or iPad

It is less likely (although still possible) for an Apple Mac to be unable to recognise an iPod or iOS device. In this case, you should check the following:

  • Check your USB connection - in particular, check the socket for dust and residue.
  • Try a different USB port.
  • Try a different USB cable.
  • Make sure that you have tapped the Trust button on your iOS device when you connect it to your Mac.
  • Restart your iOS device, or restart your iPod.
  • Restart your Mac.
  • Check for Software Updates on your Mac.
  • If you have any security software installed, this could be causing a problem between iTunes and your Mac. Follow this Apple Support document to resolve the problem: Resolve issues between iTunes and Security Software.

Read next: Complete guide: How to update iOS on iPhone or iPad

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