Having an iPhone that won't sync to iTunes is a real pain. This feature shows you how to get your iPhone syncing problem fixed.
The iPhone is a great device for playing music, movies and other media. You can sync your iPhone with iTunes on your Mac or PC computer, and use it to play any of your iTunes content. Syncing an iPhone with iTunes is great, when it works. Occasionally there are problems with syncing an iPhone to iTunes on your computer.
If you find that your iPhone no longer syncs with a Mac or Windows computer, then these tips will help you fix the problem.
Fix iPhone that won't sync with iTunes: update iTunes and your iPhone
The first thing you should do is check that you are running the latest version of iTunes. Apple routinely issues fixes for common problems and updating to the latest edition of iTunes can often quickly fix your problem.
Here is how to update iTunes:
- iTunes for Mac: Apple > Software Update
- iTunes for Windows: Help > Check for Updates.
Fix iPhone that won't sync with iTunes: check the cables
Before heading any further, it's a good idea to check your iPhone USB cable. Unplug the current cable and plug it back in (using a different USB port). If you have access to a spare USB iPhone cable then try using that instead of your usual cable. Read: How to create playlists on your iPhone or iPad
Fix iPhone that won't sync with iTunes running on Windows
iTunes for Windows throws up a few additional errors that are worth taking a look at. This Apple Support Document lists additional things that Windows users should check if they have problems syncing their iPhone with iTunes:
Verify that Apple Mobile Device support is installed:
- For a Windows 7 PC: Click Start > Control Panel and Uninstall a Program. Verify that Apple Mobile Device Support is visible in the list of currently installed programs.
- For a Windows 8 PC: Click the magnifying class and type Control Panel and press Return. Verify that Apple Mobile Device Support is visible in the list of currently installed programs.
Restart the Apple Mobile Device Service
If an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch isn't working with iTunes on a Windows PC, the Apple Mobile Device Service may need to be restarted. The procedure for restarting the Apple Mobile Device service is quite lengthy, and Apple outlines the process in this document: How to restart the Apple Mobile Device Service (AMDS) on Windows.
Verify that the Apple Mobile Devices USB Driver is installed
The Apple Mobile USB Driver needs to be installed in Microsoft Windows for iPhone to sync. You manage this from the Windows Device Manager. The instructions are different depending on which version of Windows you are running. See this Apple Support document: iOS: Device not recognized in iTunes for Windows.
Check for third-party software conflicts
Some third party software may cause a problem with Windows recognizing the presence of the iPhone when it is connected to the computer. The best way to check this is to uninstall the other software temporarily.
Fix iPhone that won't sync with iTunes running on Windows: Remove iTunes and reinstall it
As a final fix, you should delete iTunes completely from your computer and reinstall it:
- Mac OS X: We think the easiest way to completely remove a Mac program is to use AppZapper. This Macworld article on downgrading iTunes has more information on using AppZapper to completely remove iTunes.
- Windows: This Apple Support article takes you through the process or removing iTunes completely: Removing and reinstalling iTunes and other software components for Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8
With iTunes completely removed you can visit the Apple iTunes web page and click Download iTunes. Now reinstall iTunes from scratch.
You can read more iTunes tutorials over in our iTunes topic zone, including:
- How to authorise your computer in iTunes
- How to burn a CD on a Mac using iTunes
- iTunes syncing tips for iPhone users
- Tidy up iTunes by removing duplicate songs
- How to add lyrics to iTunes
- How to sync iPhone to iTunes without erasing the content
- How to move your iTunes library to a new computer or external hard drive