What to do When iTunes Won’t Detect an iPhone, iPad, or iPod
You’ve plugged an iPhone into a computer, and nothing happens. You look in iTunes, and the iPhone, iPod, or iPad isn’t there. Great, now what? What in the heck is going on? Don’t worry, there are usually a few simple solutions that will resolve the problem, try these tricks first in any whatever order works best for you.
5 Simple Tricks to Get iTunes to Recognize an iOS Device
- Quit and relaunch iTunes
- Connect the iOS device to a different USB port on the computer
- Reboot the iPhone, iPad, or iPod
- Reboot the computer
- Use a different syncing cable (if possible)
If you happen to be using a USB dock, skip the USB dock and try connecting the USB cable directly to the computer as well.
The last option is most relevant for torn and frayed cables and for those using the cheapy third party cables that seem to fail .
The iPhone/iPad/iPod is Still Not Detected, Now What?
If the iPhone, iPad, or iPod is still not recognized by iTunes, the next thing you should do is delete iTunes and reinstall it with a fresh version from Apple. That process is going to be different whether the computer is a Mac or Windows PC.
- Uninstall iTunes: In OS X, iTunes is a protected app and must be uninstalled from the Terminal, in Windows it will be uninstalled through Control Panel
- Download and reinstall the latest version of iTunes from Apple
Reboot and try again, it should be detected now.
For iPhone / iPad Not Being Detected in Windows, Update iPhone Driver
For Windows PC users whose iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch is not being found or detected by iTunes or the computer, you can update the iOS Device Driver like so:
- Go to the Device Manager in Windows, and locate “Apple iPhone” under portable devices section
- Right click on the ‘Apple iPhone’ and choose “Update software”
- Now click “Browse on my computer”
- Navigate to C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple… and choose the folder called “Drivers”
The updated driver will install and update and iTunes should now detect the iPhone, ipad, or iPod touch as intended.
That driver approach is for Windows PC, for Mac there is no driver to update in OS X aside from iTunes and general OS X system software, which is updated from Apple menu > App Store > Updates.
Still Not Working?
If you’ve done all the troubleshooting tricks above and the iOS device is still not detected, try connecting the iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch to a different computer and see if it’s identified. This can help rule out if the problem is with the original computer, or if it’s a problem with the iOS device itself. If it’s connected to another computer and still won’t be recognized, there could be a problem with the physical connector port on the iOS device itself, or some other hardware related issue, and you’ll probably want to call Apple to sort it out. Before doing so, be sure to back up the device manually with iCloud, since iCloud will be able to backup important data in iOS even if the device can’t connect to a computer.
Have another solution for what you do when iTunes or a computer won’t detect an iPhone, iPad, or iPod? Let us know in the comments below, and share your tricks and troubleshooting techniques for Mac OS X and Windows!