How to Fix iTunes When It’s Not Syncing with iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch

Jun 30, 2013 - 141 Comments

iOS is obviously going in the direction of not needing iTunes at all, but in the meantime you still need to sync an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to copy over music libraries, videos, media, perform local backups, apps, and more. Typically iTunes will sync with an iOS device without incident, but sometimes things go awry, and iTunes just won’t sync at all. If you find yourself in that frustrating situation, here is what you can do to fix it and get the iPhone, iPod, or iPad syncing with iTunes on a Mac or PC again.

Fix iTunes when it won't sync

We’re going to cover a variety of troubleshooting tricks to fix the syncing problem here, try each in descending order until the problem is resolved. Do note this guide is aimed at resolving actual syncing problems (ie: the transfer of data between iTunes and the computer), not at problems with detecting the devices themselves. If iTunes won’t even find an iOS device, refer to this guide to resolve detection related problems.

Before Beginning: Update to the Newest iTunes

Before trying anything else, be sure you have the newest version of iTunes on the computer. This applies to both Mac OS X and Windows. Sometimes just updating to the newest version of iTunes is enough to resolve all syncing problems, particularly if the desktop software hasn’t been updated in a while. You can always download the newest version of iTunes directly from Apple by clicking here. Update iTunes before proceeding.

1: Quit & Relaunch iTunes, Then Perform a Manual Sync

Simply quit out of iTunes, then relaunch the app, and try syncing again. Sometimes this is enough to get things working again.

1b: Syncing Works But No Music / Movies / Apps Copy Over to iOS?

If syncing now works but no content, music, apps, or movies is moving over to the iPhone, iPad, or iPod, check the following:

  • Under the “Summary” tab, check if “Manually manage music and videos” is enabled or not, if it is then try toggling it off and on again then manually drag a song or movie over to the iOS device to force manual syncing
  • Look under the “Music”, “Movies”, “Apps”, “TV Shows” or respective tabs and be sure that “Sync Music”, “Sync Movies” etc is checked and enabled
  • Try checking and unchecking those boxes, then hit the “Sync” button again

These content and media transfer issues are often just a misunderstanding of how those preferences work. Personally, I prefer to manually sync my music and media, so I have all of the individual content sync features disabled and sync everything myself through drag & drop.

2: Re-Authorize iTunes & the Computer

If syncing fails, the Sync button is greyed out and not available at all, or if you try to sync and nothing transfers over to the iPhone, iPod, or iPad, you may simply need to authorize the computer with iTunes:

  • Open iTunes with the iOS device attached to the computer through USB
  • Pull down the “Store” menu and choose “Deauthorize This Computer”
  • Now go back to the Store menu and choose “Authorize This Computer”
  • Fill in the Apple ID and password information, then choose “Authorize”

Authorize the Computer with iTunes to Sync

This is a surprisingly common problem and it’s extremely easy to resolve. iTunes Authorization basically tells Apple that the apps, music, and media you have purchased belong to you, and that you have the rights to them and thus that media can be copied and synced to your iOS devices.

If you encounter authorization specific problems related to the 5 device limit, you may need to deauthorize other machines before you are able to sync the iOS device with the current one.

2: Reboot the iOS Device

Restarting an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch is just a matter of Holding down the Power button and Home button simultaneously until the device restarts. Technically, that approach is called a Hard Reboot because it forcibly restarts the iOS device, but in situations where things are acting up, crashing, or just not behaving properly, it’s usually more effective to force reboot than to use the standard power-off approach.

Force reboot an iPad

Once the iOS device has been restarted, try syncing again.

3: Restart the Computer

Yes restarting the computer can be annoying, but sometimes just restarting a Mac or PC is enough to resolve the problem and get things syncing again. This is particularly true if the issue has to do with a malfunctioning daemon like the iTunesHelper Service or the AppleMobileDevice Helper process.

4: Try the Opposite Syncing Method: Wi-Fi or USB

Typically use Wi-Fi Syncing? Try using a USB cable instead. Usually use a USB cable? Try using Wi-Fi syncing instead to see if that works. USB syncing is usually the most reliable method, and it’s not terribly uncommon for wi-fi sync to be a bit more picky.

4b: Wireless Syncing Randomly Stopped Working

If you find wireless sync to suddenly stop working, you typically just have to toggle the feature on and off again to get it functioning again, which must be done by connecting the iPhone, iPad, or iPod to the computer by USB and rechecking the “Sync over Wi-Fi” option again under the Summary tab. This is basically like enabling it again for the first time, and only takes a moment:

Toggle wireless syncing on and off

With wireless syncing, be sure that both the iOS device and the computer are on the same wireless network. It will not work if they are not joined to the same network.

If USB syncing isn’t working but Wi-Fi syncing is working, then you may have a faulty USB cable, or there may be an issue with the USB port you are attempting to use, and that leads us to the next troubleshooting tip.

5: Try a Different USB Port & USB Cable

Sometimes USB ports go bad, and though it’s pretty rare it’s very easy to rule out. All you need to do is switch the USB cable from one port to another and see if it works.

Also, try using a different USB cable entirely, whether it’s another Lightning cable or the old-fashioned 30-pin adapters. Some of the cheaper third party cables are notorious for not working properly and leading to syncing problems, and even some of the Apple branded cables can malfunction after they’ve been in use for a long time, especially if you see a weird kink in the cable itself or any fraying in the physical cable.

6: Reset & Restore the iOS Device

Still having problems? Try resetting and restoring the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. The best way to do this is through a three step process to preserve your data through a backup, then reset it to as new, then restore from a backup:

  • Create a new fresh backup of the iOS device, either to iTunes or to iCloud
  • After the backup is complete, reset to factory defaults from the device itself by going to Settings > General > “Erase All Content and Settings” – this will erase everything on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod and return it to the factory defaults as if the device was brand new, which is why it’s important to have created a backup first
  • Now restore the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch by using the backup you just created, this can be restored through iTunes or iCloud from the initial setup menus

Restore from a Backup

Backing up to iCloud and restoring from iCloud is often the most simple process, but it can be slightly slower than using iTunes because it must transfer all of the data over the internet rather than a local USB connection. On the other hand, if you have a faulty USB connection, then the iTunes method will not be possible and you’ll have to use iCloud instead. Both ways work basically the same, so it’s really a matter of preference as to what you choose.

Resetting and restoring is the last troubleshooting step you should take yourself, and if things still are not working properly then go ahead and contact the official Apple support line or visit a Genius Bar to get things sorted out.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting


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  1. Rick says:

    You beauty! worked like a charm. thanks buddy. :)

  2. trish says:

    I was able to get my music on my old iPod Classic by dragging from the Songs folder in iTunes. It is syncing copying now. What I don’t know is if I will get my Playlists.

  3. John Kool says:

    I was trying to restore a replacement iPad with a backup. But it kept giving me the message (paraphrased) “can’t restore because your iPad is over capacity by xxxx” But there should have been enough room.

    I tried all the previous suggestions, removing the library, creating a new one and importing the old library information. Different cable. Hard reset of iPad. I can’t remember all the things I tried. And it just wasn’t working and it was consuming a lot of my time.

    I added up the file sizes of the songs I was trying to sync, and it was nowhere near the space that iTunes was reporting.

    But then, I sorted my library by “time” of song. And I found a whole bunch of these selections showing the wrong time, and all exactly the same, 789:57:13!

    My solution was to reveal in the finder, open with Fission (an audio editor from Rogue Amoeba) and save. I suppose you could use another editor, like Audacity. Perhaps using iTunes to convert it again to AAC. I don’t know.

    The tune’s time did not update in the library until I tried to play the file. But it did update correctly and I was able to sync with no more problems.

    This is something else you might try before creating a new library and taking the time to restore all of your play lists, etc.

  4. GaryC says:

    I tend to think that “backing up” iOS devices needs to be done with at least a small Cat with full metal tracks. Put device behind the Cat & “Backup”. LOL

  5. Liam says:

    I find iTunes the worst music app ever invented. I always have issues with it, I have enough memory on my phone and refuse to pay for iTunes, I just want to store and listen to my own music. After not being on the PC for a while, I installed two new albums, iTunes would not sync and eventually when it would sync, the latest two new albums, it deletes all previous music I had installed, at a very time consuming effort, I had tgone to previously to install. This software is so behind the times, I’m ashamed to say I own an apple phone. Samsung got things correct years ago with their software, apple you should feel ashamed of your rubbish software, I never encounter so many issues and problems with iTunes, it’s just not that user friendly and is not designed to be easy to use, there’s always issues with copying over music, I bought and payed for these albums, not digital downloads, which only give you a license to listen to music, the actual CD, I just simply want to listen to my own music. It’s so frustrating that I will never purchase another apple phone, I’ve had enough, Apple do not listen to their customers, we pay enough for these expensive phones and just trying to rope more money out of us is a scam and a pathetic way for such a big company such as Apple to behave. Just because I won’t pay for storage, that I do not need nor will ever use, I feel I’m being victimised and I’m sure I’m not the only one. With the money Apple makes through phone sales, you would think that they could at least get Good proficient software developers, to get a good working music app that benefits the customers, to the best of their ability. Simply iTunes does not do what consumers want it to do, as consumers, we have constant problems to store and listen to our own music, all designed around trying to get you to pay more, and if you don’t pay more money through subscriptions, you encounter issues, you would think apple would have learned from their cheap battery replacement service after they deliberately slowed people’s phones down to try and make them purchase newier more expensive phones, but they messed that up also, trying to convince people that problems need fixed before they can replace a battery, what a darn big black lie, I hear of people being asked £100+ before apple would replace a battery, shame on you apple. Your time is running out, people aren’t that stupid, we can see a scam a million miles away, you will suffer a big dramatic fall in customers, just like Nokia did, and it’s only round the
    Corner, sooner than you may believe, if you don’t start to treat customers with respect and dignity, the same fate lays in wait. If you keep loyal customers happy, you have them customers for life, seems like your CEO is only interested in his big bonuses, not something a customer cares about. Samsung seem to have a better understanding of business practises and I think that this will benefit Samsung and they will prevail in the long term and this will make them the Worlds No1, in phone sales and supply, which won’t be in the not too distant future, if you continue with your illethical practices and Samsung will deserve it.
    Apple you need to get your head out of the clouds and start listening to your consumers, or the end is nigh for your over price products and services.
    Simply make apps that are easy to use, user friendly, which don’t require subscriptions and work as they are intended to function. I hope you listen, if not, all I can say is “I told you so”.

    • leo marinus says:

      Liam learn how to use a computer : Mac is far a superior device next to microsoo*t and far better engineering than Delli card chip. you just don’t know how to use an apple.


  6. Trevor Bottomley says:

    Tried all methods, but still hangs up when trying to copy photos from computer to iPad or iPhone. I had updated to the latest version of iTunes when it told me a new version was available – that was my mistake, as it worked fine before I did this. Wish I’d left it as it was, as trying various solutions and it removing all my 15,000+ images, find I can’t get them back onto my devices.

    • Trevor Bottomley says:

      Update: Just tried JC’s suggestion of stopping and restarting Apple Mobile Services as below:

      Close iTunes
      remove off iPad etc
      Press Windows logo and R
      Type in: services.msc
      Click OK
      select Apple Mobile Services, right click
      Click Properties
      Start up Auto
      Click Stop service
      After stopped click Start service
      Click Ok
      Restart computer
      Open iTunes
      Connect iPad

      This seems to have worked, and from my Photos folder, selected one at a time one of the sub folders to synchronise, and so far it’s synched OK. Just hope the rest will sync!

  7. Peter Brimacombe says:

    after trying everything else I had to reset and restore
    that worked, I had to re-enter my apple id at least twice

  8. Goerdt Lamberts says:

    Tried this one and followed the steps
    It worked with a hard reset .Thanks a bunch very helpfull. Spend hours on fixing it with other sites to no avail.
    Goog job

  9. Stormy Steele says:

    Thank you so much for your tips! I just had to find the where to check “sync.” in order to transfer my library to my iPod nano.

  10. Joanne Moore says:

    Thank You! I unauthorized and then reauthorized my computer, and am now able to sync to my ipod.

  11. Karen Lewsader says:

    4b worked! Thanks so much.

  12. Chas English says:

    My iPhone 5s was disabled for no reason (I know my password). Could update it BUT cannot bypass iTunes’ “trust this computer” with a disabled iPhone. Nor can I sync iTunes/iPhone. Please please please help! I don`t want to lose my data.

  13. Jin says:

    I did all of this but nothing worked. I have an iPod 4th generation and whenever I press the sync button it fakes me out like its syncing then no music actually gets transferred.

  14. gillincrete says:

    I have had sporadic problems syncing my iPod Touch with my computer. The bar at the bottom of the summary screen becomes all yellow, instead of dividing into different colours for different content. I tried all of the above and this time it finally worked by re booting the iPod.

  15. jack says:

    I have a mini 2 (128k) and a 9.7 ipad pro (128k). I’ve experienced sync problems with both, with ios7 and then 8 and then 9 and (today) 10.

    This seems to work for me: I keep on hand another iTunes library, with only a few tracks in it. When I have trouble syncing from a revised library to an ipad, and nothing else has worked, I synch to this, different dummy iTunes library. After I indicate my willingness to lose what’s already on the ipad, it loads up the few audio files from this dummy library. Then, when it’s done, I load up the library that I actually want sync’d and repeat, after (again) indicating willingness to lose all the data loaded from the dummy library.

    As it happens, as I’m keying this message in, iTunes is right now syncing to a library after several earlier failures.

    A troublesome method, but it works for me after everything else failed.

    dummto a revised libraru

    • jack says:

      okay, another thought:

      Today I was making some extensive changes to an iTunes library while the ipad was plugged into the computer (a mac running a recent upgrade to the OS). Maybe I shouldn’t have plugged it in until I had completed my revisions to the library?

  16. samos says:

    cool, it worked.. think it was the USB port..!!

  17. JC says:

    This worked for me
    Close itunes
    take off pod etc
    Press Windows logo and R
    Type in: services.msc
    Click OK
    select Apple mobile right click
    Click properties
    Start up auto
    Click Stop service
    After stopped Click start service
    Click Ok
    Restart computer
    Open itunes
    Connect Ipod

  18. Ulysses says:

    none of the ones listed worked for me I am having trouble with only ten songs out of my whole playlist which only started after I ripped my new CD and updated the iPod any ideas on trouble shooting?

  19. Val says:

    Thank you for publishing this! By some miracle, one of the above seemed to work. Thank you!

  20. David says:

    All I had to do is reboot my iPhone 6s, i would’ve never thought that all i had to do is that!

  21. Daniel says:

    Simply turning it off and on again(exiting iTunes and reopening it) worked for me. Thanks this took longer that I would like to admit

  22. Vicky says:

    I got an error can any one tell a solution to solve this please….
    icloud photos is on
    iphone can access photos in icloud.Photos can be downloaded to your device via wi-fi or cellular network

    • Vicky says:

      this error occured when I tried to sync my mobile with pc using itunes…..When I clicked the photos under phone option this error message displays in my screen..

  23. Clare says:

    Hi, my calendar will sync from my HP computer to my IPhone, but the caldendar from my Iphone will not update on to my computer HP Probook. Can anyone offer any advice?

  24. Kevin C says:

    I recently lost my phone sync/charge cable and bought a new one. I thought it was a genuine apple product. Now my phone won’t sync, it charges and is detected by laptop sync app. I ran iTunes diagnostic tool. checked updates on pc and phone, restarted everything, did the authorise computer thing as well. Nothing seems to work. Does it have to be synced with original cable? What am I missing

  25. pete says:

    i have lost faith in apple completely, none of the above worked for me,
    i have 5 apple products that dont sync, time to look at android

    • Mike says:

      Same here pete i’m totaly disapointed with apple l have a lpad 4 and a lphone 6 tryed synking both…lost all my pics(over 3000) and cant get them back itune hqngs on step 4 of 4 …. No apple care $$$$ no help 👎🏻

  26. Callistus says:

    Having problems with my iPhone, it’s charging to can’t read a data connection

  27. Molly says:

    Wonderful! Worked for me. I spent two days trying to sync newer music to my iPhone. Restarting iTunes worked, thanks!

  28. Dennies Dube says:

    When I connect the phone to my laptop, I only get the memory information on the laptop and allow/don’t allow the phone to access photos and videos. I want to sync the phone. Please help

  29. kwaldenwood says:

    I specifically bought an iPod Touch 64 gb to act as my secondary music library backup and for mobile music. It fails to sync ALL of my library. I have tried every fix from resetting to erasing the device and starting over. Nothing seems to work. If the album is marked “compiliation” it will not sync. It shows up as being on the device on iTunes, if I play it from iTunes it plays the music but if I disconnect the device, the music stops playing. It does not however display on the iPod. I have spent countless hours on this and am VERY frustrated. This is on a PC using Windows 10 and all I-devices are current release. Apple should be better than this.

  30. dupa says:

    sorry, The itune software should have been fixed …

  31. dupa says:

    The itune software should fixed long time ago. It is a shame and those work arounds are just stupid.

  32. Jon says:

    My problem is that when I upgraded from an iPod Nano (7.3 GBs) to an iPod Touch (32 GBs), after all songs and playlists copied perfectly to the Touch, any new songs I purchased after that initial sync won’t sync/move to playlists in which I place them….as they easily did with the Nano. Instead, they just sync/go to a Purchase playlist, which I really would never play. How can I place the added songs where I want them and have iPod Touch sync/move them there???

  33. Pam says:

    I just got the iPhone 6s and my music did not transfer when I got the phone. I tried to sync to my MAC, but I’m receiving the error message “cannot be used because it requires a newer version of iTunes” How do I solve this?

  34. Kewel says:

    Deleting all apps worked perfectly for my iphone. Now i can sync .

  35. Larry says:

    When I tried to sync a new iPod that I had bought my wife, it wouldn’t work. Not only that, it crashed the computer. The result of trying to fix the problems was that the iPod was erased and wouldn’t sync even though all of the songs showed up in iTunes. In desperation I decided to make a play-list of the songs. When I copied the first songs a message came up that they would be copied to my computer. I said yes. I copied all of the songs to the play-list, went to the iPod and pushed the sync button.

    Voila! All synced.

  36. Pam says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  37. Mal says:

    Deauthorizing, then reauthorizing my computer fixed the issue for me
    Thanks :-)

  38. Gio says:

    Same problem – won’t sync all of my music to my iPhone, tends to sync some but not all. My “Various Artist” albums fail to sync. Any thoughts much appreciated.

  39. Robby says:

    i had the problem where when if I didn’t buy form iTunes it stayed my pc wasn’t authorized to sync my stuff so what I did was uninstalled iTunes and reinstalled it and it worked

  40. Hannah says:

    My itunes is showing “error -54” when I try to sync my music to it. I have used Spotify for awhile now but am attempting to swtich to Apple Music as to free up some space on my phone. Any idea how to solve this error?

  41. Hal says:

    I had the same problem syncing after it had trouble updating the iOS but finally succeeded. I followed all the steps including backing up to iCloud. Reset the phone and not only does it still not sync, there was no iCloud backup. This will be my first and last iPhone.

    • Hal says:

      I am not sure what iCloud was supposed to backup but my contacts all showed up which is what I was worried about. All messages gone but oh well.

  42. Rodness says:

    Lost sync capaility to my iPad about a year ago – some songs only, some appear on iPad, but do not play. Happened near the time I tried to install Match – not sure if that anything to do with it. laptop OS is Vista.

  43. Walt says:

    Ok lets start by saying, paid 760$ for my 128gb iphone 6 plus. Started adding all my crap to it. Finally got everything right like my old iphone 4. Then, i said, well, ive been waiting to get a big phone to add my 31gb of music to. So, what do i do? Plug it in, like ive done every other iphone, ipod, ipad ive ever had. Sync it. And soon as it finishes, the bottom bar that shows the colors for whats on the phone, went from 31gb of music, to 0. Thats after waiting almost 30mins for the huge mass of music to sync in the first place. Then i said ok, tried it again, and again. And finally said alright, got online and started doing all the suggested things, rebooting, restarting, resetting, factory reset, turn this off, turn that off, and so i tried about 15-20 times now and low and behold it still only puts some songs on my phone. It will NOT sync all the music, and almost all of what it does sync is purchased on itunes. And whats worse? It changes! If i close the Music app and go back into it, sometimes an Artist will have 2-3 songs, then 1 song. WTF is the deal here Apple?

  44. jon says:

    Thank you!!!!

  45. Returnfinder says:

    updating my iTunes solved the issue…thanks much for the article…

  46. Betty says:

    First iTunes wouldn’t sync to my ipod, then it wouldn’t sync to my phone. What’s going to break next !

  47. Rudi says:

    iPhone keep messing around and turning s good product into a pile of s..t. £699 for the iPhone 6 and she won’t sync. None of listed help actually works and I even called iPhone direct. And they say I must send my phone in for a check. So I’ll be without my phone that costs the same as my laptop for how many weeks. Farce of the highest order

  48. GUrpreet says:

    Something works for me but i don’t know…. i had done only 2 things….
    1. changed the port and
    2. Deauthorized and again authorized my account

  49. Rory says:

    I can ‘t sync my recent download or any music onto my Ipod. iTunes says some of the music has come from another application, and nothing happens. Can anyone help please.

  50. Dreba says:

    Started syncing after I shut down the computer, then turned it back on. Very basic, but, DAMN! Right on the money!!! Thanks!!

  51. Makayla says:

    none of this worked. not a single thing.

    • wroga says:

      This does work to resolve syncing problems for everyone but you, so what does that tell you? You must follow the instructions. Be sure you plug in your iPhone to the iTunes computer, and update iTunes first.

  52. kevalme says:

    I have tried everything including BAcking up and reloading.
    My iphone 5c will still not copy my music from iTunes to me iphone.

    Does anybody have any useful suggestions
    (other than ditching Apple altogether as they have become another faceless corporate who don’t give a damn as long as they fleece you of your money)

  53. Jake sisko says:

    Thanks. Had it working after step 2. Excellent info.

  54. Some good ideas here – thanks.

    After many frustrating hours, I decided to turn off the parental restrictions I had put in place on my kids iPad. Even though the movies I was trying to sync were rated PG, they wouldn’t copy.

    Turned off restrictions – they all synced right away!

  55. Doug says:

    iTunes is the worst program I have *ever* used. I have no idea why folks are such fans. Next computer / Tablet I get will be a MS surface. Honestly. iTunes is a screwed-up disgrace. What a frustrating mess. I have been using an iPad for years, and am tired of the problems Apple has *never* resolved in iTunes. Not to mention the mess that made of iPhoto.

    I can only echo Monty Python… run away!!!

  56. Corey says:

    I have the iphone 4s and this was plaguing me for about a week. I was at the gym and my phone just reset and lost all the songs I had that I didn’t purchase from iTunes. I tried EVERYTHING from the restore to the reboot, to unauthorized to authorize. Then I went under options and checked to manually manage music and videos. From there I deleted all of the songs I had on there and re-synced it afterwards and my 3,565 songs are now being synced to my iphone as I type.

  57. Janet says:

    Funny really, spent hrs trying to get the iphone 5s to be recognized by itunes on the mac and just found out it was plugged into the mains behind the mac not to the mac usb!!
    You never no how simple it can be…….

  58. DJ says:

    One thing most people don’t realize about iTunes is this. If your like me, when I reorganize my computer I move files around.. if you don’t tell iTunes that u moved it by re drag-dropping so that iTunes knows the files location it will go through the syncing process and NOT SYNC your movies or music. if there is an exclamation marker next to the movie / album you want to sync have iTunes locate the file.

  59. Rodger Lodger says:

    I can’t believe I had to research my problem only to be reminded here the best fix for most problems is to reboot the program. I just rebooted iTunes on my computer and lo and behold everything is visible once again on my iPhone. I’ve fixed computer and cable box and internet box etc problems for years just by rebooting but I still forget this universal simple all-purpose fix!

  60. Roshan says:

    Hey guys, i had the same problem on my iPad and i did the de-authorization/authorization thing a zillion times but to no avail.

    So as the last option i thought of backing up the ipad to my computer and restoring it to factory settings, and to my surprise, during the backup process, a message popped up about one application that could not be backed up as it was installed using a different computer ( i installed an called File App Pro using my office laptop). Then what i did was, deleting the relevant app on my ipad. Afterwards when i synced everything worked well. What a relief that was after hours of frustration!!

  61. Ea5yBill says:

    None of this worked for me. I now have an iPhone without Music sync-ing capability. How interesting.

  62. Ossy says:

    After trying everything, I downloaded the latest versions of iTunes and my iPod touch, turned off my iCloud account and rebooted my pc. Then turned off and turned back on my iPod and then it worked! Phew! Many thanks for the tips.

  63. Johnny says:

    Thank you! I was able to simply toggle the manually manage music and videos and it worked. Thanks again for saving me from a migraine lol :)

  64. Doug says:

    After days of frustration and no help from Apple other than 1. Try it again – sometimes it “magically” works or 2. Restore and set up as new – I found out that no one knows where the issue is. What I will tell you is that iTunes does not communicate well with the iPhone or iPad. I would get stuck on “waiting for changes to be applied” for hours. I read all of the blogs and tried everything. As soon as I unchecked sync music and sync- nothing would change on my iPhone – you would expect all of the music to be taken off. It was not. When I then rechecked sync music – I was informed that there was not enough space on my iPhone. So clearly – the music was not removed and then by rechecking – iTunes then could not transfer another duplicate batch of songs onto my 128gb iPhone without running out of space. So here I am stuck – unable to utilize my iPhone as my music player. What finally DID WORK was to unplug the iPhone from iTunes and manually delete all music from the iPhone – we are talking about 8000 songs – but under usage – it is just a simple swipe. Replugged everything in and voila – all songs were transferred. Who knows how long this will last – but at least it is working again. Hope this helps.

  65. IanFOs says:

    I discovered that the default of turning iTunes Match on was causing chaos in synchronising music to my phone and tablet. The vast majority of songs was set to download over the air. If you are travelling it is not reasonable to assume that you will always have access to the cloud and be able to download music to play it. Turn Match off if you want physical copies of media on your devices.

  66. Liam says:

    After every couple syncs I have to restore my phone because the sync will not finish. It goes up to the final part example 5 of 5 and it never stops until I restore the phone.

  67. Gordon says:

    I have restored Ipod Classic 120 gb more than once now and it syncs fine! But when I use any functions and especially go into music it locks up and goes back to the “Apple Icon”…Battery is fine and holds charge for this also happens even when plugged into power source…PLEASE HELP! I LOVE MY IPOD AND CANNOT AFFORD A NEW ONE AT THIS TIME!

  68. McGee says:

    I was ECSTATIC when I got my new iPhone 6… but that joy was shortlived as soon as I discovered the gray dotted rings of death. Turns out my iPhone can’t even perform one of the most fundamental tasks that it was designed to do: syncing data.

  69. William says:

    What finally worked for me was reinstalling iTunes (download new copy from Apple and check it, quit iTunes, kill iTunes Helper process, and remove from Login options, drag iTunes application to trash, empty trash, reboot, reinstall – I left iTunes prefs files in place though). I have a 2006 32-bit iMac that can’t run iTunes versions above 11.4 – possibly this was part of the problem in my case.

    I had also removed all the duplicate songs I could find (though I read elsewhere that some near-duplicates that View Duplicates doesn’t spot can still mess up syncing) and I’m afraid that in my impatience I didn’t test that step on its own so I don’t know whether duplicates alone were the issue.

    The symptoms in my case were sync completing immediately without reporting any errors, but without doing anything. The only music on my iPhone 6 was the free U2 album. I didn’t have the dotted grey circles reported elsewhere, it just synced nothing in any combination of manual/auto/wired/wireless, and the iMac never appeared on the phone’s “iTunes Wi-Fi Sync” list.

    I notice (rather late) there is a Sync Diagnostics utility. I don’t know whether it helps with music sync issues, but it seems like a guided diagnostics tool is the kind of thing that’s needed.

    • Craig says:

      Hi William,
      I seem to be in the same boat as you. iMac 32 bit !
      To all you technical whizzes – don’t preach at us experts. I have owned Mac longer than you have been alive, and I can call on my 13 year old for ideas if nothing else works.
      In a word nothing can fix Williams problem. I’ve been through every blog and upgraded 2 i-Phones ( 5 and 6) with exactly the same outcome, Sync button can be pressed but does nothing to transfer songs. All the listed ideas have be executed with no result. Factory reboots / Back-ups re-installs, deleting current music (*the worst idea it just turns your phone into a Dumb phone). I’d say I’ve wasted more than 50 hours on this “Sync” issue now.
      I have owned 27 apple devices and it is only the last 4 (3 i-Phones and 1 i-Pad Air) that Apple has embargoed. We are no longer worthy of Apples support, as Apple reaps their sword to cull out any users that have refused to buy a new desktop less than a few months old, everyone else Apple is abandoning. Just ask if we can upgrade to Mavericks – no such luck. The problem is users who are still running working machines now see the other options – Galaxy and Surface users are not reporting such behavior by their providers, I think it is time that we revolt, and put our Apples in a Junk sale.
      So Apple doesn’t want to support seamless use anymore, then we no longer support the one and only reason we bought into Steve Jobs idea in the first place.
      It’s not a wrist slashing moment to change sides, just practical. Bye bye Apple.

  70. Rhonda says:

    I have never, until last month, considered anything other than Apple. Now, with my iPhone being unable to be synced with my itunes on my mac, I’m thinking there has to be another way. Tired of the changes, Apple. Get back to being the simple solution.

  71. Paul L says:

    Trying to sync music from my itunes account to ipod classic and spending WAYYY too mmuch time doing this. WTH is the problem with these Apple products?

    What a pain in the arse this has turned into.

  72. aloish says:

    simple solution: get an Android phone!

  73. Shawn says:

    I have more songs on my phone than on my computer, how is this even possible? I have like 1000 songs on my phone but only 200 on my iTunes on my computer. How can I make sure both are the same at 1000 songs? Sync didn’t work and neither did anything else on the list.

  74. Huey says:

    none of this worked.

  75. Dimitri says:

    Shame on Apple. They simply do not care about their customers. I love my ipod classic. It is an Apple product right Apple? iTunes will not sync with it rendering it useless because after the newest update it will not communicate with it and it corrupts the itunes files in my PC so the iPod cannot be recognized. How many times do you think your customers can wipe itunes and install it again to make it work as your pathetic support reccomends? I have to do it every time I want to add music to my library. Fix it jack!

  76. Jasper says:

    I have a problem because i just synced a file into my ipad air (im using the latest version of itunes), but when i synced it again it said i had to authorize my computer and ive authorized and de-authorized it a couple of times already. Ive restarted and resetted my ipad but nothing happened and ive done everything on the lsit but the same thing happened

  77. Dennis Marauszwski says:

    The new itunes upgrade (downgrade) sucks !!!! I’ve never had more problems trying to sync my 4S.

  78. O Akilo says:

    My ipad 2 ios8.0 could not sync complete and keep on popping out with “my computer not authorized” so I authorize it, yet the message persisted, can somebody help me out

  79. m~Wax says:

    The deauthorize—authorize trick did it for me.

    Thanks a lot.

  80. Al says:

    Ios8 and iMac 10.6.8 I think. Two weeks ago it won’t sync music or film. Let’s me choose to but soon as sync button is pressed the data bar at the bottom says “other” and the sync button is greyed out. It happens immediately. I’ve tried all the options.

  81. Lisa says:

    Anyone have a problem with there sync button being greyed out. I cannot get my phone or my pad to sync. Even option under file is greyed out.

  82. michel-ki says:

    3 days ago (after installing Spotify on my Iphone 4s and my Macbook Pro), Itunes doesn’t synchronize with neither my Ipad, my ipod touch, nor my iphone.
    Whenever my computer detects and loads my connected device, in the “activity monitor” a “crashreport” pops up that sucks 105% of my CPU haha. I have to eject my device in order to prevent my computer from overheating.
    The “other” section of my devices is going crazy, sometimes says I am over capacity even though I didn’t sync any new conetent on it.
    When I press sync, in the top middle of the itunes window the Synchronization wants to start and immediately stops, without any effects on my devices.
    Itunes seems to be the issue.
    Admietedly I am running still an old version 6 on my apple devices, my macbook is running on 10.6.8. … worked until 3 days ago … and as I said the only change to my systems was installing spotify …
    Any idea how to solve THAT?

    • michel-ki says:

      O, – and since I just can’t sync ANYTHING I also can not change my setting to “sync via wlan” … therefore I can’t try out that option I guess right?
      haha… damn… I believe my Itunes has an issue, not be Iphone..

  83. Antonio says:

    Great it worked. Thank you.

  84. dean lear says:

    I was having major problems with syncing and I tried absolutely everything I could think of. Then I turned my iPhone off and on again, while it was plugged into the computer with iTunes open. When the device reappeared, syncing worked! Maybe someone else out there will find this method successful.

  85. Frankbert1 says:

    Hi, I have the latest iTunes version and having issues syncing my iPhone 4S. I have followed all the steps up to Step 3. When I attempt to sync i get the following error message:

    “Resource Not Found: Unable to load SyncUICoreLocalized.dll”

    Any support is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,


  86. Jonathan Saltzman says:

    Another solution after restoring from backups, restore as New iPhone, etc., checking and unchecking the options under Summary, I finally went to the top iTunes menu bar > File > Home Sharing and TURNED IT OFF. (I was using it with my Apple TV.) Suddenly all 3329 videos and music files would sync to my iPhone 5S. Voodoo, man. I guess the lesson learned is don’t sync your iPhone if Home Sharing is turned ON for your Apple TV. Turn it off while syncing to the iPhone.

    • James says:

      Thank you for this page and thanks, JS. Your tip about turning off home sharing just worked for me on my 5s with the newest version of iTunes!

  87. Tommy says:

    This is getting pathetic. I must of spend over 40 hrs trying to sync my music to my iPhone since os7. I’ve been using Apple product since Apple II and never been this frustrated. This stuff is just suppose to work right? Even OS X is becoming a bit of a nightmare since Mountain Lion. I now need 16mb of ram just to run Maverick with Photoshop and Lightroom where as 8 will do with Mountain lion. Just getting too tired to solve issues. No one over 50 knows how to run these products anymore. I have lost fate in Apple’s future, they are becoming just another Microsoft. Remember these are tools for streamlining life, but the tools itself now needs constant managing. Who’s got time for this?

  88. jis521 says:

    Thanks. it was quite helpful.
    I fixed it.

  89. Tom says:

    Thank god I chose the simplicity and ease of use of Apple! At least, I thought that was what I did. When I first bought an iPod and downloaded iTunes years ago, it just seemed to work. Now using apple products is like working with MS 15 years ago.
    There used to be pride and value in the seamless integration and the simplicity for the user. Now we are all accepting that we need to run through checklists like the one above to get our music and tv-shows to sync, as if we were preparing to take off in a B-747.
    Can we please just get stuff that WORKS!! Turn on, plug in, plug out, watch show…

    • kevalme says:

      That’s about how I feel.
      iTunes is a dog and has been for a long time.
      Time to ditch it, is there a way of getting another media player to work on an iPhone?
      Or do I have to go into the dreaded Android world?

      • Steve says:

        That’s where I’m at too. I have restored, restarted, uninstalled, reinstalled, tried different usb ports/cables. I’m running a Dell Inspiron with Windows 7. Everything worked fine. All the sudden it doesn’t. Seriously wtf, it’s a music platform. Couldn’t get simpler. iPod/iTunes is the only Apple product I use and I would love to get out of it. Why can’t MS develop a competitive product? This is absolutely ridiculous…I just want to listen to my damn music. Rant over. Someone help.

        • Steve says:

          Ok, for all of those that this list did not work for. With you iPod connected to your computer, click on the iPod icon in the upper left corner if iTunes. Once this is done, on the left side there is a list of tabs, Summary, Music, Movies, etc. Click on Music. Make sure the box next to Sync Music is selected. I have no idea how, but mine randomly got unchecked. I swear I changed nothing manually. Extremely frustrating to find out the solution was this simple. Also make sure Entire Music Library is selected under the Sync Music box. Then you can go back to the Summary tab and check the Synch Only Checked Songs and Videos box if that’s all you want, or leave that unchecked to sync your entire library. Then just hit Sync and you’ll be good to go. Unreal.

          • David says:

            Yes!!!!!! Thank you. Wonder why I had to search so long for this simple solution.

          • Sue says:

            Many thanks Steve,
            It worked a treat :-))

          • Mel says:

            You are my new favorite person. Worked like a charm…after I did all that other crap that didn’t work. Wish I would have read reviews before doing the checklist.

          • Debz says:

            omg I love you. I have been trying to sync my ipod for a week now, absolutely banging my head against the wall. Tried all the Apple solutions etc etc…..nothing, then UREKA!!! It damn well synced……..sweet peace at last, now I wont have to run on the treadmill in silence any more :) The simple solution of selecting sync my music box, I was overthinking the solution and couldn’t see your simple answer for looking. Many thanks.

          • Shona says:

            I don’t have an ipod icon?

          • Carol says:

            THANK YOU! I have been googling for 45 min trying to find a solution to this problem!!

  90. ChrissyMM says:

    Thank you so much! Just the simple tip of quitting and restarting iTunes fixed it.

  91. Rae says:

    I tried all the options and once I did the “reset” option, I managed to back up my songs but now that my ipod returned to it’s factory settings, all the songs that were erased won’t re-sync. A window keeps popping up saying ” The ipod “RaeRae’s ipod” cannot be synced. You do not have the privileges to make these changes.” and it also said I could not copy my disc ( my ipod ), apparently I don’t have the privilege to make those changes either.

    What now?

  92. Anita says:

    My problem was apps on my iPad would not sync to iTunes. A simple backup and restore on iTunes (without completing restoring the iPad) worked for me. Thank you for the insights!

  93. Carter T says:

    Oops, just realized my 747 songs are still getting loaded too, that’s why those apps are loading so slowly.

  94. Carter T says:

    My iPhone5 was failing to sync songs and new playlists. I tried most of these suggestions but had to resort to the the full Reset and Restore before seeing Music brought up to date. Many of my third-party apps are still getting loaded one hour after this processed started, my net connection is one of the slower ones.

    Still, thanks very much for this page.

  95. John H says:

    My sync only goes in one direction, from iPhone 5 to the PC. I have synced every which way but I can’t get the songs on the PC to my iPhone. What am I missing?

  96. Richard Muster says:

    Hi i have also sync problems with my iPad 2.

    The music pieces are from an original CD. They show up in iTunes on the PC. After syncing they are on the iPad but grey and I cannot play them. There is also a red square on the line.

    Has anybody experienced the same ?



    • 2c says:

      You must import the songs from the CD into iTunes, and then sync those imported songs from iTunes to the iPad

    • Rodness says:

      Same for me – titles show up on, but some will not play.Sadly running vista on an older pc, perhaps is my issue – I could not update to recent iTunes version. I have purchased trax loaded form original CDs, and some converted mp3, mp4

    • Rodness says:

      Same for me – titles show up on iPad, but some will not play. Sadly, running vista on an older pc, but all other functionality gr8, really. Perhaps an issue? – I could not update to recent iTunes version. I have purchased trax, some loaded from original CDs, and some converted mp3, mp4 from other sources. All used to sync. All currently play well from the laptop.

  97. b9b9b9 says:

    for me (ipad2-ios704) was enough to perform a backup and then restore… ipad rebooted and it synced automatically!!


  98. Charlie says:

    Like pretty much every other comment here none of this worked for me.

    • Tuba Fuba says:

      Works for me and now my iPhone syncs fine, maybe you should follow the instructions?

      • mike says:

        I’ve followed all the instructions.

        Maybe you should stop making assumptions and accept that some people have devices that none of this works for?

  99. Tom says:

    The solution that worked for me was to touch and hold a app on the iPhone screen until it jiggled. This allows you the option of deleting the app on the phone. I deleted all the apps off the phone that could be deleted in this way . The iPhone now syncs perfectly and all the apps were then reloaded from my iTunes library.
    Hope this helps

    • Diggadaz says:

      This is the only thing that worked for me, years later and how many updates. I have trouble syncing new songs added to my library and lose the artwork from all my music but old music will still play. Always have to find a new solution to jumpstart syncing…weird! Have had problems since day one on 3 different iphones, ipod syncs entire library just fine. Hopefully this continues to work. Thx Tom

    • Paul says:

      Thank you – this also worked for me. Nothing else did.

    • Caley says:

      Tom, thank you, this worked for me as well. Delete the app, re-download it, and wa-la, there are all your songs that wouldn’t download before. Thanks!

  100. Geoff says:

    Had to remove all my music from my iPhone, before it would finally start to sync again.
    new phone, new iMac, you think they would work flawless.

  101. camille says:

    I tried everything on the list and the final option worked. I restored my IPOD and IPHONE to factory setting and it worked. Thank you

  102. HP says:

    I was having issues with a new iPhone 5c not syncing to my computer. iTunes kept telling me my computer wasn’t authorised, but when I authorised it again it said it was already authorised. Tried restarting both devices and nothing worked.

    It managed to complete the back up stage of syncing before the error message appeared, so I took a small risk and restored my iPhone, then restored using the backup that had (thankfully) been created. Then everything synced perfectly.

    Not sure why it happened but thanks to this website it’s now fixed :)

    • Scott says:

      Thanks for this tip HP, I had the same problem with my computer telling me it wasn’t authorised when it was. Followed your tip on restoring iphone to original settings and then restored with the back up on iTunes and now syncing fine. Bit complicated with apple settings. No wonder so many people change…

  103. michael says:

    does not sync at all
    i get error message: The iPod “michael’s iPod” could not be synced because the sync session failed to start.
    i have the newest version and i dont have a backup cause thats what im trying to make.

    • Sam says:

      hey man try and turn off our phone all the way and waiting a few minute then start it up and try it

    • Chancey says:

      Michael…. it’s 5 years later with this email. Did you ever get your
      iPod to sync correctly? I have had a “iPod could not be synced because the session failed to start” problem for two months now. Literally, Apple Tech has been “working on it” for two months with zero results.

      Did you ever resolve the problem? If so, how? I’ve totally lost confidence in Apple’s service.

  104. David says:

    I did everything on this list and all that happened is everything that I had on my iPhone that was not purchased got deleted and some songs I did purchase were taken off. Apple needs to stop toying with iTunes and just keep it the way it was, it’s complete durken now.

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