Fix “Device Attached to The System is Not Functioning” Error on Windows PC with iPhone or iPad

Sep 13, 2020 - 2 Comments

Fix Device Attached to The System is Not Functioning Error on Windows PC

Some Windows 10 users have been reporting an error message stating “a device attached to the system is not functioning” when their iOS or iPadOS devices are connected to a PC. This occurs when Windows is unable to properly communicate with your iPhone or iPad, and there are various reasons why this could happen all of a sudden.

If you’re one of those affected users, don’t fret. There’s no need to do anything drastic like reinstall Windows on your computer just yet. In this article, we’ll guide you through the various troubleshooting methods to resolve the connectivity issue that you’re facing with your iPhone and iPad and the PC. And yes this error is unique to Windows, it’s not experienced on the Mac.

How to Fix “Device Attached to the System is Not Functioning” Error on PC with iPhone / iPad

Here, we’ll be taking a look at five potential troubleshooting steps to try and resolve the “device attached to the system is not functioning” error that you’re getting, when transferring photos to your computer.

Install / Update iTunes

Even if you’re not using iTunes to sync or back up your iPhone or iPad, it’s necessary to still have it installed for avoiding issues while transferring photos and videos. If you’re running an older version of iTunes, that could very well be the reason for a problem too. So, make sure your iTunes software is up to date by clicking on Help -> Check for Updates.

Fix Device Attached to The System is Not Functioning Error on Windows PC

Update iPhone Driver on Windows

You can manually update your iPhone / iPad drivers on your Windows PC and see if it fixes your issue. In order to do this, search for device manager in Windows, right-click on your device listed under portable devices and click on “Update Driver”. Check out our article for step-by-step instructions, if you’re confused.

Set Photos to Keep Originals

With the introduction of iOS 11, iPhone and iPads by default use Apple’s HEIF (High Efficiency Image File) format to store photos at a reduced file size. However, while transferring to PC, they are converted to the traditional JPEG format. By skipping the file conversion, you could possibly resolve this issue. Head over to Settings -> Photos -> Keep Originals to make sure your device transfers the original files without checking for compatibility.

Fix Device Attached to The System is Not Functioning Error on Windows PC

Reset Location & Privacy

When you connect your iPhone or iPad to a PC for the first time, you will get a “Trust This Computer” prompt on your device. If you accidentally chose to not trust for whatever reason, it could stop you from transferring photos to your computer. You can reset your location and privacy settings to get this prompt once again when you connect it to your PC. This can be done by going to Settings -> General -> Reset -> Reset Location & Privacy. Then, disconnect and reconnect your device to the computer.

Fix Device Attached to The System is Not Functioning Error on Windows PC

Use a Different USB to Lightning / USB Type-C Cable

Apple’s lightning cables are susceptible to wear and tear over time. Sometimes you might even have trouble charging your device and an “accessory may not be supported” error might show up. This indicates that your cable may indeed be faulty. Therefore, try using a different cable to see if it resolves the issue.

Try a Different USB Port

Disconnect your device from the USB port it’s connected to and try a different port, so that the file transfer isn’t hindered due to a faulty USB connection. This is a fairly simple trick that often resolves these sort of issues.

Update iOS / iPadOS to the Latest Version

Sometimes updating the system software on iPhone or iPad can remedy errors that are expedience with connecting a device to a computer. Backup the device first, then go to Settings > General > Software Update and installing any available updates.

If none of the above methods worked in your favor, try force rebooting your iPhone or iPad. You could even try restoring your device from a previous backup using iTunes or iCloud, though the issue is usually not with the iPhone or iPad.

By now, you should not be seeing any sort of errors while trying to connect the device or transfer photos and videos to your Windows PC. You could also use the same techniques if your iOS device is not being recognized by iTunes.

It seems like most iPhone and iPad users who experience this particular error find it after connecting their devices to the computer in order to transfer photos and videos. For whatever reason, the somewhat rare error prevents you from copying the image files to your Windows PC, thus the need to troubleshoot the problem.

Are you a Mac user? You could try this potential fix if your iPhone is not connecting to iTunes. Sometimes, a software update might be mandatory before you’re able to use your device with iTunes for backup or syncing.

We hope you managed to resolve this connectivity issue you were facing with your iPhone and iPad. Which method worked for you? Did you find another solution? Do you have anything to share about this particular error? Let us know in the comments.


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Posted by: Hamlin Rozario in iPad, iPhone, Troubleshooting


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  1. Ersin Akyuez says:

    Apple is really really bad at the compatibility level. The year is 2023 and still, I can not properly back up my iphone to any disk drive. Don’t ask me about iCloud, I already have but I need solid backup and do not trust cloud solutions.

  2. JohnIL says:

    iTunes is so bad on Windows itself I can’t remember the last time I had it installed on a Windows PC? I’ve tried the App from Microsoft store and the iTunes software download and neither are very good. Really too bad that their isn’t a better way.

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