What to Do When iTunes Won’t Recognize Your Device

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You’ve plugged an iPhone into a computer, and nothing happens. Some of the most common reasons that your computer and iPhone or iPad aren't talking to each other have to do with hardware.


Before heading into any troubleshooting steps, first make sure that it isn't a problem with the cable. Clean all of your ports of dust and debris if they look dirty. After making sure all of your iPhone or iPad and computer ports are clean, try connecting again. Also, check your cables. If there is something wrong with your Lightning cable, it could be causing intermittent blockage. If nothing changes there are usually a few simple solutions that will resolve the problem.

How do I get iTunes to recognise the device?

A non-recognised Apple device can occur with the newer iOS-based devices. We'll look at some steps to get iTunes to recognise your iPod, iPhone or iPad.

Check Apple Mobile Device Support

When you install iTunes for Windows you also install a program called Apple Mobile Device Support. To ensure it is installed;

  1. Open the Search 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.

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

1. Update your software

If you've recently purchased a brand new iPhone and are connecting it to an older Mac or PC. A new iPhone will always need the latest version of iTunes, which might not be available on your current operating system. Make sure your iPhone has the latest operating system.

Then, make sure you have the latest version of iTunes on your Mac or PC (iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus require iTunes 12.5). Please read this section carefully because your issue is somewhere in this step, it is likely.

Update iTunes on Mac

Your Mac might claim that it is running the latest version of iTunes even though it's not. That might be because your Mac is running an older version of OS X.

iTunes 12.5 requires OS X 10.9.5 or later, which is Mavericks. If you are using a Mac running OS X 10.8 or older, you'll have to update to at least Mavericks in order to sync a brand new phone.

Update iTunes on Windows PC

  1. Launch iTunes from your PC.
  2. Click on iTunes in the Menu bar.
  3. Select Help and Click Check for Updates.
  4. Follow the prompts to install the latest version of iTunes.

Firstly, update your Device Driver, this is usually where the problem lies with Windows users.

  1. Open your Device Manager > Update Driver Software.
  2. Click on Browse for driver software on your computer.
  3. Click Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer.
  4. Select Have Disc or choose a device category like Mobile Phone and Next.
  5. Double click on usbaapl or usbaapl64.
  6. In the Have Disk window, click Open > Next > Finish.

Updating your driver should solve most issues with iTunes not connecting to an iPhone on a Windows PC.

2. Restart your iPhone and computer

You'll just need to turn everything off and on again. It's a tried and true method of clearing out any residual glitches. After restarting all the things, connect your iPhone or iPad to your computer and see if it recognizes it.

3. Manually reset your privacy and location permissions

You might have accidentally hit "Don't Trust" when prompted "trust it." This could cause iTunes to not recognize your device. All you have to do is disconnect and reconnect your iPhone to your computer and it will prompt you to trust it again. Or you can reset the permissions manually.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap General > Reset > Location & Privacy.
    Enter your passcode when prompted.
  3. Tap Reset Settings.

4. Erasing and Restoring

Erasing and Restoring your iPhone and deleting and reinstalling iTunes on your computer.

How to delete and reinstall iTunes on your computer

You should definitely back up your iTunes library before deleting the app.

How to delete and reinstall iTunes on a Mac

You'll need your administrator password to change the permissions.

  1. Launch a Finder window on your Mac.
  2. Select Applications from the side bar.
  3. Control-click on iTunes > Get Info.

  1. Click the padlock in the bottom right corner of the info window to make changes.
  2. Enter your administrator password.
  3. Click on Sharing & Permissions to expand the window.
  4. Select Everyone and change the permissions to allow everyone to Read & Write.
  5. Close the Get Info window, back in the Finder window, drag iTunes into the trash.

Re-download iTunes.

If you need help uninstalling these components on your Windows computer, check Apple's support guide for additional information.

How to erase and restore your iPhone

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom and tap Reset.
  4. Tap Erase All Content and Settings.
  5. Enter your passcode when prompted.

Your iPhone will erase itself, restart, and return to the setup screen. See if iTunes recognize it now!

 

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