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iPhone, iPad, iPod Won't Sync to iTunes - Top 10 Tips to Fix It

Aug. 28, 2014 11:14 am / Updated by Andrew Coffe to Tips
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Symptoms: iPhone, iPad, iPod Won't Sync to iTunes or iTunes Won't Restore iOS Backups

"Same problem. My iPhone 5S won't sync to iTunes after iOS 7 update."

More and more iOS users complained that iTunes can't sync with iPhone. This sync error also happens to iPad and iPod. Some users can't sync songs/videos from iTunes library to iPhone, some have the iTunes is stuck 'preparing to copy items' error when sync iPhone, some find that iPhone/iPad won't sync to iTunes after restore or after iOS 9.3/9.2/9/8/7 update, and even some discover that iOS device won't sync to iTunes after iTunes updating to the new version (such as iTunes 11.3/11.2, iTunes 11.3, iTunes 11.2, or iTunes 11.1.4, iTunes 11.1.5, iTunes 11.1).

Resolutions: Top 10 Tips to Fix "iPhone/iPad/iPod Won't Sync to iTunes" on Windows or Mac OS X

You can try each in descending order until the problem is resolved. All of them works for all versions of iTunes and iOS devices including

Note: Those tips are aimed at resolving actual problems (i.e. the syncing or data transfer between iTunes and iOS device), not at problems with detecting the devices themselves. If iTunes can't recognize your device, go to the article Free Fix iPhone, iPad, iPod Is Not Recognized in iTunes.

Note: if you only want restore your iOS Devices, You can go to Restore iPhone from iCloud Backup, or you have no iCloud Backup, you can go iTunes Backup Extract software that can restore you iTunes Backup data to PC/Mac.

Top 1. Update iTunes to the Newest Version

Sometimes just updating iTunes to the newest version is enough to resolve the syncing problem. On iTunes, Windows users go to Help menu and select "Check for Updates"; Mac users go to iTunes > Check for Updates. If there is a new version, update your iTunes.

iphone won't sync to itunes

Top 2. Close iTunes and Relaunch to Start a Manual Sync

You can quit out of iTunes and then restart the app. Then you should try manually syncing again. If syncing works normally but no music, movies or apps copied over to your iOS device, you can try the methods to fix this syncing issue in the article iTunes Music Not Syncing to iOS Device.

Top 3. Restart Your iPhone/iPad/iPod

Restarting your iDevice is always helpful to fix the issue that iPhone/iPad/iPod failed to sync to iTunes. Here is the best way to free reboot your device - with ReiBoot.

ipad won't sync to itunes

Top 4. Restart the PC or Mac

Restating your computer (a PC, a Mac, a laptop, etc.) won't be annoying as it seems. And generally it can well fix your iTunes problems, including the syncing issue.

ipod won't sync to itunes

Top 5. Re-Authorize iTunes and the Computer

If the Sync button is grey and not available at all, or when you try to sync nothing transfers over to the iPhone, iPad, iPod, you can try deauthorize and authorize your computer.

To do this, connect your device to computer and open iTunes > go to Store and select "Deauthorize this Computer" > input your Apple login > after that, click on Store again and click "Authorize this Computer" > enter your Apple login details again.

iphone not sync to itunes

Top 6. Try the Opposite Syncing Method: Wi-Fi or USB

If iPhone/iPad/iPod won't sync to iTunes over Wi-Fi, try a USB cable instead. If you have already used a USB cable to sync, turn to Wi-Fi. Since we have dedicated how to use iTunes to sync or transfer data to iOS device via USB or Wi-Fi in the article Transfer Files from iTunes to iPhone, you can check to see the details.

In some cases, your iOS device may fail to connect to Wi-Fi. Go to the tips in iPhone Won't Connect to Wi-Fi to fix wireless connecting problems.

Top 7. Try another USB Connection or USB Port

Sometimes this syncing problem is caused by wrong USB port or connection. Make sure your iDevice isn't plugged into an unpowered USB hub. Try another USB cable or try to plug into another port of your PC or Mac.

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Top 8. Check for Software Conflicts

Some other phone and cellular device connectivity software may cause this syncing issue. You can uninstall the phone or cellular connectivity software temporarily.

Top 9. Restore Your Device to Factory Settings

Original factory settings restore will help to fix this "iTunes won't sync with iPhone/iPad/iPod" issue.

To do this, connect device to computer and run iTunes > go to "Summary" and select "Restore" > confirm the restore in the pop-up window. When finished, set up your device as new.

Note: Factory reset will no doubt erase all your iPhone contents. If you have important data, backup your iDevice before you do restore.

iphone won't sync to itunes after update

Top 10. Check Apple Mobile Device Support

iOS devices like iPhone or iPad require Apple Mobile Device Support and it should be automatically installed with iTunes. If you miss this support, iTunes may not detect your iOhonw can you can't sync iOS device with iTunes. You can check on Windows OS like this:

If you find Apple Mobile Device Support is not installed, then reinstall iTunes.

Share this text with anyone you know so that you can help out when they meet the same problem. iTunes will sync data such as music, videos, contacts, photos, notes with iPhone, iPad, iPod normally after you try the tips above.

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