How to Fix Sync Issues on an iPhone or iPad

Introduction

With iTunes, you can sync your music, movies, TV shows, photos and more. After you sync, the content on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch matches the content in your iTunes Library on your computer.

You can sync the following content:

  • Albums, songs, playlists, movies, TV shows, books, podcasts, and audiobooks.
  • Photos and videos. To sync photos and videos using iTunes, you can use a supported photos app or sync from a specific folder on your computer.
  • Contacts and calendars.
  • Device backups that you made using iTunes.

A common problem that causes issues with synchronizing is iTunes not recognizing your iPhone when it is plugged into your computer. This guide will take you through making sure your device is getting connected and synchronizing properly.

macOS iTunes syncing

If you use iCloud or other services like Apple Music to keep your content up to date across all of your devices, syncing through iTunes might be disabled.

? What are you trying to sync with?

  1. iTunes on a Mac
  2. iTunes on Windows

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With iTunes, you can sync your music, movies, TV shows, photos and more. After you sync, the content on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch matches the content in your iTunes Library on your computer.

You can sync the following content:

  • Albums, songs, playlists, movies, TV shows, books, podcasts, and audiobooks.
  • Photos and videos. To sync photos and videos using iTunes, you can use a supported photos app or sync from a specific folder on your computer.
  • Contacts and calendars.
  • Device backups that you made using iTunes.

A common problem that causes issues with synchronizing is iTunes not recognizing your iPhone when it is plugged into your computer. This guide will take you through making sure your device is getting connected and synchronizing properly.

macOS iTunes syncing

If you use iCloud or other services like Apple Music to keep your content up to date across all of your devices, syncing through iTunes might be disabled.

  1. Unplug your iPhone from any port you have it plugged into.
    iPhone being unplugged
  2. Wait 30 seconds and plug it back in.
  3. Make sure your iOS device is unlocked and on its Home Screen.
    iOS device stating to press home to unlock
  4. Make sure that your device is turned on.
  5. If you see a Trust this Computer alert, unlock your device and tap Trust.
    iOS asking to trust a computer
  6. Unplug all USB accessories from your computer except for your device. Try each USB port to see if one works. Then try a different Apple USB cable.
  1. Open the App Store on your Mac.
    macOS App Store.
  2. At the top of the App Store window, click Updates.
    App store with Updates button highlighted.
  3. If any macOS or iTunes updates are available, click Update.
    App Store updates section highlighting the update button.
  1. From the menu bar across the top of the screen, select the Apple menu, then Restart...
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with Restart highlighted.
  1. Open iTunes.
    iTunes icon
  2. Select Account.
  3. Select Sign In.
    macOS version of itunes showing the sign in option
  4. Sign into your iTunes Account using your Apple ID.
  5. From the menu bar at the top of the iTunes window, choose Account.
  6. Select Authorizations.
  7. Select Authorize This Computer.
    macOS version of iTunes showing how to authorize
  8. Enter your password, then press the Return or Enter key on your keyboard, or click Authorize.

Power off your device and use a small implement (such as a toothpick) to gently remove any debris that might be lodged in the charging port.

iPhone with the charging port magnified
iPhone with a toothpick being used to clean out the charging port

If possible, try another Lightning Cable.
Apple Lightning cable.
If a replacement cable works, the original cable that was being used is defective and can be discarded.
  1. Unplug your iPhone from any port you have it plugged into.
    iPhone being unplugged
  2. Wait 30 seconds and plug it back in.
  3. Make sure your iOS device is unlocked and on its Home Screen.
    iOS device stating to press home to unlock
  4. Make sure that your device is turned on.
  5. If you see a Trust this Computer alert, unlock your device and tap Trust.
    iOS asking to trust a computer
  6. Unplug all USB accessories from your computer except for your device. Try each USB port to see if one works. Then try a different Apple USB cable.
  1. Open iTunes.
    iTunes icon
  2. From the menu bar at the top of the iTunes window, choose Help.
  3. Select Check for Updates.
    iTunes help menu open showing check for updates
  4. Follow the prompts to install the latest version.
Before you restart or shut down your PC, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.
  1. Select the Start menu, then select Power.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Power Button
  2. Select Restart.
    Windows 10 Power menu with Restart highlighted.
  1. Open iTunes.
    iTunes icon
  2. Select Account.
  3. Select Sign In.
    iTunes sign in
  4. Sign into your Apple ID Account.
  5. From the menu bar at the top of the iTunes window, choose Account.
  6. Select Authorizations.
  7. Select Authorize This Computer.
    Authorizing a computer for iTunes
  8. Enter your password, then press the Return or Enter key on your keyboard, or click Authorize.

Power off your device and use a small implement (such as a toothpick) to gently remove any debris that might be lodged in the charging port.

iPhone with the charging port magnified
iPhone with a toothpick being used to clean out the charging port

If possible, try another Lightning Cable.
Apple Lightning cable.
If a replacement cable works, the original cable that was being used is defective and can be discarded.
  1. Disconnect your device from your computer.
    iPhone being unplugged
  2. Unlock your iOS device and go to the Home screen.
    iOS device stating to press home to unlock
  3. Reconnect your device. If iTunes opens, close it.
  4. Search Device Manager.
    Windows 10 search bar
  5. Select Device Manager.
    Windows 10 start menu showingg device manager selected
  6. Locate and expand the Portable Devices section.
  7. Look for your connected device (such as Apple iPhone), then right-click on the device name and choose Update driver.
    Windows 10 device manager showing update driver for apple iphone
  8. Select Search Automatically For Updated Driver Software.
    Windows 10 search automatically for updated driver software
  9. Let your driver update.
  10. Open iTunes and check if your iPhone is connected.
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