You’re ready to backup your iPhone or sync new music, but when you plug the iPhone in the iPhone does not show up in iTunes. The iPhone not found in iTunes problem typically happens in Windows computers when there is a problem with the service that helps the iPhone talk to your computer and to iTunes.
We’ll show you how to fix the iPhone not found in iTunes error for Windows computers. These solutions work for the iPhone and iPad on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.
To start, we’ll walk through the easiest options, so that you don’t need to spend a lot of time if it is a simple fix. In all you should be able to fix the iPhone not found in iTunes error in less than 30 minutes, but for many users it may take as little as five minutes.
When you run into the iPhone not found in iTunes problem, you may also see errors telling you the iPhone is not recognized, the iPhone can’t be restored in iTunes or there may be an exclamation point in the lower right corner of your screen or int he Device Manager.
You do not need to be a computer expert to fix this problem. Here’s where to start fixing your computer when the iPhone is not found in iTunes.
Turn your computer off and back on again. While this is happening you should also restart your iPhone or iPad. Sometimes this will fix it. If not continue on.
Update iTunes and Your Computer
Open iTunes and click on Help – > Check for Updates. If there are updates you need to follow the on-screen directions (like next, agree and install) to update your iTunes.
You can also check for updates in Windows. Here’s how to check for updates in Windows 8.
After you update everything you may want to restart the computer once more and see if the iPhone shows up in iTunes. If not, there’s still hope for an easy fix.
Does the iPhone Trust Your Computer?
When you plug the iPhone into your computer you should see a small pop up on your iPhone asking if you trust this computer. You need to choose trust. If you don’t see this unplug and plug it back in to look for the pop up. If you still don’t see it your iPhone likely already trusts this computer.
Try a New Cable
This sounds simple, and a little obvious but try a new cable to see if you can connect. Sometimes a cable will charge your iPhone, but there is something broken that prevents a connection to your computer. Also make sure the port is free of dust and other debris like lint.
Fix Apple Mobile Device Support
If none of these fix your iPhone not found in iTunes problems, you will need to check to see if Apple Mobile Device Support is installed and running.
In Windows you need to go to Control Panel -> Uninstall a Program -> Look to see if Apple Mobile Device Support is listed. If it is, then you know it is installed and you can go on to the next step. If it is not installed, you should uninstall iTunes and other Apple software.
Apple recommends uninstalling multiple Apple applications, in a specific order. They also recommend you uninstall all of them, not just some of them. Use this guide for Windows XP and this guide for Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.
When you are done, you can reinstall iTunes by downloading it from Apple.
If it is installed you may need to restart the service. Follow the instructions on this page to restart Apple Mobile Device Service on Windows. The guide covers Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.
Check the Apple Mobile Device USB Driver
If the iPhone is still not found in iTunes, you need to check the USB driver. In Windows you need to open the Device Manager. On this screen, scroll down to look for a listing of Universal Serial Bus controllers. You should see Apple Mobile Device USB Driver listed under this area, you may need to click a plus sign to see it. If there is an, ‘x’, ‘?’ or ‘!’ you’ll need to take action.
If you installed any connectivity software for an Android smartphone, or for tethering, you may need to uninstall it temporarily to make this work. After you do that, remove iTunes other applications in the order outlined in these guides from Apple. Use this guide for Windows XP and this guide for Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.
If you see Unknown Device, you’ll need to get ready for more work. At the bottom of this page, you’ll find a detailed walk through too test your computer and your connection, and if you Unknown device shows up for your iPhone when you connect it to a computer that works with another device it may need service.
For users with an iPhone that is under warranty, you may be able to get support at an Apple Store with a Genius Bar appointment, but you will need to bring your computer and iPhone with you and you’ll want to make sure this is something your level of support includes, so you don’t need to pay for it.