iPhone Won’t Sync? 3 Troubleshooting Steps

Many people run into problems when they try to sync their iPhones to their computers. What if your iPhone won’t sync?

iPhone Wont Sync 1 iPhone Won’t Sync? 3 Troubleshooting Steps

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What do I do if I can’t sync my iPhone?

You can try cleaning your charging port with an unused toothbrush, trying a different USB port, changing your firewall settings, or disabling your antivirus software. Make sure that the date and time on your computer are correct. Try restoring the iPhone’s factory default settings. 

Since I work in tech support, I know many ways to get an iPhone to sync. Try the simplest things first – turning your computer off and on again might work. If that doesn’t, move on to less straightforward solutions. 

How Does Syncing Work?

Syncing your iPhone to your computer makes it easy to access your files whenever you need them. You will be able to access your computer’s files from your iPhone, and the other way around.

For example, if someone takes and edits photographs, they might want access to them on both their iPhone and their computer. You might also want to do academic work on your computer at home and on your phone away from home.

Other people sync the two to listen to all of their music on each device. You can also sync an iPhone to an iPad or an iPad to a computer. You can sync an iPhone to a PC and not only to a Mac.

Syncing With iTunes or iCloud

There are two programs that let you sync your phone to your computer, iTunes and iCloud. iCloud is better in most ways, so if you have a Mac, use iCloud. If you have a PC, iTunes works well enough and works to sync an iPhone with a PC. 

What if Your iPhone Won’t Sync?

There are a lot of things that might be wrong, and you might have to try a few of them to get it to work. Usually, it is a software issue, but it can sometimes be a physical issue such as a clogged charging port. 

Turn it Off and On Again

Sometimes, turning a phone, computer, TV, microwave, or anything else off and on again is enough to get it to work. A simple reset is enough to fix a problem a lot of the time. 

Always try resetting it before you move on to a less simple solution. You should leave your iPhone off for one or two minutes before you turn it on again, or else it might not fix the problem. 

Try a Hard Reset

It is possible that you accidentally changed a setting somewhere in a menu that prevents this from working. Looking through a long list of options that you might not remember changing and looking for what is wrong takes time. 

A better idea might be to return all your settings to the factory default. The factory default is what settings your phone had when you took it out of the box and turned it on for the first time. 

You may have to change some settings back to what you want, but it’s easier than looking through a long list of settings and wondering which one is wrong. 

iPhone Wont Sync 1 1 iPhone Won’t Sync? 3 Troubleshooting Steps

How Do You Do a Hard Reset?

It depends on which iPhone model you have. For newer models (since the iPhone 8) you 1) briefly press the volume up button, 2) briefly press the volume down button, and 3) press the side button and hold it down for long enough. 

If you do this, the screen should first fade to black, and then the apple logo should appear. The next time you turn the phone on, the settings should be restored to default, and it will hopefully sync.

With an iPhone 7/7+, hold the power button and the volume up button at the same time until the apple logo appears. With anything older, hold the power button and the home button at the same time. 

Another Way to Restore Default Settings

You can also look through menus to find a reset all settings button that will hopefully fix the problem.

Tap settings, then tap general, then transfer or reset iPhone, then reset, and finally reset all settings. You will then enter your password and everything should reset to the factory default. 

Other Solutions

Sometimes, the time and date on your computer are wrong, which might prevent your phone from syncing to iTunes. You can also install the newest version of your operating system, plus the newest version of iTunes. I am not completely sure, but I suspect that problems are less common with newer versions installed. 

You can also try uninstalling and reinstalling driver software. The first time you sync your iPhone to your computer, it installs driver software. If something goes wrong during the installation, it will prevent the two from syncing. 

Is the Charging Port Clogged?

Sometimes, someone can think their phone is broken when the problem is merely a clogged charging port.

A charging port can get clogged with bits of lint in your pocket. This can prevent your phone from charging and make you think it is damaged. 

Having a clogged charging port can also prevent your phone from syncing. Try buying a new, clean toothbrush just for cleaning your phone. 

The bristles will clean the port without damaging it. This is better than using a toothpick, as you could break the tip and make the problem worse. If you can, you might use compressed air to clean your phone. 

Other Physical Problems

Sometimes, your phone might need to be repaired. If your phone has a few different problems, including not syncing, you should probably repair it. 

If your phone is old enough, repairing it sometimes isn’t worth the money. However, it is worth it if your phone is new enough that you could not get a newer second-hand phone cheaply. 

Make sure you try some simpler and cheaper solutions before you take your phone in to be repaired. Most of the time, an easier solution will work. 

Firewalls Can Cause Problems

A firewall is a type of software that protects your computer from viruses, spyware, and other threats. Devices usually come with firewalls installed and turned on, so everyone uses them. A firewall blocks certain programs that try to interact with your computer if they seem dangerous. 

Sometimes, computer security features can overreact and see legitimate programs as threats. Your firewall might see iTunes as dangerous, preventing your iPhone from syncing. 

How to Fix a Firewall Problem

Windows computers often have firewalls that prevent them from syncing with iPhones. Go to your start menu and type in firewall.cpl to open a panel that lets you choose how your firewall behaves.

There will be a list of apps that can either be allowed or blocked by your firewall. Check the box for iTunes to allow it. You must also check the boxes for public and private to the right of iTunes. 

AntiVirus Software Causes Problems

Your antivirus software can also misidentify a legitimate program as harmful sometimes. Hopefully, your computer should give you a message asking you whether you want to allow iTunes to work. 

If this doesn’t happen, you will have to go into your antivirus software’s options and find a way to enable iTunes. 

Uninstalling or disabling your antivirus software is dangerous. However, you might try temporarily disabling it and seeing if you can get your iPhone to sync. If it works with your antivirus software disabled, you might try installing different antivirus software. 

Key Takeaways

  • There are many reasons why your iPhone might not sync, from physical problems with the phone to security features falsely seeing iTunes as harmful. 
  • Sometimes, turning it off and on again is all it takes. You can also restore your factory default settings to fix any setting that prevents it from syncing. 
  • There also might be something physically wrong with the phone. It probably doesn’t need repairs, but it might. You could try cleaning out the charging port, as any lint that gets stuck in that can prevent it from working.