iPhone Sync Problems


The iPhone attaches to a computer in order to transfer video, music, photos and applications. This is called "syncing" and while easy to do, it's actual a very complicated and computer-intensive procedure. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that sometimes the syncing doesn't work quite right, or even at all. Troubleshooting the syncing can help avoid problems with it in the future, so here's a few examples of what can go wrong and how to fix them.

iPhone Won't Sync with iTunes

  • Disconnect the iPhone from the USB port of the computer. Reset the iPhone by pressing and holding the Sleep/Wake button until the Reset slider appears. Swipe the slider to the right to shut down the iPhone. Then hold the Sleep/Wake button until the Apple logo appears to reboot the iPhone. Attach the iPhone to the computer's USB port and wait for its icon to appear on the left side of iTunes.

iPhone Won't Sync with MobileMe Online

  • Make sure that the computer has a good, working Internet connection and that the operating system is up to date. Disconnect the iPhone from the computer's USB port and reboot the computer. Attach the iPhone to the USB port when the computer has rebooted.

    Make sure that the MobileMe account is properly configured for use on the iPhone by going to Settings>Mail, Contact, Calendars and tapping "Fetch New Data." Make sure "Push" is turned on and tap the Mail icon to go back one screen. Tap "MobileMe Account" and check the the Account Info. Confirm the settings and return to the Home Screen and try the sync again.

iPhone Locks up During Sync

  • Disconnect the iPhone from the USB port of the computer. Hold down the Sleep/Wake and Home button until the iPhone goes dark and release when the Apple logo appears.

    Quit iTunes. Attach the iPhone to the USB port of the computer when it has fully come up. Run iTunes and restore to the iPhone from a backup when prompted.

iPhone Won't Sync with Contacts

  • Do a backup of the iPhone in iTunes. Then go to "Settings" on the iPhone. Select General>Reset>Reset>Reset All Settings. After everything has been wiped from the iPhone, attach the iPhone to the USB port of the computer. Run iTunes.

    Select the "Set Up New Phone" menu in iTunes. When this is done, manually sync the iPhone. This should restore everything and sync the contacts correctly.

iPhone Doesn 't Sync Reliably

  • A bent USB cable can cause syncing problems. Replace the USB cable with a new one and see if the syncing problems go away. Also clean the iPhone connector and the USB port of the computer that the USB cable is to go into.

iPhone Sync Problems with DRM music

  • Sync problems can occur with the iPhone when upgrading songs from lower quality to DRM free versions. Make a backup of the iPhone in iTunes first. Also make a backup of the Music library or those songs that are to be converted onto another hard drive (or a DVD or CD disc).

    Restart the computer and run iTunes, but don't run any other programs (make sure the most recent version of iTunes is being used). Click on iTunes Plus at the right side of the iTunes home screen to see what songs can be upgraded. Select and pay for those songs desired.and wait for iTunes to complete the upgrade. Attach the iPhone to the USB port of the comptuer and sync the new songs to the iPhone.


  • Because a sync always has the potential of causing data corruption or even deletions, it is important to do regular backups of the iPhone in iTunes. This will let you restore to the state the iPhone was in before the sync was done, if necessary.

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  • Photo Credit (c) Apple, Inc.
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