iOS device not showing in iTunes for Windows

Last modified: Jan 5, 2018 11:37 AM
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53 39 likes 79,437 views Last modified Jan 5, 2018 11:37 AM

If your iOS device is not showing in iTunes for Windows try the following:

  1. Open Control Panel > Device Manager.
  2. Unlock your device and connect it to your computer with a USB cable.
  3. Locate Universal Serial Bus Controllers > Apple Mobile Device USB Driver.
    It is also possible the device may show under Imaging Devices, Portable Devices, Other Devices, or as an MTB USB Device.
  4. Right-click and select Update Driver Software...
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  5. Click Browse my computer for driver software.
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  6. Click Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer.
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  7. Click Have Disk...
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  8. Click Browse...
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  9. Browse to C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\Drivers or
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\Drivers
    then select the usbaapl.inf or usbaapl64.inf file inside. Depending on your view options in Explorer you might not see the .inf extension. If you don't see a file to select at all in the correct folder then repair Apple Mobile Device Support or reinstall iTunes.
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  10. Click Open, OK, Next, then Close in sequence to complete the installation of the driver, then exit the device manager. If Windows warns about compatibility testing or similar tell it continue anyway.

If you don't see the device at step 3 above then expand any of these sections that are listed in device manager:

  • Universal Serial Bus Controllers
  • Imaging Devices
  • Portable Devices
  • Other Devices

Now disconnect and then reconnect the device. You should hear the telltale sound of Windows device connection and one section should gain a new entry. That should be your device. It may not be labelled correctly at this stage. If you don't hear a noise suspect a damaged cable or fluff in the connection port. It may also help to connect directly to your computer rather than through a USB hub or passthrough port on another device.

The images come from Windows 7. The precise wording and look of the dialog boxes may be slightly different in other versions of Windows but the overall pattern of the steps should be the same. The aim is to explicitly choose which driver file Windows installs rather than letting it rely on one that may have been cached at an earlier point in time.

See also these support resources:

If the above steps have not resolved things see the advice in the Removing and reinstalling iTunes and other software components section of Troubleshooting issues with iTunes for Windows updates.

Or lastly try rolling back to the last build of iTunes that worked for you. See iTunes installers for download links. If you're rolling back from a version that has made changes to the structure of the iTunes database then you will also need to roll back the library database using the method described in Empty/corrupt iTunes library after upgrade/crash. The tip includes suggestions for reintroducing any recent purchases so at worst you lose a few playcounts and/or recently created playlists.

Windows XP & Windows Vista

If you have a device running iOS 10.2 or later these require iTunes or later, which in turn runs on Windows 7 or better. You will no longer be able to sync, backup, or restore with iTunes however your device can be backed up to iCloud. A subscription to iTunes Match would be a possible workaround for getting new music to your device.

iOS device not showing in Windows Explorer

It is also worth noting that with iOS 10 and/or iTunes or later it seems you need to unlock your device before connecting to USB for it to appear in Windows Explorer in order to gain access to the camera roll DCIM folder. This may also be required if you want iTunes to launch automatically on connection.

iOS 11

Devices running iOS 11 require iTunes or better.


Sep 21, 2016 8:16 PM

tt2 to the rescue again! Most excellent illustrated edition of "How to get Windows to work Almost as well as a Mac with iTunes"....

Great Job 🙂


Sep 21, 2016 8:16 PM

Oct 6, 2016 3:23 AM

If I may express sincere gratitude for providing guidance for years to me and to other people who are just as blind.

Oct 6, 2016 3:23 AM