1 Reply Latest reply: Dec 6, 2012 8:48 AM by UKenGB
UKenGB Level 2 Level 2 (270 points)

Ever since the arrival of iOS5 and WiFi sync's much anticipated functionality, it's been unacceptably unreliable. I have 4 iOS devices that need to be kept up-to-date, but it is impossible to achieve this without failures and errors.


This morning's experience is typical. All 4 devices are listed in iTunes (10.6.1). I downloaded the available app updates and set all 4 devices to sync. Very soon there were 2 error messages, each saying one of the devices could not be sync'd as it couldn't be found on the network - so that's a 50% failure rate. At this point the device disappears from iTunes.


If I try to sync the devices consecutively it's the same. One or more will produce the above error and disappear from iTunes.


When a device has disappeared in this way but then connected by USB, it appears in iTunes again and syncs perfectly.


Even though iTunes says the device cannot be found on the network, this is very misleading since there is NOTHING wrong with the devices' network connection and EVERYTHING else is working perfectly. This crappy behaviour is all the fault of iTunes, or could be iOS5.


I cannot see how this problem is router related as has been reported elsewhere since this has NOTHING to do with routing. Yes I have a router that connects my LAN to the Internet, but my LAN contains a number of Gigabit switches and AirPort Extreme basestations for WiFi access. Nothing strange about that and as I say, it all works perfectly except for iTunes which manages to lose these devices even though they are still on the network and networking perfectly.


It is also NOTHING to do with DHCP since the IP addresses are not changing on ANY of the devices involved.


After a device has disappeared from iTunes, it will at some time re-appear, but I've not been able to determine any pattern of when they will be back.


I have to say it is VERY disappointing when Apple fail so utterly at something as fundamentally reliable as IP networking. Obviously they are trying to do something clever with these connections, but have failed miserably. Having said that, I don't believe everyone is suffering from these issues, but I also doubt I am the only one. With several iTunes updates since the introduction of iOS5, I would have hoped this would be fixed by now, but it's not.


So, does anyone have any answers to this? Is there some fix that can be applied that enables iTunes to maintain contact with the iOS devices?

  • UKenGB Level 2 Level 2 (270 points)

    Well, iOS 6 is with us and Mountain Lion and also iTunes 11 and guess what, STILL NOT FIXED.


    With only 2 devices listed out of the 6 that should be there (both those had USB connections at the time) I turned off WiFi on the Mac. This doesn't affect it's networking capability since it also has a wired connection to a Gigabit switch to which the WiFi base stations (AirPort Extreme dual band) are also connected. I then turned WiFi back on and the Devices button in iTunes showed the spinning daisy wheel and soon it showed 6 devices connected, even though it took several minutes for the daisy wheel to go away.


    So this raises the question of what connection method is used by iTunes for it's "Sync over WiFi" option. It has been my belief (and many others on this forum) that the iTunes Mac does not need WiFi as it simply uses the IP network, however that may physically connect, but switching WiFi off then on again on my Mac, causing the devices to re-appear in iTunes would indicate that WiFi is indeed in some way required.


    I then started a sync with an iPad 3 (not connected with USB) and it's taking ages. Every step exaggeratedly slow. This is I think the first sync with iTunes 11, is that the problem? No idea, but so far it's not lost the connection, just taking over half an hour just to upload a few updated apps.


    However, what IS obvious is the fact that the latest versions of all the software involved has not produced a cure. How widespread is the problem? What are the factors that determine whether iOS devices disappear from iTunes or not? It would appear that for some users, WiFi syncing is OK, so why do so many others find it so incredibly flaky?


    Then there's also the question of the relevance of WiFi on the iTunes Mac. If the connection is just using Ethernet and is not wired or wireless specific, why does switching WiFi on cause iTunes to connect to the iOS devices.


    Overall this is very unsatisfactory performance by Apple.