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Question: Can't backup iPhone photos to PC

Hi everyone,

For years, I've been able to easily backup my iPhone photos to my external hard drive by having both connected to my PC laptop, and just copying from one device to the other. However, that's suddenly not working. Now when I try to do this, particularly with larger files, I get error messages such as "A device attached to the system is not functioning", or "The device is unreachable". I think these messages are applying to the iPhone, but I can see its contents on my PC anyway, I did tell the phone to "Trust This Computer", and my external hard drive is also fine.

What is going on here, and how can I back up these photos to free up space on my phone? My iCloud is full (and those photos won't download, but that's another issue I'll deal with later), and I've always preferred manually backing up to my external drive anyway. Again, this has worked for years...


iPhone X, iOS 11.3

Posted on


Apr 22, 2018 8:24 AM in response to rpvee In response to rpvee

Looks like I am not the only one. This is an issue which will cause me to leave apple.

I have had the same experience you have had. Ios 11 broke file transfers from iphone to pc. IOS 11 update caused “attached device not working properly bug” when dragging files from phone to pc. As of 11.3 update that bug has disappeared and has been replaced with “cyclic redundancy error. I did eventually back up my phone (pics and vid) to my pc but it took me about 12hrs to do so. I was forced to used icloud to backup my data and copy that to pc. I have talked to apple supervisors and tried all troubleshooting but it is broken.

The only thing that helps some is installing itunes and having your phone “sync” not backup. This still does not fix it however.

This will probably be my last iphone... at least for taking pics. Their QA is going down the hole.

Apr 22, 2018 8:24 AM

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Apr 22, 2018 8:40 AM in response to Thundercloud3 In response to Thundercloud3

Also I wanted to note I have tried this file transfer from both my iphone 7 plus and my wife’s using both windows 7 and windows 10 pulling the files directly to a ssd folder and an external harddrive and always the same errors.

I wish apple would fix this.

For those of you who say use the “import to pc” function this is broken as well

Apr 22, 2018 8:40 AM

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Apr 22, 2018 9:19 AM in response to Thundercloud3 In response to Thundercloud3

As you might know, you're not talking to Apple here. This is a user to user tech forum, and I'm just a user like yourself.

That being said, I'm very sorry about your bad experience, but I would like you to know mine.

I own an iP7 running 11.3, and on my device:

- iOS 11 didn't break any file transfer from iPhone to PC;

- the backup time depends on how many data are to be backed up (using iTunes) to your PC for the first time. If you do it regularly (let's say once a week), you don't have to wait more than a few minutes.

- the "sync" operation via iTunes starts with an automatic backup, unless you use this instructions:

Manually manage content on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch using iTunes - Apple Support

- import to PC function is not broken, not on my PC (windows 7) nor on a MAC.

Now, let's talk about external drives. I use two of them, but I'm not trying to backup my iphone nor to transfer my iPhone's content there directly.

I use iTunes library, than copy my backups to the external drive(s). I import my pictures on a destop folder, then copy them to the external drive.

To my knowledge, Apple doesn't support a direct backup / transfer to an external drive (but I can be wrong). I don't think there is anything to fix.

Let's talk about troubleshootings: can you please tell me what steps Apple "Supervisors" suggested?

Just to know and see if I can add my two cents.

In other words, I would like that you consider the opportunity to remain with Apple and be satistied.

I know, my english is very poor, but I'm sure you understand my thoughts.



Apr 22, 2018 9:19 AM

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Question: Can't backup iPhone photos to PC