Troubleshooting for iOS: Device not recognized in iTunes for Windows

This article is a troubleshooting article for iOS and specific to the issue that device not recognized in iTunes for Windows. I have tried to present the entire troubleshooting methods in a lucid style in this resource. Please read carefully and if you are a victim of this trouble, just carry out the step by step instructions in this article for effective troubleshooting. Please read ahead.

What is iOS?

This is a mobile operating system developed by the Apple Incorporation for the products marketed by them like iPhone, iPad and iPod. The usage of this operating system is limited only to the usage of devices developed by Apple. It also supports other devices developed by Apple like Apple TV. Let us discuss about the specific trouble that occurs in iOS viz., device not recognized in iTunes for Windows, in this article.

How to troubleshoot the issue: Device not recognized in iTunes for Windows in iOS

First of all, let us see the products or applications involved or affected during the troubleshooting of the said error. They are viz., Windows 7 / Vista / XP / 2000, iTunes, iPod touch, iPhone and iPad. The symptoms of this error or trouble are:
  • When you connect your iPod touch or iPad or iPhone to a Windows PC, your device may not appear under the Devices in iTunes

  • Your iPod touch or iPad or iPhone may not be restored in iTunes

  • Immediately to the device's entry in the Device Manager, you may get marks like X or plug symbol or a question mark or an exclamation point

  • Your device may not be recognized by iTunes further during a restore or an update

  • The initial steps for the troubleshooting or resolution of this error involves easy steps like using the following 3 Troubleshooting Assistants viz., iPhone Troubleshooting Assistant, iPad Troubleshooting Assistant and iPod touch Troubleshooting Assistant. Sometimes, these troubleshooting assistants may not offer a much satisfactory resolution to you and then it becomes imperative to follow the steps given hereunder, for effective resolution.

    iTunes update:

    After trying out the troubleshooting assistants for your devices like iPod touch, iPad and iPhone not to your satisfaction in resolution of the error, first you need to check whether you have updated your computer with the latest iTunes version. To update with the latest version of iTunes, just select Check for updates in the menu - Help.

    USB cable check:

    The next step is to check the USB cable. See that the 30 pin of the USB cable is not damaged and free from dust and debris. If you have other USB cable as spare, please do check with it.

    Verification of Apple Mobile Device Support in your computer:

    Apple Mobile Device Support is required for all iOS gadgets and it will automatically be installed with iTunes installation. You have to verify the installation of the device support in your computer. Here it is, how it is to be done:

    Windows XP OS: Choose Control Panel button from Start. Then open the link viz., "Add or Remove Programs" from control panel and check the Device Support application for Apple Mobile is installed and visible in the list of current programs.

    For Windows 7 / Vista OS: As stated above, choose the Control Panel and click "Uninstall a program" button or if you are using Vista's Classic view of the control panel, choose "Programs and Features" button. Just verify the device support has been listed there or not.

    If you see that the mobile device support from Apple has not been installed, then first uninstall all programs like Apple Application Support, Apple Software Update, QuickTime and iTunes. Further, once again, you need to reinstall the iTunes application in your computer. Here is how you reinstall the said application in your PC: How to reinstall iTunes in Windows XP? and How to reinstall iTunes in Windows 7 / Vista? Generally, there may not be much trouble to install the iTunes once again. Then, in your computer, try to restart the Apple Mobile Device Service.

    Recommended: How to clean up iTunes library in a few simple steps, using iTunes Cleanup?

    Check the Apple Mobile Device USB Driver is installed:

    You can check whether the Apple Mobile Device USB Driver is installed in your computer or not, by following the steps stated hereunder:

    Windows XP OS: First connect the Apple device to your computer. If the iTune application is launched, just quit. Go to the "Start" menu and right click on "My Computer" and select the "Properties" button. Then click on the "Hardware" tab followed by a click on "Device Manager" button. Then the Device Manager window opens. Further, click on the [+] plus icon next to USB controllers to expand the selection. This is how it looks:
    iOS 1
    Then, you can locate the Apple Mobile Device USB Driver from the list. Check the said entry is displayed without any symbols like "?" or "!" or "X" against it. Then the driver is installed successfully. However, sometimes you can find the said Driver is listed with a red X mark appearing against the entry. This means the device is disabled. Just right click in Device Manager and select the "Enable" button from the shortcut menu for enabling the Driver.
    iOS 2
    If you do not see any such Driver in the list, then your Apple Mobile Device USB Driver is not installed. If the said USB Driver entry appears with a question mark or an exclamation mark, you need to reinstall the driver once again.

    How to reinstall the Apple Mobile Device Driver?
    First choose the Device Manager as stated above. Then right click the Apple Mobile Device entry and choose "Uninstall" from the shortcut menu and click "OK". Then go to the Device Manager window, right click on USB controllers and select "Scan for hardware changes" from the menu.
    iOS 3
    The Windows OS tries to reinstall the necessary driver and attempts to device remount automatically. This is how the Apple Mobile Device Driver is installed in Windows XP OS.

    For Windows 7 / Vista OS: As stated earlier, just connect the Apple device in your PC and if iTunes launch, just quit it. Go to Start menu => Computer => Properties. See the Device Manager menu in the upper left corner and open the same. Expand the selection for USB controllers by clicking at appropriate [+] or disclosure triangle.
    iOS 4
    Try to locate the Apple Mobile Device USB Driver in the display. If the entry is clear from a "!" or "?" or a downward arrow, then the driver is successfully installed. If the entry of the same is not found, then it is not at all installed. If a downward arrow appears in the device entry, then the driver is disabled. To enable, right click the entry and select "Enable" from the menu.
    iOS 5
    If your Driver installation is not satisfactory or failed, then try the following steps to reinstall the same:
    First, right click on the mobile device entry in Device manager and select "Uninsttall" from the shortcut menu. Then from the box, select "Delete the driver software for this device" and click "OK".
    iOS 6
    Further click "OK" for the action to complete. Then in the Device Manager window, right click on USB controllers and select "Scan for hardware changes" from the menu.
    iOS 7
    Then your Windows 7 or Vista OS installs the driver and remount the device automatically.

    How to update the Apple Mobile Device Driver?

    iOS 7
    First right click on the Mobile Device entry in the Device Manager box and select Update Driver Software. Then choose "Browse my computer for driver software" followed by "Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer". Then click "Have Disk" button and if the same is unavailable, select the device category like Mobile Phone or Storage Device which is available in the list and click next, then the "Have Disk" button will appear. Click on the "Browse" button and follow the path "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\Drivers". Then double click on the "usbaapl" or "usbaapl64" file. Finally click on "Open" in the Have Disk window and click Next to finish the installation of the driver.

    Third party software conflicts:

    Finally, a third party software installed in your computer may have interrupted or caused your Apple device from being recognized. Some of the third party software may be from other mobile / Tablet manufacturers like Sony, Novatel, Bora, Nokia or Samsung. During such conflicts, first remove or uninstall the third party software from your computer and then remove your iTunes installation along with other Apple software updates. Then try reinstalling iTunes and test the connected iPod touch or iPad or iPhone. Also you may need to reinstall your phone connectivity software and then check your Apple device once again.


    These are all the general steps that may involve in troubleshooting the issue of "Devices not recognized in iTunes for Windows". I hope the above narration is of some help to you in the said troubleshooting. Even after following above steps, if your problem persists, please contact the help mechanisms from Apple or the vendor.


    Guest Author: The_L04 Dec 2013

    I have Windows 8 (not the 8.1 upgrade, just regular Windows 8) and I'm having the same problem. I've tried all of these things and they haven't worked. Any tips for us Windows 8 users?

  • Do not include your name, "with regards" etc in the comment. Write detailed comment, relevant to the topic.
  • No HTML formatting and links to other web sites are allowed.
  • This is a strictly moderated site. Absolutely no spam allowed.
  • Name: