Wednesday, June 24, 2009

iPhone not recognized in iTunes on Windows XP

I had a user who got an iPhone, installed iTunes (8.2), but couldn't get the iPhone to work in iTunes. It is a 16GB iPhone 3G. I took a look and couldn't quite figure it out right away either. I uninstalled/reinstalled iTunes, checked device manager and saw the iPhone recognized as a digital still camera, and kept getting an error from iTunes saying that it detected an iPhone but it wasn't recognized properly and needed to be unplugged then plugged back in. That didn't help. I finally seem to have figured it out, and came up with what I expect caused it to begin with.

First off, I belive the cause of the problem was that the user had first plugged the phone in to the computer while talking on it. This caused the OS to have issues recognizing the phone correctly, which then carried over every time the device was plugged back in. The reason I believe this is because I got it to work, then the user plugged the phone in while talking to me and it stopped working again. Luckily the same fix worked both times, and is quick and easy.

The solution to the problem, once it starts happening, is to update the Apple Mobile Device USB Driver. To do this, follow these instructions:

1. Right-click on the My Computer icon and select Manage
2. In the left tree-view column, click on Device Manager, which is under the System Tools section
3. On the right, expand Universal Serial Bus controllers which is likely towards the bottom
4. You should see Apple Mobile Device USB Driver there. If not, make sure your iPhone is plugged in. Assuming it is there, right-click on it and select Update Driver

5. Choose to allow it to install the update automatically, which should be the default, and click Next
6. It should appear to be doing some searching, then act as if it's installing something, then it will say it is finished. Click the button to close
7. Now try opening iTunes again and see if your iPhone is recognized correctly. Hopefully it is, and you can go on using your iPhone like normal and synchronizing it with iTunes

Once I updated the Mobile Device driver it seemed to work fine. Then the user plugged it back in while talking on it, and the same error started appearing again in iTunes. Again, a quick driver update and the problem was gone. If you're having the same problem and run across this, hopefully it takes care of it and you can stop stressing out over your phone. Good luck

Update: If this doesn't work for you try resetting your phone, then uninstall iTunes, reinstall iTunes, then plug your phone back in. It sounds like a hassle, and it is, but if it'll fix your phone then it'll be well worth it. To restore and reset your phone, check out my previous post. If you can't reset using the normal method you may have to use recovery or DFU mode, which are covered in previous posts as well. Once the phone has been restored to factory defaults (which means you need to choose to set it up as a new iPhone during the restore process), then go ahead with uninstalling iTunes. To do that, follow the uninstall directions in the Apple KB. Once you've uninstalled iTunes, go ahead and reinstall it while making sure to restart your computer in between the uninstall and reinstall. Once iTunes has been reinstalled, plug your iPhone into your computer and let the computer recognize and install it. If this works properly then you can go ahead and use iTunes to restore your phone to the most recent backup of the old settings. If this doesn't work then I'd suggest going right into a DFU mode restore if you didn't have to already, then trying to plug the phone in again. If that still doesn't work then I would say it points at a hardware failure. Be sure to verify your connection cable is working correctly before completely giving up, but if that's not it either then you're stuck relying on the warranty (if you still have one) or using the iPhone as a paperweight.


Rick said...

What if its not there listed in the USB?

rslygh said...

If you don't have the Apple Mobile Device driver listed, it is likely that you need to reinstall iTunes. Something probably went wrong with the install and the driver files aren't being found when you plug in your iPhone

rslygh said...

If your iPhone is not being recognized at all, that would also cause the Apple Mobile Device from showing up. Check the USB cable, and maybe try plugging the iPhone into a different computer if you can. If that doesn't work, you'll have to talk to Apple or AT&T (or whoever your provider is if you're outside the US) to troubleshoot and possibly replace your phone. I've had to have one replaced because of some post-3.0 upgrade issues, and it was pretty hassle-free.

Rick said...

It's listed in the driver but listed under image device.... I think I may have screwed up by uploading pics from my phone using a program other than iTunes... I usually stay away from iTunes when my phone is plugged in since apple likes to delete my cracked apps

rslygh said...

Hi Rick,

It's been a while since you posted your comment, but if you're still having the issue it's normal for the iPhone to show up as an Imaging Device in Device Manager. However, it should still have the entries in the other sections as well. One question I'd have now would be whether you had used a Palm or Windows Mobile device in the past, and whether you had installed sync software for either of those types of phones on the same machine you're using your iPhone on?

Jeremy said...

I tried to fix you mentioned, it worked. Thanks a million, Optus would have been at this for months and never worked it out. My wife's IPhone was purchased a few months after mine, yet it would not recognise the phone, it would recognise my Iphone. This fix worked a treat, top work.


Rob said...

I have a similar problem but worse. When I plug my phone in (even before it tries to launch iTunes) Windows XP Professional SP2 32-bit flashes up it has found new hardware - Digital Still Camera - then immediately crashes. I can't find an entry anywhere in Device Manager for this device to delete it and start again. Help!

rslygh said...

Hi Rob,

I added some additional information to the post above which I hope you find useful. Take a look and let us know if it helps or not. Good luck!

Rob said...

At last! I've managed to detour my problem. I have an Acer Travelmate 6410 (no inbuilt webcam) with Windows XP Pro 32-bit SP2. I found a driver called lv321av.sys that is something to do with a Logitech webcam (inbuilt?). Quite why it is there I'm not sure. Anyway I renamed it to something else, restarted Windows and hey presto Windows no longer crashes. I've been able to run iTunes and do a full sync/backup of my iPhone. Thanks for all your help. That's most of today gone sorting this out!

rslygh said...

Glad to hear it Rob, and thanks for posting a follow-up.

Anonymous said...

I had the same problem with my Samsung Galaxy S3 (not the iTunes part), each time I plugged it into the usb port it was only recognized as a camera and I couldn't get at my micro SD card.
I went into the device manager as you said, updated the driver and now it works perfectly.
You, sir, just became my hero!

Lei_Fangh said...

OMG!!! Thank you so frikkin much!! I am horrible with technology! Absolutely horrible! I swear you saved my iphone life. The first iphone I got when I plugged it into my pc, it did the time out thing and then it said that it had to do a factory reset. It ended up with me bringing it back to the store and having to trade it in for a different one. I was SO embarrased. And then this one did it too. I thought I was going to die of embarrasement bringing it back AGAIN. But I did a search online and thanks to this post it worked. Seriously, thank you SOOOOO much for being VERY SPECIFIC. So many people say go into settings and click this or that. They don't seem to realize that there are people out there young like me who still have NO IDEA where any settings or managment or anything else is. You are amazing. Again, thanks!

rslygh said...

Ha ha ha, you're welcome. I'm glad it helped.