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Problems with Your iTunes Connection?

written by: luis84•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 10/7/2010

When your iPhone decides to stop connecting to iTunes what do you blame? Is it the hardware, the software, is it the iPhone or iTunes? This helpful guide will help you find some solutions for common problems such as when iTunes will not load support.

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    iTunes has been the official software for interacting with the iPhone, since the first iPhone was released. There have been many otheriTunes  programs to duplicate some of the functionality, however, iTunes is required for the majority of interactions with the iPhone. iTunes relies on a set of Mobile Device drivers to gain the ability to "interact" with the iPhone.

    These drivers can become corrupt, or damaged. When this occurs, it becomes impossible for iTunes to communicate with the iPhone and therefore many different errors occur. In addition, problems with the dock connectors, cables and USB ports can occur. These problems can often lead to error messages with iTunes which fail to explain the actual problem. You may find your iPhone will not connect to the iTunes store or iTunes will not load support for your iPhone.

    There are several different ways to troubleshoot and fix these problems. This guide will cover the most common problems, including those related to jailbroken iPhones.

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    Software Problems

    The most common problems related to connections and restores are software problems. Software problems can occur when iTunes or the Mobile Device Support drivers become corrupted. These drivers now come packaged with iTunes.

    The solution to these problems is actually the same. Some common problems which can indicate a software issue are as follows:

    • Plugging the iPhone into the USB port does not have any effect.
    • iTunes gives an error on restore.
    • iTunes will not load properly.
    • iTunes gives an error when it is launched.
    • iPhone does not appear in devices list in iTunes.

    Most of the above indicate a software problem. Some of the above could be either hardware or software related. Below are a list of solutions to try, in order. These solutions will typically resolve most software related problems with the iPhone:

    • Reset the iPhone by holding the sleep/wake button and the home button down for 10 seconds.
    • Uninstall iTunes completely.
    • Uninstall the Mobile Device Support Drivers.
    • Install the latest version of iTunes from the iTunes website.
    • Ensure you have a valid internet connection. (Common problem when iPhone cannot connect to iTunes store).

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    Hardware Problems

    Hardware problems may also occur with the iPhone. Most of the problems that prevent the iPhone from connecting to iTunes are not problems with the actual hardware on the iPhone, in reality they are problems with the hardware that connects the iPhone to the computer. Here are some symptoms of potential hardware problems:

    • iPhone quickly connects and disconnects from iTunes.
    • iPhone is connected but iTunes won't recognize it.
    • iPhone connects but fails to restore or gives an error message.

    There are several possible solutions. Regardless of how minor these seem, they do actually help. iTunes is very picky about things and may work with one cable and not the other, it may even work with one USB port and not the other. Trying these simple solutions can help:

    • Clean iPhone dock connector with Q-tip and contact cleaner.
    • Use different USB Cable/Official USB Cable (aftermarket cables often fail on restore).
    • Try a different USB port.
    • Use a Desktop not a Laptop (USB ports on laptops are more problematic).
    • Try a different computer.