iTunes 12 Sync Problems: Why Doesn’t Syncing from iTunes to iOS Devices Work?

Update: See this article for a possible solution to sync issues with iOS devices.

Syncing isn’t easy; syncing a variety of disparate content from iTunes to iOS devices is complex. There have always been problems with syncing, but lately, these problems have increased.

I get lots of email from readers, both of this website and of my Ask the iTunes Guy column on Macworld, and lately a lot of those emails have been about syncing problems. My friend Rob Griffiths had a problem last month where duplicate tracks in his iTunes library prevented him from syncing his iPhone 6. But he’s still having problems; that wasn’t the only issue preventing him from syncing.

I briefly had an iPhone 6. I returned it because of the size, but I had to restore that iPhone about five times in the week I owned it because of syncing issues.

And I’ve had readers contact me with problems syncing older devices; problems that have increased since the release of iTunes 12 and iOS 8. One reader even broke down and updated from an iPhone 4s to an iPhone 5s, hoping his syncing problems would go away; alas, they didn’t. (This makes me think that many sync problems have something to do with iTunes’ library files.)

Syncing isn’t easy; but Apple really needs to make it work. I know that some of the problems are edge cases, but so many people have problems that Apple needs to seriously pay attention to these issues. If you search Apple’s forums, just in the past 30 days, you’ll find dozens of threads about sync issues. Sometimes, the sync simply doesn’t work; at other times, it blocks at “Waiting for changes to be applied.” It’s impossible for users to resolve these issues, and Apple doesn’t provide much help. The general response from Apple is to restore the iOS device. In some cases, this my work, but in my experience, its effectiveness is limited; sync problems come back a short time afterward.

To be fair, it’s possible that this only happens to a small percentage of iOS users. Many if not most iOS users never sync their devices with iTunes, and many others don’t have much content to sync. But Rob Griffiths, who I mentioned above, doesn’t have a large music library. He’s not an edge case at all.

As for me, I had terrible problems in the last months of iOS 7, having to restore my iPhone 5s several times. I’d want to sync to add a new album to my iPhone, and it would take a half hour, and sometimes those syncs would simply fail. Curiously, since iTunes 12 and iOS 8, I’m having fewer problems.

Syncing is hard; but Apple should do a lot more to make it work.


If you have sync problems, I would appreciate if you could post a comment below. I’m trying to collect as much information as possible to try and get Apple to pay attention to this issue. Please post the device you’re using, and a brief explanation of the problems you’re having. Also, post if these problems are new, since iOS 8, or if you’ve had them for a long time. Thanks!

Also, read my series of articles outlining how I’d fix iTunes.

510 thoughts on “iTunes 12 Sync Problems: Why Doesn’t Syncing from iTunes to iOS Devices Work?

  1. “Why Doesn’t Syncing from iTunes to iOS Devices Work?”

    Because Cupertino QC competency these days is on par with the Iraq war?

    Because Kirk has incredibly damaging dirt on senior Cupertino execs that makes them horribly screw up iTunes so Kirk can have endless gainful employment in writing about it?

    Personally, I think all these problems could be eliminated if Apple just moved from a once-per-year OS feature release to an every three month schedule…

    • I’m not sure that it a less frequent product cycle would change much as far as syncing is concerned; I’m pretty sure everything that affects syncing is independent of the actual releases. But I think that under the hood it is gotten more complicated, and I also think the different hardware affects it differently. Hence the problems with the iPhone 6 in particular.

      Whatever the causes, this problem should not be so prevalent.

    • Chucky has spotted the timing of this issue. It’s true, when Apple started building new revenue streams out of online services, the photos sync issues moved from occasional annoyance to every single freaking sync, it doesn’t work. Waiting for Photos to sync (when Photos has clearly finished, or determined there’s no photos to sync), is now filling up web posts, blogs and apple discussion groups. Cmon Apple! You expect me to buy a car when you won’t even fix photo syncing?????????????? Grr.

    • I have iTunes 12 and an iphone 6s. This is the third time I have had my audiobook library disappear on my iPhone and I am forced to resync the whole darn library. I also have to redownload my music library onto the iPhone. Overtime Apple offers an update I should always refus it until the kinks are worked out.

      Tired of the hassle….

  2. “Why Doesn’t Syncing from iTunes to iOS Devices Work?”

    Because Cupertino QC competency these days is on par with the Iraq war?

    Because Kirk has incredibly damaging dirt on senior Cupertino execs that makes them horribly screw up iTunes so Kirk can have endless gainful employment in writing about it?

    Personally, I think all these problems could be eliminated if Apple just moved from a once-per-year OS feature release to an every three month schedule…

    • I’m not sure that it a less frequent product cycle would change much as far as syncing is concerned; I’m pretty sure everything that affects syncing is independent of the actual releases. But I think that under the hood it is gotten more complicated, and I also think the different hardware affects it differently. Hence the problems with the iPhone 6 in particular.

      Whatever the causes, this problem should not be so prevalent.

    • Chucky has spotted the timing of this issue. It’s true, when Apple started building new revenue streams out of online services, the photos sync issues moved from occasional annoyance to every single freaking sync, it doesn’t work. Waiting for Photos to sync (when Photos has clearly finished, or determined there’s no photos to sync), is now filling up web posts, blogs and apple discussion groups. Cmon Apple! You expect me to buy a car when you won’t even fix photo syncing?????????????? Grr.

    • I have iTunes 12 and an iphone 6s. This is the third time I have had my audiobook library disappear on my iPhone and I am forced to resync the whole darn library. I also have to redownload my music library onto the iPhone. Overtime Apple offers an update I should always refus it until the kinks are worked out.

      Tired of the hassle….

  3. Sync issues really started to show up for me when iCloud came to the fore. Shortly before its demise, I picked up 2 iPod Classic 160GB units. Both always sync just fine with no complaints. Of course, there is no cloud support for them. My iPhone 6 and iPad Air both are connected to the cloud and sync generally simply does not work.

    Apple could help this situation out A LOT by simply TELLING THE USER what the software sees as a problem. Granted, some folks would not understand it, but, it might spark the right conversations to solve the problems.

    • I don’t think it’s the cloud that’s the problem. I think the iPod classic is a much simpler device, and syncing is simpler. It’s not only that there are no apps, but I think that, deep down, the way the device handles files is different.

      • as a data point my 1st gen iPod Touch still syncs flawlessly – sadly its battery life is poor these days so i don’t carry it around

    • I’m having trouble too and (coincidentally?) it only came about around the time the cloud was more or less forced onto me with an update. It should be an easy option to simply have zero affiliation with the cloud. I don’t want anything to do with it. Anyway, syncing has been f’d for me since I got my new 6. Same playlists I’ve been using for years suddenly refuse to copy onto my phone. If I put the entire library on shuffle, you can see it land on a song and immediately skip it – sometimes 20 or so in a row. I’m almost to the point where I’m going to go back to an old ipod – but with all the updates with the itunes software I wonder if it will even be supported? COME THE HECK ON ITUNES TEAM! THIS IS A HUGE PROBLEM!

        • I guess all the problems happen because of using itunes
          So i stick to itunes alternative called WALTR for Mac/PC. This is the best app to get any video/music to your iOS device . Since i got Waltr i haven`t used itunes at all
          Look it up, maybe it`ll help you

  4. Sync issues really started to show up for me when iCloud came to the fore. Shortly before its demise, I picked up 2 iPod Classic 160GB units. Both always sync just fine with no complaints. Of course, there is no cloud support for them. My iPhone 6 and iPad Air both are connected to the cloud and sync generally simply does not work.

    Apple could help this situation out A LOT by simply TELLING THE USER what the software sees as a problem. Granted, some folks would not understand it, but, it might spark the right conversations to solve the problems.

    • I don’t think it’s the cloud that’s the problem. I think the iPod classic is a much simpler device, and syncing is simpler. It’s not only that there are no apps, but I think that, deep down, the way the device handles files is different.

      • as a data point my 1st gen iPod Touch still syncs flawlessly – sadly its battery life is poor these days so i don’t carry it around

    • I’m having trouble too and (coincidentally?) it only came about around the time the cloud was more or less forced onto me with an update. It should be an easy option to simply have zero affiliation with the cloud. I don’t want anything to do with it. Anyway, syncing has been f’d for me since I got my new 6. Same playlists I’ve been using for years suddenly refuse to copy onto my phone. If I put the entire library on shuffle, you can see it land on a song and immediately skip it – sometimes 20 or so in a row. I’m almost to the point where I’m going to go back to an old ipod – but with all the updates with the itunes software I wonder if it will even be supported? COME THE HECK ON ITUNES TEAM! THIS IS A HUGE PROBLEM!

        • I guess all the problems happen because of using itunes
          So i stick to itunes alternative called WALTR for Mac/PC. This is the best app to get any video/music to your iOS device . Since i got Waltr i haven`t used itunes at all
          Look it up, maybe it`ll help you

  5. I think it has to do with all the work involved to fix the syncing issue. I saw at the Apple Store a few months ago about 3-4 people that were there at the same time with syncing issues. The end result for some was to basically recreate everything. Removing iTunes from the system, scrubbing all the prefs and other libraries that have to do with iTunes and re-creating the iTunes music folder. It looked pretty frustrating.

    • Yes, remember those days of Apple when you could laugh at your Windows friends who had to wipe and re-install their OS once per year to make their computer work fast again? Apple has learnt from this fantastic way of doing things it seems. The hours of work involved in Apple support’s standard responses (which often don’t work – I just don’t read Apple’s std responses anymore cos they’re not relevant) are abhorrent for people who use their computer for more than just basic needs and who build up and value data like playlists and other such things.

    • I did all that it did not matter. Spoke with apple rep who thought my PC was the problem. Not the iPhone 6. Several times certain files were send to Apple. The they called bCk telling me they have no solution. Lot of B.S.

  6. I think it has to do with all the work involved to fix the syncing issue. I saw at the Apple Store a few months ago about 3-4 people that were there at the same time with syncing issues. The end result for some was to basically recreate everything. Removing iTunes from the system, scrubbing all the prefs and other libraries that have to do with iTunes and re-creating the iTunes music folder. It looked pretty frustrating.

    • Yes, remember those days of Apple when you could laugh at your Windows friends who had to wipe and re-install their OS once per year to make their computer work fast again? Apple has learnt from this fantastic way of doing things it seems. The hours of work involved in Apple support’s standard responses (which often don’t work – I just don’t read Apple’s std responses anymore cos they’re not relevant) are abhorrent for people who use their computer for more than just basic needs and who build up and value data like playlists and other such things.

    • I did all that it did not matter. Spoke with apple rep who thought my PC was the problem. Not the iPhone 6. Several times certain files were send to Apple. The they called bCk telling me they have no solution. Lot of B.S.

  7. I have two iPos touches (5th generation) and since iOS 7 and iTunes 11 syncing is a real pain in the butt. Every time I sync these devices, It hangs at “waiting for items to copy.” Sometimes, Syncing won’t even start. The only way I can get my devices to sync is to restore the software and that doesn’t always work. I have become increasingly upset with the lack of support or communication on the part of Apple over this issue. Each time iTunes or iOS is updated I hope for a resolution to this problem. And it isn’t being resolved. I do have issues with syncing with my iPhone and iPad as well, but it isn’t near as bad as the iPod.

  8. I have two iPos touches (5th generation) and since iOS 7 and iTunes 11 syncing is a real pain in the butt. Every time I sync these devices, It hangs at “waiting for items to copy.” Sometimes, Syncing won’t even start. The only way I can get my devices to sync is to restore the software and that doesn’t always work. I have become increasingly upset with the lack of support or communication on the part of Apple over this issue. Each time iTunes or iOS is updated I hope for a resolution to this problem. And it isn’t being resolved. I do have issues with syncing with my iPhone and iPad as well, but it isn’t near as bad as the iPod.

  9. I find what works when syncing stalls or fails is to do a hard reset on the phone (sometimes coupled with restarting computer). In addition to actually completing a sync, it does so somewhat quickly.

    I’d like to add that most everything i do on iTunes results in a spinning beachball. As simple a “task” as clicking on a playlist, choosing an album, hitting pause. And changing metadata makes me think it’s time to move to Spotify.

  10. I find what works when syncing stalls or fails is to do a hard reset on the phone (sometimes coupled with restarting computer). In addition to actually completing a sync, it does so somewhat quickly.

    I’d like to add that most everything i do on iTunes results in a spinning beachball. As simple a “task” as clicking on a playlist, choosing an album, hitting pause. And changing metadata makes me think it’s time to move to Spotify.

  11. This was the ONLY solution which worked for me and I hunted high & low on Google, Apple’s message boards, Bing, etc…
    1. With the device connected via cable, click on its icon
    2. Uncheck WiFi syncing in iTunes
    3. Click Apply
    4. Disconnect device from iMac
    5. Power off device
    6. Restart device
    7. Quit iTunes
    8. Re-launch iTunes
    9. Check WiFi syncing
    10. Click Apply
    11. Disconnect device from iMac
    12. Attempt to sync device in iTunes via WiFi

    • Pat’s solution is a riot! I had to look to see if it was dated April 1, but no, it’s last fall. It’s so iOS-typical that a solution takes 12 steps and how much time? to do something that is supposed to happen automatically, or at least after a click or two. I will try this procedure, but only on a day when I have nothing else to do!

      In my case, I want to sync not photos or music (try getting iTunes to understand that) but a database application called Home Inventory and another called MacJournal. They both have iPad apps that should sync with my Mac but don’t. The fallback is to use DropBox, but though I can see the files in my DropBox and on the DB web site, my iPad does not. Now if wifi syncing worked…

    • The last step is the most important. Attempting to sync via cable will continue to yield problematic results. For whatever reason, syncing via the data cable is causing iTunes to fail on random files, which interrupts the sync. This creates library entries on your phone for the songs, but fails to copy the actual file. Until this problem is resolved by Apple, I guess I will never “jack in” my iPhone…

  12. This was the ONLY solution which worked for me and I hunted high & low on Google, Apple’s message boards, Bing, etc…
    1. With the device connected via cable, click on its icon
    2. Uncheck WiFi syncing in iTunes
    3. Click Apply
    4. Disconnect device from iMac
    5. Power off device
    6. Restart device
    7. Quit iTunes
    8. Re-launch iTunes
    9. Check WiFi syncing
    10. Click Apply
    11. Disconnect device from iMac
    12. Attempt to sync device in iTunes via WiFi

    • Pat’s solution is a riot! I had to look to see if it was dated April 1, but no, it’s last fall. It’s so iOS-typical that a solution takes 12 steps and how much time? to do something that is supposed to happen automatically, or at least after a click or two. I will try this procedure, but only on a day when I have nothing else to do!

      In my case, I want to sync not photos or music (try getting iTunes to understand that) but a database application called Home Inventory and another called MacJournal. They both have iPad apps that should sync with my Mac but don’t. The fallback is to use DropBox, but though I can see the files in my DropBox and on the DB web site, my iPad does not. Now if wifi syncing worked…

    • The last step is the most important. Attempting to sync via cable will continue to yield problematic results. For whatever reason, syncing via the data cable is causing iTunes to fail on random files, which interrupts the sync. This creates library entries on your phone for the songs, but fails to copy the actual file. Until this problem is resolved by Apple, I guess I will never “jack in” my iPhone…

  13. I’ve got the latest version of iTunes (12) and an old iPod running iOs 5.
    Syncing has never failed me although I have a large library and sync lots of podcasts daily…
    The issue might rest with iOs rather than iTunes.

  14. I’ve got the latest version of iTunes (12) and an old iPod running iOs 5.
    Syncing has never failed me although I have a large library and sync lots of podcasts daily…
    The issue might rest with iOs rather than iTunes.

  15. I am really annoyed with 2 issues … 1) Purchases from the iTunes Store STAY in my Smartlist, even when they have NOTHING to do with the Smartlist. WTF? 2) The only way to get a true Sync with my smartlist these days is to remove it completely, remove ANY other music that MIGHT appear in the Smartlist, then resync with those choices checked off again.

    Ridiculous. Very annoying.

    s

  16. I am really annoyed with 2 issues … 1) Purchases from the iTunes Store STAY in my Smartlist, even when they have NOTHING to do with the Smartlist. WTF? 2) The only way to get a true Sync with my smartlist these days is to remove it completely, remove ANY other music that MIGHT appear in the Smartlist, then resync with those choices checked off again.

    Ridiculous. Very annoying.

    s

  17. It’s indeed frustrating, I never had problems in the past, but I think it also started with iCloud (or my new Mac I bought at the same time). After reading lots and trying out several things I’m now at a point where all purchased music (when I select only that playlist) works fine. The problem starts as soon as I pick an album or playlist containing music I uploaded from a CD, and this independently if I use my old iphone4s or the new iphone 6 .. Hope Apple finds a fix soon, cause this is extremely annoying; one of the major reasons why I’m in the Apple world, the rest I can get from the Android world at a cheaper price ..

  18. It’s indeed frustrating, I never had problems in the past, but I think it also started with iCloud (or my new Mac I bought at the same time). After reading lots and trying out several things I’m now at a point where all purchased music (when I select only that playlist) works fine. The problem starts as soon as I pick an album or playlist containing music I uploaded from a CD, and this independently if I use my old iphone4s or the new iphone 6 .. Hope Apple finds a fix soon, cause this is extremely annoying; one of the major reasons why I’m in the Apple world, the rest I can get from the Android world at a cheaper price ..

  19. The issue I seem to run into lately regarding syncing of my iOS devices is that iTunes fails to recognize them at seemingly random times. Basically I connect the iOS device, on the device I get a message to trust or not trust the computer (which I shouldn’t get) and then the device does not show up in iTunes. A check in System Profiler shows that the Mac can see the device, but iTunes cannot. So far the only way to resolve this issue is to restart the Mac, which is a major pain. As fast as the system boot is, the login seems to take forever.

  20. The issue I seem to run into lately regarding syncing of my iOS devices is that iTunes fails to recognize them at seemingly random times. Basically I connect the iOS device, on the device I get a message to trust or not trust the computer (which I shouldn’t get) and then the device does not show up in iTunes. A check in System Profiler shows that the Mac can see the device, but iTunes cannot. So far the only way to resolve this issue is to restart the Mac, which is a major pain. As fast as the system boot is, the login seems to take forever.

  21. The only device I currently have that will sync without a reboot immediately prior, is my old iPod 5. iPad 2, iPhone 5s can’t find the mac, and the mac can’t see them. Even when they are connected by cable.

    It’s like Apple took a time machine back to 1999, when you had to reboot daily so that things would continue to work.

  22. The only device I currently have that will sync without a reboot immediately prior, is my old iPod 5. iPad 2, iPhone 5s can’t find the mac, and the mac can’t see them. Even when they are connected by cable.

    It’s like Apple took a time machine back to 1999, when you had to reboot daily so that things would continue to work.

  23. I have so much trouble with my Iphone 4S and my Ipod touch that now I am scared to plug them on my computer. It works without trouble like one time out 10. I have to restore them, and even restore doesn’t work from time to time. One time I was trying to synchronize while chatting with Apple Support and the person was completely useless, telling me to check things I have checked so many times. After one hour all she could say was she doesn’t understand the problem, and maybe I should bring back my computer, ipod and iphone to a store. Seriously …

    I liked your article, and I wish Apple would notice and react to such big trouble…

    (I am sorry if I have made some English mistakes as I am not a native speaker).

    • and that’s exactly the biggest issue for me Amelie-Marie – the fact that Apple have their collective heads in the sand whenever an issue comes up. Trying to find any official responses to problems is becoming more and more difficult and little issues such as ongoing iTunes sync issues, not to mention flaky Home Sharing issues and the like – small stuff admittedly but damned annoying – never get addressed. It’s enough to make me want to haul out my Newton – i don’t recall being nearly as bug-ridden. And it was notoriously bug-ridden!

  24. I have so much trouble with my Iphone 4S and my Ipod touch that now I am scared to plug them on my computer. It works without trouble like one time out 10. I have to restore them, and even restore doesn’t work from time to time. One time I was trying to synchronize while chatting with Apple Support and the person was completely useless, telling me to check things I have checked so many times. After one hour all she could say was she doesn’t understand the problem, and maybe I should bring back my computer, ipod and iphone to a store. Seriously …

    I liked your article, and I wish Apple would notice and react to such big trouble…

    (I am sorry if I have made some English mistakes as I am not a native speaker).

    • and that’s exactly the biggest issue for me Amelie-Marie – the fact that Apple have their collective heads in the sand whenever an issue comes up. Trying to find any official responses to problems is becoming more and more difficult and little issues such as ongoing iTunes sync issues, not to mention flaky Home Sharing issues and the like – small stuff admittedly but damned annoying – never get addressed. It’s enough to make me want to haul out my Newton – i don’t recall being nearly as bug-ridden. And it was notoriously bug-ridden!

  25. I have 5s and iTunes 12.
    I may have found at least a band aid fix, your phone need to be connected via USB (at least that’s how it worked on mine)
    1. On Summary Options check “Sync only checked songs and videos” and “Manually manage music and videos”.
    2. Go to songs under “On my device” on the left side.
    3. Highlight all the songs and delete them.
    4. Go to Main list of songs and highlight what ever you want on your phone.
    5. Drag them to the left until the devices appear on your screen. Now drag them to your phone.

    The music immediately began syncing to my phone.
    Hope this helps, I know nothing else was working for me.

    • If you want to sync manually; if you want to only be able to drag things to the device. That, to me, is quite painful.

      • I’ve lost my list of synch items a number of times now, and have supported friends on Windows with the same issue. My solution now is to have manual synch, but set up 2 playlists for music: 1. Smart playlist with albums/artists who I want all of. 2. Manual playlist with specific songs that I want. Any time iTunes trashes the synch settings I can now easily recover it with only a few clicks.

        (P.S. Apple’s lack of ability to capture/report errors is terrible – how about if suddenly the phone goes from very full to not at all full then it might trigger an error? Or whatever process triggered the synch library to be dumped – perhaps due to corruption – could be reported to the user? Whatever – the user is not important, manual work-arounds to fix Apple’s poor support processes continue to be required)

  26. I have 5s and iTunes 12.
    I may have found at least a band aid fix, your phone need to be connected via USB (at least that’s how it worked on mine)
    1. On Summary Options check “Sync only checked songs and videos” and “Manually manage music and videos”.
    2. Go to songs under “On my device” on the left side.
    3. Highlight all the songs and delete them.
    4. Go to Main list of songs and highlight what ever you want on your phone.
    5. Drag them to the left until the devices appear on your screen. Now drag them to your phone.

    The music immediately began syncing to my phone.
    Hope this helps, I know nothing else was working for me.

    • If you want to sync manually; if you want to only be able to drag things to the device. That, to me, is quite painful.

      • I’ve lost my list of synch items a number of times now, and have supported friends on Windows with the same issue. My solution now is to have manual synch, but set up 2 playlists for music: 1. Smart playlist with albums/artists who I want all of. 2. Manual playlist with specific songs that I want. Any time iTunes trashes the synch settings I can now easily recover it with only a few clicks.

        (P.S. Apple’s lack of ability to capture/report errors is terrible – how about if suddenly the phone goes from very full to not at all full then it might trigger an error? Or whatever process triggered the synch library to be dumped – perhaps due to corruption – could be reported to the user? Whatever – the user is not important, manual work-arounds to fix Apple’s poor support processes continue to be required)

  27. My family has been using iPods and iPhones for many years now. We use the same iTunes library to manage content, mainly music, about 3,000 songs, majority imported from old CDs, but also many purchases. Syncing was always easy and no problems across many different devices, iOS versions, and iTunes versions, until about 6 weeks ago (late 2014). Now suddenly a disaster. Incomplete syncing and now content that used to be on my iPhone 5S is deleted (partial albums when used to be complete). Playlists not updating. Basically iTunes sync software is broken, not doing what is expected per the user interface. What a disaster for Apple. iTunes was my reason for convincing my family to switch to Apple products years ago. If iTunes broken I see no reason to continue with Apple products.

    • Same here! Just recieved my new iPod touch 64gb 5th gen this morning after thinking the problems I was having we’re down to the age of my 6yr old iPod classic 160gb. Took it out of the box, plugged it into my laptop to sync music, and it won’t sync! Not impressed, they can’t even say it’s down to too many other files on the device coz I literally opened and plugged in. Starts to wonder now if I have just wasted £250 and my old iPod is in fact fine and the problem is with iTunes?!

  28. My family has been using iPods and iPhones for many years now. We use the same iTunes library to manage content, mainly music, about 3,000 songs, majority imported from old CDs, but also many purchases. Syncing was always easy and no problems across many different devices, iOS versions, and iTunes versions, until about 6 weeks ago (late 2014). Now suddenly a disaster. Incomplete syncing and now content that used to be on my iPhone 5S is deleted (partial albums when used to be complete). Playlists not updating. Basically iTunes sync software is broken, not doing what is expected per the user interface. What a disaster for Apple. iTunes was my reason for convincing my family to switch to Apple products years ago. If iTunes broken I see no reason to continue with Apple products.

    • Same here! Just recieved my new iPod touch 64gb 5th gen this morning after thinking the problems I was having we’re down to the age of my 6yr old iPod classic 160gb. Took it out of the box, plugged it into my laptop to sync music, and it won’t sync! Not impressed, they can’t even say it’s down to too many other files on the device coz I literally opened and plugged in. Starts to wonder now if I have just wasted £250 and my old iPod is in fact fine and the problem is with iTunes?!

  29. If you run into the issue with the message “iTunes could not connect to this iPhone. This device is no longer connected.” with iTunes 12, it’s most likely a bug with usbmuxd. There is a workaround, but no fix until Apple updates iTunes and/or usbmuxd.

    Details were worked out here: https://discussions.apple.com/message/27079314#27079314

    The short version is there was a programming error somewhere that leads to usbmuxd never closing a connection and hitting the UNIX system limit for a single process. Once it does, iTunes can no longer sync to an iOS device locally or via WiFi. For those familiar with Terminal or Activity Monitor, kill the usbmuxd process and the issue is solved for 24-48 hours. You may need to also reboot mdns if WiFi syncing has stopped working. For those uncomfortable with that, reboot your Mac. For those comfortable with scripting, you can make a task to automatically do these relaunches on a regular basis until Apple fixes this issue.

    In my personal experience, it is related to how many devices iTunes “sees”. So if you have WiFi syncing turned on you may see this more quickly. I have 5 iOS devices, a few of which largely stay at home all day. They have synced flawlessly via WiFi for years, with easy and automatic nightly syncs when plugged in to charge overnight, and I now very quickly run into this issue when trying local or WiFi sync. I have to restart usbmuxd and mdns about 3 times daily to keep things working. With one device and no WiFi sync, you may go as long as 48 hours without hitting this bug.

    Apple has known about this since November or so, as I (and I’m sure many others) have spent numerous hours with AppleCare at multiple levels, run Apple-provided diagnostic software, and sent reports to iTunes Engineers. Radars have been filed, and the issue has been worked out pretty conclusively by oskapt in that Apple Discussion thread linked above.

    Yet here we are 3 months later without a new iTunes release to fix it… It’s only the most basic of Mac/iOS tasks, most likely needed by most users multiple times per week if not daily. No big deal.

    • That may explain wi-fi sync problems, but not the many other sync problems were the sync never completes, or times out. I don’t use wi-fi syncing because it is so unreliable. I’m going to post about this to see if others find this to solve the problem. Thanks for bringing it up.

    • I have been hitting this thread for awhile and had some success tonight finally. I backed up the old mobilesync backups and removed them from ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/backup. I had Airplane mode on and iCloud backup temporarily turned off. What finally seemed to do the trick is I switched my Lightning cable from the third USB port on my iMac (from the closest edge) to the first one and suddenly all my usbmuxd errors (com.apple.usbmuxd: MuxReceivedUSBData lost data) disappeared and my iPhone started happily backing up.

      I then turned off Airplane mode and turned iCloud backup back on, and tried again – and it let me make another backup on my iMac.

      Think usbmuxd is definitely the problem (as the error messages disappeared after I moved the cable), only in this case I’m wondering if it has anything to do with not all USB ports being equal – I remember an older white iMac I had where the first two USB ports were fully powered and the others not so much.

      Hopefully this helps someone, although I’m not sure which port to try on a MacBook Pro and those with only one port…

      • Depending on the Mac, the USB ports can be on different busses. In other words, they’re not all controlled by the same hardware. In some cases, half the ports are on one bus, half on the other. I suspect that on a laptop with ports on both sides, each port will be on a different bus.

        When I was having serious problems, I tried each USB port on my iMac, and even tried different cables. It never helped. However, there was one time when an iPad wasn’t even recognized, and I called AppleCare, and they suggested that I try a different port. It was recognized. So it’s pretty much a crapshoot.

  30. If you run into the issue with the message “iTunes could not connect to this iPhone. This device is no longer connected.” with iTunes 12, it’s most likely a bug with usbmuxd. There is a workaround, but no fix until Apple updates iTunes and/or usbmuxd.

    Details were worked out here: https://discussions.apple.com/message/27079314#27079314

    The short version is there was a programming error somewhere that leads to usbmuxd never closing a connection and hitting the UNIX system limit for a single process. Once it does, iTunes can no longer sync to an iOS device locally or via WiFi. For those familiar with Terminal or Activity Monitor, kill the usbmuxd process and the issue is solved for 24-48 hours. You may need to also reboot mdns if WiFi syncing has stopped working. For those uncomfortable with that, reboot your Mac. For those comfortable with scripting, you can make a task to automatically do these relaunches on a regular basis until Apple fixes this issue.

    In my personal experience, it is related to how many devices iTunes “sees”. So if you have WiFi syncing turned on you may see this more quickly. I have 5 iOS devices, a few of which largely stay at home all day. They have synced flawlessly via WiFi for years, with easy and automatic nightly syncs when plugged in to charge overnight, and I now very quickly run into this issue when trying local or WiFi sync. I have to restart usbmuxd and mdns about 3 times daily to keep things working. With one device and no WiFi sync, you may go as long as 48 hours without hitting this bug.

    Apple has known about this since November or so, as I (and I’m sure many others) have spent numerous hours with AppleCare at multiple levels, run Apple-provided diagnostic software, and sent reports to iTunes Engineers. Radars have been filed, and the issue has been worked out pretty conclusively by oskapt in that Apple Discussion thread linked above.

    Yet here we are 3 months later without a new iTunes release to fix it… It’s only the most basic of Mac/iOS tasks, most likely needed by most users multiple times per week if not daily. No big deal.

    • That may explain wi-fi sync problems, but not the many other sync problems were the sync never completes, or times out. I don’t use wi-fi syncing because it is so unreliable. I’m going to post about this to see if others find this to solve the problem. Thanks for bringing it up.

    • I have been hitting this thread for awhile and had some success tonight finally. I backed up the old mobilesync backups and removed them from ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/backup. I had Airplane mode on and iCloud backup temporarily turned off. What finally seemed to do the trick is I switched my Lightning cable from the third USB port on my iMac (from the closest edge) to the first one and suddenly all my usbmuxd errors (com.apple.usbmuxd: MuxReceivedUSBData lost data) disappeared and my iPhone started happily backing up.

      I then turned off Airplane mode and turned iCloud backup back on, and tried again – and it let me make another backup on my iMac.

      Think usbmuxd is definitely the problem (as the error messages disappeared after I moved the cable), only in this case I’m wondering if it has anything to do with not all USB ports being equal – I remember an older white iMac I had where the first two USB ports were fully powered and the others not so much.

      Hopefully this helps someone, although I’m not sure which port to try on a MacBook Pro and those with only one port…

      • Depending on the Mac, the USB ports can be on different busses. In other words, they’re not all controlled by the same hardware. In some cases, half the ports are on one bus, half on the other. I suspect that on a laptop with ports on both sides, each port will be on a different bus.

        When I was having serious problems, I tried each USB port on my iMac, and even tried different cables. It never helped. However, there was one time when an iPad wasn’t even recognized, and I called AppleCare, and they suggested that I try a different port. It was recognized. So it’s pretty much a crapshoot.

  31. I have found that if I remove the phone without ejecting, I am plagued with syncing issues indefinitely. A reboot of the computer sometimes snaps it out but lately some songs will be reported as not found and just not go on not matter how many times I add them to the library. I have found if I copy them somewhere else and try again it sometimes works.

    I am sick of my iphone. It is probably blasphemous to say on this site but I think the iphone is terrible. The camera is terrible particularly under poor light, it is very brittle, syncing is a night mare. I have my iphone for a few months. The apps are great and the browser is great but other than that, the much older blackberry was far superior IMO. Get used to syncing problems if you intend to stick with using the itunes interface.

    • You can say anything to iPhone but “the camera is terrible”. iPhone 6 (6+) still have one of the best cameras around and the 6+ (I have it so I speak with knowledge) is fantastic in Keeping light even when light is poor…..I snapped so many shots and videos with my 6+ in the last 6 months and everybody hardly believes they come from a Phone…..

  32. I have found that if I remove the phone without ejecting, I am plagued with syncing issues indefinitely. A reboot of the computer sometimes snaps it out but lately some songs will be reported as not found and just not go on not matter how many times I add them to the library. I have found if I copy them somewhere else and try again it sometimes works.

    I am sick of my iphone. It is probably blasphemous to say on this site but I think the iphone is terrible. The camera is terrible particularly under poor light, it is very brittle, syncing is a night mare. I have my iphone for a few months. The apps are great and the browser is great but other than that, the much older blackberry was far superior IMO. Get used to syncing problems if you intend to stick with using the itunes interface.

    • You can say anything to iPhone but “the camera is terrible”. iPhone 6 (6+) still have one of the best cameras around and the 6+ (I have it so I speak with knowledge) is fantastic in Keeping light even when light is poor…..I snapped so many shots and videos with my 6+ in the last 6 months and everybody hardly believes they come from a Phone…..

  33. My syncying issues seem memory related in that iTunes thinks there isn’t enough space for the number of checked synced songs I want on my iPhone 5c 32 GB, though the summary window clearly shows enough. It becomes a game of unchecking just enough for it to sync. Sometimes pulling all music off and putting it back on helps, but what a pain.

    • Yes, this is the same problem I have. I have a 64GB ipod 5 and in the “other” category is taking up 31.09 GB. I had to remove all my music about 25 GB. I had this problem since 10/14. The only temporary fix is restoring the device.

      • I have a 64GB iPhone5S as well as an old 64GB iPad with the same “other” issues you are seeing. When my “other” began to double itself with each sync on my iPhone, Apple had me factory reset my phone and start from scratch… it fixed the ever-growing “other”, but was told that 3GB of “other” is now considered acceptable space loss. Apple believes the larger “other” is based off of the size of my library (both the synced and non-synced material on my MacBook Pro). Maybe, but very weird as this was not an issue in the past.

    • I have a 64GB iPhone5S as well as an old 64GB iPad with the same summary window issue… showing space that apparently is not really there. I have not found any correction for this, but Apple Support seems to think this is “normal”….

  34. My syncying issues seem memory related in that iTunes thinks there isn’t enough space for the number of checked synced songs I want on my iPhone 5c 32 GB, though the summary window clearly shows enough. It becomes a game of unchecking just enough for it to sync. Sometimes pulling all music off and putting it back on helps, but what a pain.

    • Yes, this is the same problem I have. I have a 64GB ipod 5 and in the “other” category is taking up 31.09 GB. I had to remove all my music about 25 GB. I had this problem since 10/14. The only temporary fix is restoring the device.

      • I have a 64GB iPhone5S as well as an old 64GB iPad with the same “other” issues you are seeing. When my “other” began to double itself with each sync on my iPhone, Apple had me factory reset my phone and start from scratch… it fixed the ever-growing “other”, but was told that 3GB of “other” is now considered acceptable space loss. Apple believes the larger “other” is based off of the size of my library (both the synced and non-synced material on my MacBook Pro). Maybe, but very weird as this was not an issue in the past.

    • I have a 64GB iPhone5S as well as an old 64GB iPad with the same summary window issue… showing space that apparently is not really there. I have not found any correction for this, but Apple Support seems to think this is “normal”….

  35. I have an iPhone 6 and I’m running Windows 7 and my iTunes is up to date. So my iTunes does this weird thing now where I check the Sync Music box the data bar goes up like normal but when I hit Apply it immediately chimes like its done and then drops back to the default data size and nothing is synced. It does the same for my Photos and my Movies, and I just found out I cant Sync over WiFi. When i check the box on iTunes it still says “check ‘Sync with this iPhone over Wi-Fi’ on itunes to enable this feature” when i literally just checked it and applied it. I have factory reset my device 4 times, deleted iTunes and all other apple programs from my computer and re installed the latest iTunes. Then I replaced my iPhone 6 for a brand new one out of the box and its still doing the same thing. My iPod (80gb) still syncs fine. I also can’t manually sync anything manually.

  36. I have an iPhone 6 and I’m running Windows 7 and my iTunes is up to date. So my iTunes does this weird thing now where I check the Sync Music box the data bar goes up like normal but when I hit Apply it immediately chimes like its done and then drops back to the default data size and nothing is synced. It does the same for my Photos and my Movies, and I just found out I cant Sync over WiFi. When i check the box on iTunes it still says “check ‘Sync with this iPhone over Wi-Fi’ on itunes to enable this feature” when i literally just checked it and applied it. I have factory reset my device 4 times, deleted iTunes and all other apple programs from my computer and re installed the latest iTunes. Then I replaced my iPhone 6 for a brand new one out of the box and its still doing the same thing. My iPod (80gb) still syncs fine. I also can’t manually sync anything manually.

  37. iphone 4 doesn’t sync properly.
    It says on itunes that it has synced my music but on the phone it hasn’t.
    Syncing was working perfectly about two weeks ago.

  38. iphone 4 doesn’t sync properly.
    It says on itunes that it has synced my music but on the phone it hasn’t.
    Syncing was working perfectly about two weeks ago.

  39. its messed up how I could wait a hr. for 200 songs to be synced to my 5s. After its completed the songs will show up on my phone but will not play. It’s very frustrating. I even erased my whole play list and just started over and for it to only happen again. But that damn U2 plays very well .

  40. its messed up how I could wait a hr. for 200 songs to be synced to my 5s. After its completed the songs will show up on my phone but will not play. It’s very frustrating. I even erased my whole play list and just started over and for it to only happen again. But that damn U2 plays very well .

  41. Lol. That is so true. The songs I purchased from iTunes (including the U2 album) all sync fine, even if I did not want them sync to my ipod touch 5. The songs I ripped from my CD collection will not sync at all. Makes me wonder about Apple…

    • I thought I was having this issue, as my imported CDs were not showing up under the “Artist” list, but in fact were listed under the “Album” list. I suspect this may be due to a possible Info issue with my ripped files. I hope your files are just hiding from where you think they are, and that this helps you too.

  42. Lol. That is so true. The songs I purchased from iTunes (including the U2 album) all sync fine, even if I did not want them sync to my ipod touch 5. The songs I ripped from my CD collection will not sync at all. Makes me wonder about Apple…

    • I thought I was having this issue, as my imported CDs were not showing up under the “Artist” list, but in fact were listed under the “Album” list. I suspect this may be due to a possible Info issue with my ripped files. I hope your files are just hiding from where you think they are, and that this helps you too.

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