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When I connect my iPhone 3GS to my computer, iTunes does not detect it. The phone displays the green battery meter indicating it's charging, System Profiler detects an "iPhone" connected to the USB bus, and I can even open iPhoto and pull some pictures off of it.

It doesn't appear under "Devices" in iTunes at all, nor does it appear in the Organizer window in Xcode.

I've tried:

  • Using a different sync cable.
  • Using a different USB port.
  • Restarting the phone.
  • Restarting the computer.
  • Connecting the phone to a different computer.

(I'm on OS X 10.6.6 and iTunes 10.1.2)

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If you start iTunes manually, does the iPhone get detected? Give a try on another computer (PC/Mac)... – Nivas Feb 23 '11 at 5:45
Does the iPhone show up on iTunes when you connect it to someone else's computer? – gesher Feb 23 '11 at 7:46
Nope. :( I updated the question. – Brant Bobby Feb 23 '11 at 15:09
Curiously, the phone didn't show up on my other computer either until I reinstalled iTunes there as well. – Brant Bobby Feb 23 '11 at 15:33
up vote 9 down vote accepted

Run Activity Monitor (Applications/Utilities); do you see the iTunes Helper service running? Make sure you set the view to "All processes", not "My Processes". If it's not running, that's your problem. Re-install iTunes and away you go.

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Yes, iTunesHelper is running. – Brant Bobby Feb 23 '11 at 4:18
@Brant Bobby - Now, that's interesting. Have you re-installed iTunes anyway? Anything showing up in the console logs? Have you tried a different computer? – Harv Feb 23 '11 at 4:33
Nothing shows up in the console logs when I connect the phone or start iTunes, no. – Brant Bobby Feb 23 '11 at 15:14
Reinstalling iTunes fixed the problem! Now it syncs and appears in Xcode again. – Brant Bobby Feb 23 '11 at 15:23

I had this problem on Lion, which doesn't allow the deletion of iTunes through the UI. Therefore, it was necessary to force the uninstall of iTunes from Terminal:

  • cd /Applications
  • sudo rm -r

I then pulled down the latest iTunes installer from Apple.

All my iTunes settings were maintained and my iPhone and iPad showed up again under devices.

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This worked for me on my Mac:

  1. Connect the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
  2. Open Image Capture (located in Applications).
  3. Select your device from the Devices list.
  4. Select "iTunes" in the pop-up menu in the Device Settings.

Sometimes iPhoto recognizes the iPhone and overrides iTunes. Not sure why Image Capture is the middle-man, but something to do with recognizing the iPhone as a camera rather than a phone, I'm guessing. This is a simple fix!

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My iPhone stopped being recognised in iTunes after I installed Lion. This set of steps causes iTunes to load when I connect the iPhone to the Mac now, but the phone is still not being recognised in iTunes. – Bill Oct 12 '11 at 11:49

this worked for me.

I managed to fix this problem by opening the device manager and plugging in the device. the computer recognized the hardware but said there was a problem with the driver then I went to > Universal serial bus controllers > apple mobile device USB driver > update drivers. It worked!!!

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This is a problem on OS X and it looks like you are drawing a parallel to Windows. Could you elaborate? – bmike Nov 13 '12 at 22:52

protected by Community May 17 '12 at 23:47

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