Every time I sync my iPhone or iPad (both running iOS 5) with iTunes, I get this error. iTunes displays no information that I can find about what the mystery six unsynced items are. How do I find out - any ideas?

iTunes Sync error message

  • Anything else? Messages in your console? Out of space errors or warnings on the iOS device?
    – bmike
    Oct 31, 2011 at 21:01
  • 1
    Nope, nope, nope and nope, in that order. :) Oct 31, 2011 at 21:32
  • I had this issue on one Mac where I had downloaded some WWDC content that could only be gotten as a paid iOS Dev. (presumably due to NDA and Pre iOS 5 release) It was hidden in iTunes but still partially syncing to a new device. Somewhere to look in case iTunes is hiding any content that could be in error. (It's a long shot)
    – bmike
    Nov 1, 2011 at 13:54

5 Answers 5


I've typically seen this when some thing is trying to be synced from the computer to the device that is incompatible - like videos. Try syncing again (with usb), but uncheck each category of items (Books, Music, Movies, etc) each time before you test. At least you should be able to narrow down the issue.

  • Yeah, I've tried that but the results have so far been somewhat confusing. Unticking photos seems to help, but then re-ticking photos doesn't bring the error back, then the error just starts appearing again a few syncs later! At this point I'm tempted to think photos are the problem in my case, but this inconsistency around when the error appears is hampering this kind of iterative approach to narrowing down the problem. Grrr! Nov 2, 2011 at 15:01
  • OK, got there in the end using your method and USB. The problem is with 6 videos in iPhoto that were shot on my Canon S95 camera, and appear to be in a format that iOS can't handle. Unticking "Include videos" in the Photos tab in iTunes for my iPhone solves it (but also prevents syncing of iPhone-shot video). Nov 2, 2011 at 15:27

I haven't got a solution to this yet, but I get the same error (342 items though). The reason appears to be that the iPhone contains 342 hidden voice memos, not appearing within the voice memo app, but viewable (and playable while the iPhone is connected through USB) in the iPhone Device list in iTunes (click the triangle left to the device, see the voice memo playlist).

I will backup and restore to factory setting now. But I'm fearing that the voice memos will be back there when I restore the backup. But then again, I might be lucky.. :)

UPDATE; It did in fact work, I did get rid of the hidden voice memos and the "could not sync" message! Great.

Thoughts on how the hidden memos got there in the first place; I did mess around with the location of the Voice Memos playlist in iTunes, moved it in under a playlist folder, back and forth a couple of times, synced between, in addition to choosing to sync voice memos and not. It was all me testing how the (not intuitive) Voice Memos syncing works. Not sure if this produced the problems though.. but date stamps etc support the thoughts..

  • Since you've updated this post to include an answer, I've undeleted it Nov 1, 2011 at 23:04
  • Thanks. In my case I don't have any voice memos (hidden or otherwise), but looking at your reply and @bmike's comment to the original question it clearly appears to be different media types causing this for different people. I've +1'd your answer because I think it's useful evidence, but the answer I'll accept will be the one that gives a generic solution. Hope that's OK. :) Nov 2, 2011 at 14:59

I was getting the error message that there were 2 items that could not be sync'd. For me it was ring tones. In the "Tones" window in iTunes the "all tones" button was selected (probably a default). There were 7 ring tones in iTunes that were checked but only 5 tomes physically on my iPhone. I selected "only checked tones" and then unchecked the 2 tones that were not listed on my phone. Did a sync and the message did not reappear. I would suggest looking in each of the tabs for your device in iTunes and then comparing what is there with what is on your device in the same category. You will likely find the same type of thing that I found with "Tones" From there it is as simple as making iTunes look like your device and the issue should go away.


I have figured out how to see what items it is having a problem syncing. Once the sync has completed click on your iPod/iPhone at the top left. On the left hand side is a grey label that says "On My Device". Under that are all tabs listed. Click through each one and it will show you all the items that are on your device, and it will also have the items that it has not been able to complete syncing on there. However, these items will be greyed out and will have a broken circle to the left of them.


This can be a storage issue on your phone, maybe you don't have enough free space on your phone. Try deleting some pictures.

  • We've already got an accepted answer with more accurate detail: if you'd like to create another answer to this question, please add more detail.
    – JMY1000
    Feb 22, 2016 at 22:41

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