When I connect one of my many iOS devices to a computer for synchronization purposes, I have iTunes running. In the iTunes left-hand area, I see an eject button to the right of the device's name. I always use "eject" after a successful sync, before unplugging the device cable. I'm presuming this is meant to be similar to Windows' "USB Device Safe Removal" feature (though iOS devices don't appear to show up there?) .. or when I choose "Eject" from the context menu of a USB-connected disk on my Mac's desktop.

Yet, sometimes I'm connecting my iOS device to a computer without having iTunes running. For instance, when using the device for USB-based "Personal Hotspot" connections, I don't need iTunes running. My questions are:

  1. Is there a need to safely indicate removal of an iOS device from a computer, prior to removing the device cable?

  2. If yes, must I fire up iTunes simply to access the "eject" button, or is there another easily accessible mechanism available?

I use both PCs and Macs so answers covering the two are appreciated. Good answers will also provide definitive supporting references. Thanks!

  • 2
    I just unplug it.
    – Render
    Jun 19, 2013 at 15:29
  • How do you know when you can do this without risking corrupting data which are written either on the Mac or on the iPhone?
    – dan
    Sep 29, 2015 at 15:53

5 Answers 5


In the Finder in Mac OS X, press Command-Shift-G to Go to folder. Type /Volumes. This will take you to the “Volumes” folder. If your iDevice is mounted as a drive, it will appear here. You can select it and press Command-E to eject it. If it does not appear here, it is not mounted as a drive, and you can simply unplug it. Note that it may or may not appear on your Desktop or in a Finder sidebar depending on your settings, but it should always appear in the /Volumes folder.

On Windows, in the system tray, there is an icon you can click to “Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media.” Right-click the icon, find the name of your iOS device, and click it to eject it. If it does not appear on this list, it is not mounted as a drive and you can simply unplug it.

  • 1
    Can you mount an iOS device as a drive? I know you could mount not-touch iPods, but I've never seen anything that could mount a (non-jailbroken) iOS device. May 4, 2014 at 0:46
  • On Windows 10, when I have my iPhone SE (iOS 10.3.3) plugged in, there is no "Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media" in the system tray, even though File Explorer shows the iPhone mounted and I can access the DCIM folder and its subfolders. Oct 8, 2017 at 18:46

If you see the "idevice" as a mounted drive, +E while it is highlighted should "eject" it (or just drag to the trash). If you do not see it as a mounted drive, simply unplug it.


Older iPods mounted their filesystem however for operation with a host computer however iOS devices do not mount with a Mass Storage Profile and do not (natively) appear as mounted filesystems. Unless it is actively communicating with iTunes or some other application you can usually just unplug without a problem.


Go to iTunes. You should see your iPhone in top navigation bar. It should be displayed with the name you chose, i.e "John Smith's iPhone". Just to the right of the iPhone there will be a small eject icon. Press the Eject icon and you are ready to go.

  1. Go to Control Panel > Hardware and Sound
  2. View Device and Printers
  3. Select iPad from Portable Devices
  4. Go to Properties
  5. Click Disable

To connect iPad next time, connect the USB and come to this window and enable the iPad under Portable Device

Trust this is the safest way

  • Is there some reason to believe this is actually necessary?
    – Dan J
    Jun 19, 2013 at 17:10

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