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If your iPhone won’t connect to your computer, you’re not alone. Many people face this frustrating issue. It can be something as simple as a busted cable, or a driver issue.
When iTunes or your computer won’t recognize your iPhone, or if you’re getting the “0xE” or “unknown” error, follow the steps below to fix the issue.
1. Check the Lighting Cable
After almost two and a half years of faithful service, my original iPhone cable has broken. It still charges, but constant movement is no longer an option. Enjoy retirement as a permanent fixture at my work desk, friend. pic.twitter.com/4cIYARFAK7
— Obed Manuel ? (@obedmanuel) April 25, 2019
A Lightning cable is what connects your iPhone to your computer. If your Lighting cable is broken or flaky, this can lead to connection issues. First, test if your iPhone will charge when plugged into your computer (or a different source like a wall outlet). If it doesn’t charge, it’s definitely the cable’s fault.
In this case, try switching to a new Lightning cable. If you don’t want to buy a new cable from Apple, get an MFi-certified Lightning cable from AmazonBasics. Alternatively, you can borrow a cable from your friend to test if yours is bad.
2. Try a Different USB Port
If it’s not the cable, it might be the port. It’s quite possible that a USB port on your computer has stopped working.
To rule this out, try connecting your phone using a different port, with a cable you know is good. If it connects, you’ve got a bad USB port on your machine.
3. Update or Reinstall iTunes
Once you’ve ruled out cable and USB port issues, your issue may lie with the iTunes software. It’s possible that the version of iOS on your device isn’t supported by the iTunes version you have installed.
You should thus update iTunes to eliminate bugs and software incompatibility. On macOS Mojave, iTunes comes bundled with macOS software updates. Head to System Preferences > Software Update to check for and install the latest updates. For earlier versions of macOS, open the App Store and go to the Updates section to check for new iTunes updates.
To update iTunes on your Windows PC, open the iTunes app and go to Help > Check for Updates. If you downloaded iTunes from the Microsoft Store, you’ll have to open the Store app to check for iTunes updates.
If you’re on Windows, you should also try reinstalling iTunes if updates don’t make a difference. Go to Settings > Apps > Apps & features and uninstall everything related to iTunes, iCloud, and Bonjour. You can then download a fresh copy of iTunes from the Windows Store.
4. Update Your Windows PC
The latest version of iTunes for Windows is compatible with Windows 7 and higher. If you’re still using an old version, such as Windows XP, you can’t use the current version of iTunes.
It’s also possible that your Windows build has a bug that’s preventing your iPhone from connecting. Try installing all available updates for Windows (learn more about managing Windows updates in our detailed guide). While it’s unlikely an issue with modern systems, you should also review the iTunes for Windows system requirements to make sure your computer can run iTunes properly.
5. Fix Driver Issues on Windows
If applying Windows updates didn’t solve your problem, drivers might be the underlying cause of your issue. For the uninitiated, drivers are responsible for how external devices communicate with your Windows PC. And if drivers are damaged or outdated, it might stop iTunes from recognizing your iPhone (which is why you should know how to find and replace outdated Windows drivers).
There are two ways to fix this problem, depending on where you installed iTunes from (Apple’s website or the Microsoft Store. Either way, you need to reinstall the Apple Mobile Device USB driver.
If You Downloaded iTunes From Apple’s Website
- Disconnect your iPhone from the computer.
- Unlock your iPhone, go to the Home screen, and reconnect your device. If iTunes opens up, quit the app.
- Open a File Explorer window.
- In the address bar at the top of the File Explorer, enter the following location and press Enter:
%ProgramFiles%\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\Drivers
- Right-click on the usbaapl64.inf or usbaapl.inf file, and choose Install.
- Disconnect your iPhone and restart your PC. Then reconnect it and open iTunes.
If You Downloaded iTunes From the Microsoft Store
Windows 10 users have the option to install iTunes from the Microsoft Store, which we recommend as it makes updates much simpler. If you have the Store version installed,, follow the instructions below to reinstall the Apple Mobile Device USB driver:
- Disconnect your iPhone, unlock it, and then reconnect it again to your PC. If iTunes opens, quit the app first.
- Right-click on the Start button and choose Device Manager.
- Find and expand the Portable Devices section.
- Look for your iPhone, right-click on the device, choose Update driver, and select Search automatically for updated driver software.
- After the update is done, go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update, and make sure no other updates are pending.
- Open iTunes and see if your computer recognizes your iPhone.
Troubleshooting the Apple Mobile Device USB driver
If your iPhone won’t connect to your computer even after following the above steps, you’ll need to troubleshoot the Apple Mobile Device USB driver further. To do this:
- Right-click on the Start button and choose Device Manager to open this utility again.
- Find the Universal Serial Bus controllers section and look for the Apple Mobile Device USB Driver.
- If you don’t see the driver, try connecting your iPhone with a different cable, or try using a different PC to sync your iPhone.
- Assuming you see the driver, check to see if third-party security apps are blocking your device from connecting. Try turning off any antivirus tools and attempt the connection again. After doing this, it’s worth reinstalling the usbaapl64.inf or usbaapl.inf file again (as discussed above).
6. Reset Your Windows PC or iPhone
If nothing above has worked, the last step is to reset your iPhone or Windows PC.
To reset your iPhone, go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. This will wipe all data on your iPhone. As you’re not able to back up using iTunes, you should make an iCloud backup before proceeding so you don’t lose any information.
Similarly, you can reset your Windows PC by going to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Reset this PC. Learn how to do that in our Windows 10 factory reset guide. Again, make sure to create a backup before doing this because doing so will factory reset your machine.
7. Contact Apple Support
If the issue persists after a restart, you’ll need to contact Apple Support. Use the Apple Support page to talk to a customer care representative and ask for help.
8. If All Fails, Use a Third-Party iTunes Alternative
If iTunes won’t recognize your iPhone, but it shows up in File Explorer or Finder, you can still use a third-party iPhone manager to sync your iPhone.
In some cases, an app like iMazing actually offers better features like two-way sync, one-click backups from any device, and more. You can also selectively sync individual items like photos and music.
Download: iMazing for Windows and Mac ($45, free trial available)
Use Your iPhone and Mac Together
Hopefully, the above solutions fixed your issue. If not, you’ll have to take your iPhone to a local service shop or Genius bar. Once you get the problem fixed, you can explore more ways that your iPhone can work with your Mac.
Apple has built many useful technologies that let an iPhone and Mac share data and more without the need for a Lightning cable. Learn more about it in our guide to using your iPhone and Mac together.