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How to fix an iPad that won't sync

iPad sync with computer

Syncing your iPad® to your computer is an easy way to back up all of the files, music, and photos you keep on your tablet. But no matter what method you use—Wi-Fi, Bluetooth®, or USB connection—sometimes syncing just doesn't work. If you're stumped, you've come to the right place.

At Asurion, our experts help millions of people resolve tech issues every day—on all their favorite devices. When tech breaks, we fix it, from an iPad that won't update to an Xbox One® that won't read discs. Here are our tips for fixing an iPad that won't sync with your computer.

Restart your iPad

The first line of defense for most tech glitches is to restart the device.

For iPads with a Home button: Press and hold the Top button until the power off slider appears onscreen, then swipe the slider to the right.

For iPads without a Home button: Press and hold the Top button and one of the volume buttons until the power off slider appears onscreen, then swipe right on the slider to turn your iPad off.

Wait about 30 seconds and then turn your device back on. After your iPad reboots, attempt to sync again. If your device is frozen or responsive, try force restarting your iPad.

Restart your computer

The same rule above applies to computers. If your iPad isn't syncing to your Mac® or PC, try a simple restart. Sometimes it's all you need to get things up and running again.

Update your iPadOS

It's always a good idea to update your device when new software is available—updates not only enhance performance but also address minor glitches. We recommend backing up your device before updating to the new iPadOS®, just in case. Here's how to back up your iPad:

  1. Connect your device to Wi-Fi.
  2. Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud.
  3. Tap iCloud Backup > Back Up Now. Stay connected to Wi-Fi until the backup is finished.

Now your device is backed up, follow these steps to update your iPad:

Update your iPad manually

To check for and install software updates anytime you want, go to Settings > General > Software Update. Here, you'll see the currently installed version of iPadOS and whether an update is available.

Set your iPad to update automatically

For iPadOS 15: Go to Settings > General > Software Update > Automatic Updates. Turn on Download iPadOS Updates and Install iPadOS Updates.

For iPadOS 14 and iPadOS 13: Go to Settings > General > Software Update, then tap Customize Automatic Updates (or Automatic Updates). You can choose to automatically download and install updates.

Update iTunes

More often than not, users forget to update iTunes. Sometimes upgrading to the latest version will fix your issue.

On your Mac

Updating your macOS will update iTunes on your computer. First, check compatibility and make a backup. Then download the latest operating system and install it on your computer.

If you're unable to upgrade to the latest version of macOS, update your iTunes:

  1. Open the App Store® on your Mac.
  2. Click Updates at the top of the App Store window.
  3. If any iTunes updates are available, click Install.

On your PC, if you downloaded iTunes from Apple's website

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. On the menu bar at the top of the iTunes window, select Help > Check for Updates.
  3. Follow the prompts to install the latest version.

If Check for Updates doesn't appear in the Help menu, that means you downloaded iTunes from the Microsoft Store.

On your PC, if you downloaded iTunes from the Microsoft Store

To check for updates through the Microsoft Store using Windows® 11:

  1. Select Start > Microsoft Store.
  2. After you've opened the Microsoft Store app, select Library > Get updates.
  3. If there are updates, select Update all or choose which apps you want to update.

To check for updates through the Microsoft Store using Windows® 10:

  1. From the taskbar, search for Microsoft Store.
  2. Once you've opened Microsoft Store, select More > Updates & downloads > Get updates.

Reauthorize iTunes

When you authorize a computer, you give it permission to access your music, movies, and more. If your iPad won't sync with iTunes or if you open iTunes and notice that the Sync button is inactive, unavailable, or grayed-out, try reauthorizing it. First, make sure your iPad is connected via Wi-Fi or USB, then follow these steps:

Deauthorize

First, you'll need to deauthorize your computer.

  1. On a Mac, open the Music app, Apple TV® app, or Apple Books® app. On a PC, open iTunes for Windows.
  2. From the menu bar at the top of your computer screen, select Account > Authorizations > Deauthorize This Computer.
  3. Sign in with your Apple ID.
  4. Choose Deauthorize.

Apple lets you authorize five computers, so if you've run out of authorizations, simply deauthorize all. Or you can deauthorize computers you don't use anymore.

Authorize again

Before you begin, make sure your Mac is updated to the latest version of macOS. If you're using a PC, update to the latest version of iTunes for Windows. Then follow these steps:

  1. On a Mac, open the Music app, Apple TV app, or Apple Books app. On a PC, open iTunes for Windows.
  2. Sign in with your Apple ID.
  3. In the menu bar on your Mac or PC, choose Account > Authorizations > Authorize This Computer.

Try another route

If you're unable to sync via USB, try using wireless instead. Or if you always sync with wireless, try using USB.

Evaluate your peripherals

If you sync your iPad with a USB cable, double-check your cable and connections.

If you've tried these steps and still need a little help, we're right around the corner. Schedule a repair at the nearest uBreakiFix® by Asurion or Asurion Tech Repair & Solutions™ store and our certified experts can get your device back up and running as soon as the same day.

Tech is expensive. Protect it all.

With the Asurion Home+ protection plan, we’ll cover all your favorite home tech—including your tablet—from breakdowns, defects and normal wear and tear, all for less than $1 per day. No receipts or registration forms required. To learn more about tablet protection, visit asurion.com/homeplus.



*The Asurion® trademarks and logos are the property of Asurion, LLC. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Asurion is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by any of the respective owners of the other trademarks appearing herein.*

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