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What to do if iTunes is not recognizing your iPad

iTunes on MacBook not recognizing iPad

Imagine this: You go to create a playlist for your next road trip, but when you sit down at your computer to begin, iTunes® isn't recognizing your iPad®. Talk about frustrating. Don't worry, there are a few simple fixes that'll get you singing along in the car in no time.

At Asurion, our tech experts have the know-how to find and fix any issue—fast. Here's our guide for what to do when your iPad isn't recognized in iTunes.

Turn on and unlock your iPad

Before we dig in to why iTunes isn't detecting your iPad, make sure your device is turned on, unlocked, and showing the Home screen.

Connect to your computer

Next, plug your iPad into your computer using a USB-C cable (make sure it's one approved by Apple®). Using off-brand cables can be the source of your problems.

Select Trust This Computer

You should see a prompt asking if you'd like to “Trust This Computer." Tap Trust. (You may need to enter your device's passcode).

Disconnect your devices

If you're still asking yourself, “Why won't iTunes recognize my iPad?" it could be interference from another product. Unplug all USB accessories like adapters and hubs from your computer, then try plugging your iPad into a different USB port to see if iTunes will work.

Try a different USB cable or computer

Still not working? Try a different Apple® USB-C cable. You can also try connecting your iPad to a different computer. Both can help you pinpoint the problem.

Restart your iPad

Next, try restarting your iPad.

  • 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 iPad back on. If your device is frozen or not responding, try force restarting your iPad. After your iPad restarts, try to open iTunes again.

Restart your computer

If iTunes didn't open on your iPad after you restarted it, try restarting your computer by holding the Power button down for 5 to 10 seconds. When your computer is back on, see if iTunes will open on your iPad.

Update your iPadOS

Still no luck? Try updating to the latest iPad software to fix any bugs and glitches that may be preventing iTunes from recognizing your iPad.

Go to Settings General > Software Update and install the update if there's one available.

Update your computer operating system

Your operating system is responsible for managing programs—like iTunes-- on your device and making sure they all work together properly. It's important to check and see that your operating system is updated regularly.

How to update your Windows operating system:

  1. Select the Windows™ icon in the lower-left corner of your taskbar.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Click Update & Security.
  4. Click Windows Update.
  5. Click Check for Updates. If no updates are available, the menu will say, “You're Up To Date." If updates are available, Windows will automatically download and install the updates.

How to update your Mac operating system:

  1. Go to your Apple menu in the upper-left corner of your Home screen.
  2. Select System Preferences.
  3. Click Software Update.
  4. If updates are available, an Update Now or Upgrade Now option will appear. Click the option to install it.
  5. Once the operating system updates are finished installing, the Software Update screen will say, “Your Mac is up to date."

Update iTunes

If you're still having trouble, check that you have the most recent version of iTunes.

  • In Windows. In iTunes, open the Help tab on the top, scroll down, and click Check for Updates.
  • On Mac®. Click iTunes, scroll down, and click Check for Updates.

More steps for Mac

Try updating System Preferences to see if iTunes will recognize your iPad.

  1. From the Finder® menu bar, choose Finder > Preferences, then click Sidebar at the top of the preferences window. Make sure that the CDs, DVDs, and iOS Devices checkbox is selected.
  2. Press and hold the Option key, then choose System Information from the Apple menu.
  3. Select USB from the list on the left.
  4. If you see your iPad under the USB Device Tree, install the latest updates.
  5. Open iTunes.

More steps for Windows

Here are more fixes to try when iTunes isn't recognizing your iPad.

Update your drivers

Your drivers send instructions to other parts of your computer to make sure they're functioning properly. That's why it's important to keep them up to date. Here's how: For Windows 10:

  1. Disconnect your iPad from your computer.
  2. Unlock your iPad and go to the Home screen. Then reconnect your device. If iTunes opens, close it.
  3. Click and hold (or right-click) the Start button, then choose Device Manager.
  4. Open the Portable Devices section.
  5. Look for your connected device (iPad), then right-click on the device name and choose Update driver.
  6. Select Search automatically for updated driver software.
  7. After the software installs, go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and check that no other updates are available.
  8. Reconnect your iPad and open iTunes.

For other Windows versions:

  1. Disconnect your iPad from your computer.
  2. Unlock your iPad and go to the Home screen. Then reconnect your device. If iTunes opens, close it.
  3. Press the Windows and R key on your keyboard at the same time to open the Run command window.
  4. In the Run window, enter: %ProgramFiles%\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\Drivers
  5. Click OK.
  6. Right-click usbaap164.inf or usbaapl.inf file and choose Install.
  7. Make sure to install the file that ends in .inf. (To check: right-click a blank area in the File Explorer Window, click View, then click Details to find the correct file type. You want to install the Setup Information file.)
  8. Disconnect your device from your computer, then restart your computer.
  9. Reconnect your iPad and open iTunes.

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, TV, laptop, smart devices and more—and provide 24/7 live expert support, all in one simple plan. 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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