iOS: Troubleshooting USB-related alerts when syncing


If the USB communication to your iOS device isn't working properly, you may see one or more of these symptoms when attempting to sync your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:

  • An alert messages indicates "iPhone has timed out" during syncing.
  • An alert message indicates an unknown error occurred during syncing.
  • Your device unexpectedly disconnects from the computer during syncing.
  • Photos downloaded from the device appear garbled or not all photos transfer.
  • An alert message indicates the USB device cannot operate because it needs more power.
  • An alert message indicates "this device can perform faster" if you use a higher speed USB port. 


Check connections

Try the following steps to check the connection between your device or computer. You might need to do only one of these steps to resolve the issue, so test your connection after each step.

  1. See if the cable connection at the device or computer has come loose or unplugged.
    Unplug the cable you're using to connect your iOS device from the USB port on your computer, and then reconnect it. Then unplug it from your iOS device, and reconnect it.
  2. Remove any third-party battery packs or cases from the device and ensure that the USB cable is connected directly to the port on the device.
  3. If your Lightning or 30-pin cable is connected to a keyboard, display or USB hub, try plugging it directly into a USB port on the computer instead. 
  4. Close any virtualization apps (such as Parallels or VMWare).
    These apps may interfere with your computer's ability to communicate over USB if they aren't properly configured, or up to date. If this resolves the issue, contact the developer of the app to see if an update is available.
  5. Restart your computer.
  6. Restart your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.
  7. If you're using an accessory or third-party cable to connect your device, try using an Apple cable with the device instead.
  8. Update to the latest version of iTunes if you have not already.
  9. Disconnect other USB devices from your computer, except for your keyboard and mouse. Then, reconnect your iOS device. If the issue is resolved, reconnect the other USB devices one at a time. Make sure your iOS device is still recognized by the computer after adding back each device. 

If one of these steps resolves the issue, but it comes back later, make sure you haven't changed how the device is connected. For example, check to see if you plugged the device into a specific accessory, or used a specific cable that reintroduced the issue.

Sync wirelessly

You can also sync with your iOS device over Wi-Fi instead of USB.

Additional Information

Important: Information about products not manufactured by Apple is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
Last Modified: Jan 21, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Jan 21, 2014
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