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IPhone Won; t Sync Over Wifi; Here; s Quick Fix

iPhone Won’t Sync Over Wifi – Here’s Quick Fix

iphone won't sync over wifi

For most users, managing data on their Apple devices has finally become more accessible through the sync feature. iPhone syncing operation can be carried out through wired and wireless systems; however, the latter is simpler and more convenient.

Most customers want to follow a quick and hassle-free way to sync their iPhone data, so they prefer to sync it over wi-fi.

Despite all this, you have to keep in mind that iPhone sync over wi-fi features suffers from occasional technical problems. It is, therefore, necessary to know what to do when iPhone doesn’t sync over wi-fi.

If you want to learn more about fixing iPhone sync issues, please read the following post till the end.

Table of Contents

First and foremost, you need to make sure your iPhone and Mac are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Otherwise, your iPhone will not show up on your computer. Also, you'll need to use your cable as a one-time measure to enable this feature.

Follow these simple instructions to enable and start using Wi-Fi sync:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac using the included USB to Lightning cable and then launch Finder from the Dock.
  2. Now, you should see your iPhone in the sidebar. Click on it to continue.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the General section and enable the option to Show this iPhone when on Wi-Fi.
  4. Click on Apply to save all your changes.

When you disconnect the USB cable, you should still see the iPhone on the Finder sidebar. If not, wait for a few minutes and check again.

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But since I have to plug in my iPod to a power source, turn on my computer and load up iTunes to get WiFi sync to work, I may as well at that point just grab my cable and get the whole thing over with more quickly.

My final beef with WiFi syncing is that it seems to do screwy things to my computer. Once I enabled WiFi syncing, iTunes would keep on launching automatically while I was doing something else on my computer. I can only guess it somehow sensed my iPod was in the room and thought it should try to sync with it.

iTunes also ground to a near halt after I enabled WiFi syncing, making it difficult for me to do other things in the program like search the iTunes Store. I assume the effort of searching for available devices must take up a lot of memory.

How to Fix iTunes Wi-Fi Sync Not Working with iPhone iPad

1. Check the Wi-Fi Connection on Both Devices

You know, iTunes Wi-Fi sync works only when your iPhone and computer are connected with the same Wi-Fi network. In your home or office, there may be more than one Wi-Fi network available, so it’s possible that iTunes Wi-Fi sync failed because your iPhone and computer are in different Wi-Fi connections.

Surely, sometimes it’s just a matter of Wi-Fi signal itself. Despite current Wi-Fi technology being better, signals still gets crossed sometimes and things go troubled. In this case, you need solve computer and iPhone Wi-Fi not working problem by forgetting and rejoining your Wi-Fi network.

On iPhone iPad: Launch Settings > Wi-Fi > tap the network you’re connected to > Forget This Network > Forget. Then go back to the Wi-Fi screen, tap the network and enter the password ti join it again.

On Mac: Click Wi-Fi icon on the top right of your screen. Then click Open Network Preferences > Advanced > choose the name of the network and click the minus button > OK. When you’re done, the network grayed out in the list. Click it and enter password to join it again.

2. Restart Apple Mobile Device Service

Killing the Apple Mobile Device Helper and restarting it also help fix iTunes Wi-Fi sync failed to work issue on Mac or Windows. But the steps are different.

On macOS:

kill iTunes process on Mac

1. Open «Activity Monitor» from /Application/Utilities/

2. Search «AppleMobileDeviceHelper» from the search box at the top right corner.

3. Select it and click the red «Quit Process» button at the top left.

4. Confirm the killing of the process.

5.Close Activity Monitor and re-launch iTunes.

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On Windows:

kill iTunes process on windows

1. Press Control+Alt+Delete to summon task managers, then choose «Services».

2. Find «Apple Mobile Device» or «AppleMobileDeviceHelper.exe» depending on which windows version you’re using.

3. Right click the process and choose «Restart».

4. Relaunch iTunes and you should see your iPhone devices and sync iPhone over wifi without being plugged in.

3.Rebuild Trust

If you have not been using iTunes Wi-Fi sync for a long time and find it doesn’t working, it may be a matter of broken trust. For that, you can connect your iPhone and iTunes via USB cable to set up iTunes Wi-Fi Sync and rebuild the trust. (If iPhone not connecting to iTunes, check the fixes >>)

sync iphone over wifi without cable

1. Plug in iPhone or iPad in to computer via USB. Launch iTunes.

2. Click the iDevice button near the top of the screen. Under "Options" check the box of "Sync with this iPhone over Wi-Fi"

3. Click "Apply" to make your settings valid. Tap "Allow" to trust this computer if prompted on your iPhone.

By the way, iTunes Wi-Fi sync is available on iTunes 10.5 or later and iOS 5 or later. If you see a grayed out iTunes Wi-Fi Sync option, it is most likely your iOS device or iTunes is not updated to the required version.

4. Manually Syncing

Another thing you can try to get out of the iTunes Wi-Fi sync error is manually performing the wireless iTunes sync. This will force the sync process to start regardless of any limits. You can try a manual sync on iPhone by going to Settings > General> iTunes Wi-Fi Sync > Sync Now.

Manually sync iphone with iTunes over wifi

5. Try an iTunes Alternative

If you still get stuck in sync iPhone over Wi-Fi without cable after trying the above tips, you can turn to an iTunes alternative to totally get rid of errors on iTunes Wi-Fi Sync. MacX MediaTrans is a godsend, which sync kinds of files, namely photos, music, playlists, videos, audiobooks, podcasts etc. in one click. No data loss, no connecting issues, and no iTunes sync errors!

Step 1. Free download MacX MediaTrans on Mac (or Windows version on PCs). Connect iPhone to computer via USB. And tap "Trust this computer" on your iPhone.

Step 2. Take syncing iPhone music to Mac as an example, click "Music Manager", check the box of "Select All", or select several music tracks as you desire.

Step 3. Click "Export" button to sync all your checked songs from iPhone to Mac.

How to Remove Wi-Fi Networks from Your Mac and iOS Device

If you travel regularly with your Mac or iOS device, you likely find yourself connecting to new Wi-Fi networks: at airports, in train stations, in hotels, restaurants, pubs, or at clients’ offices. Whether you connect to these networks with your Mac, iPhone, or iPad, miraculously, your devices will remember these networks and sync them via iCloud — so your other Apple products can access them too, if you use iCloud Keychain.

Your Apple device’s ability to remember previously connected to networks can be both good and bad. While it means you don’t have to search for or remember login credentials when you connect to a known Wi-Fi network on a different device, it can lead to a surfeit of Wi-Fi networks stored in your keychain and potentially allow you to unknowingly connect to a Wi-Fi network that might not be secure. You can cull these Wi-Fi networks, but you can only really clean them out on a Mac.

In this article, I’ll show you how to remove these Wi-Fi networks so your Macs and iOS devices forget them.

How to Remove Wi-Fi Networks from iPhone or iPad

You can remove wi-fi networks on an iPhone or an iPad, but only if you are near enough to those networks for your device to detect them. If you go to Settings > Wi-Fi, you’ll see some available wi-fi networks. Tap the i button next to a network that you have previously joined, then tap Forget this Network. The device will remove that network.

If you want to remove all saved wi-fi networks on your iOS device, there is a nuclear option. If you tap Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings, the iOS device deletes all your Wi-Fi networks and passwords, along with other network settings. However, this does not carry over to iCloud Keychain if you are using it, and the only way to fully delete these saved networks is on a Mac.

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How to View and Remove Saved Wi-Fi Networks via Network Preferences

There are two ways you can view (and remove) saved Wi-Fi networks on a Mac. The first way is in the Mac’s Network preferences.

To do this, open System Preferences, and then click Network. Select Wi-Fi in the sidebar, and then click Advanced. In the Wi-Fi tab, you will see a list of networks.

This list is mainly there so you can choose an order of preference for joining networks. You can drag the networks in the list so the preferred networks are at the top, but you can also delete networks by selecting it and then clicking the ‘‘ (minus) button.

When you do this, your iCloud Keychain will update, and they will be eventually removed from all your devices that sync to the same iCloud account.

In some cases, you may not be able to remove Wi-Fi networks from the Network preferences, but you will be able to delete them from Keychain Access (see below for the second method to remove Wi-Fi networks).

From the image above, note the checkbox in the pane that lets you "Remember networks this computer has joined." If you don’t want a Wi-Fi network to be saved to your Mac, and subsequently to iCloud Keychain, uncheck this setting.

How to View and Remove Saved Wi-Fi Networks via Keychain Access

The second way to remove saved networks is via Keychain Access. This app is located in the Utilities folder in your Applications folder, and it stores passwords, certificates, encryption/decryption keys, secure notes and more. One of the items it stores as "passwords" is the credentials you use to log into Wi-Fi networks; specifically, they are recorded as "AirPort network password."

To find these, click the search box at the top right of your Keychain Access window and type "AirPort." You’ll see a number of items, and the Kind column shows them as AirPort base station password, AirPort Disk password, and AirPort network password. (You may not have items in all three categories.) The latter are your Wi-Fi network credentials.

Interestingly, when I look at my AirPort network passwords, I see many of those that are in the Network preferences, but not all. And some show as being in the iCloud keychain, while others are in the System keychain, even though they sync to and from my other devices. (For example, some of the networks I see on my Mac are those that I only connected to with my iPhone.) To delete any of these networks, click them, then press Delete, and click Delete in the confirmation dialog.

Note that any changes you make on your Mac will take time to propagate to other Macs, and to iOS devices.

It’s a good idea to go through these networks from time to time. You may have connected to a network when you were traveling and not want to automatically connect to it again. Clearing out these networks will also prevent your Mac from automatically connecting to networks masquerading as legitimate, since the only identifying information for a Wi-Fi network is its SSID (or the name you see) and anyone can use the same network name, potentially leading you to connect to an insecure network.

How can I learn more?

Each week on the Intego Mac Podcast, Intego’s Mac security experts discuss the latest Apple news, security and privacy stories, and offer practical advice on getting the most out of your Apple devices. Be sure to follow the podcast to make sure you don’t miss any episodes.

You can also subscribe to our e-mail newsletter and keep an eye here on Mac Security Blog for the latest Apple security and privacy news. And don’t forget to follow Intego on your favorite social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

Section 1. How to fix iTunes Wi-Fi sync not working issue?

According to Apple, your iPhone would automatically appear in iTunes when the iOS device and computer are connected to the same Wi-Fi. Therefore, you might find that iTunes Wi-Fi sync option missing on your iPhone because you don’t have to initiate this process on iPhone via Settings > General > iTunes Wi-Fi Sync anymore.

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If you still can’t use Wi-Fi to connect iPhone and computer or iTunes cannot work, here are the fixes.

#1 Do Preparation

As is mentioned in the beginning, you need to enable iTunes Wi-Fi sync via wired connection at least once. If you have updated iTunes or iOS, you could connect iPhone to iTunes and check Sync this iPhone over Wi-Fi and click Apply.

Check the Wi-Fi you are using on iPhone. If you have more than one Wi-Fi in your house, your iPhone might not connect the specific Wi-Fi every time so you need to connect iPhone to the right Wi-Fi by yourself.

iTunes Sync Over Wifi

#2 Make IP address fixed

Even when your two devices are connected to the same network, the connection might still fail to build because of different IP addresses.

The steps to fix your IP address are a little complicated. If you want to check whether you are using a fixed IP and fix the IP issue, you may refer to this guide: How to Set Up DHCP Reservations?

Manage IP Address

#3 Allow Bonjour through firewall

Except for close antivirus when you connect iPhone to iTunes over Wi-Fi, you need to allow Apple’s Bonjour Service through Windows firewall. You need to follow the steps:

1. Press and hold Windows Key and then press E to open Run box. Type control and press Enter to open Control Panel.

Run Control

2. Click System and Security.

System And Security

3. Click Allow an app through Windows Firewall.

Allow An App Through Windows Firewall

4. Click Change Settings, check all the Bonjour Service and click OK.

Allow Bonjour Service

Now you can connect iPhone to iTunes over Wi-Fi to sync the device.

#4 Force restart Apple’s service

Apple Mobile Device Service is the driver which helps to connect iOS device to computer. You could restart the driver to fix Wi-Fi connection issue. Follow the steps:

1. Press Ctrl + Alt + Del at the same time and then select Task Manager.

2. Select Services, locate and right-click Apple Mobile Device Service, and click Restart.

If you use Mac computer, you could restart the driver in Activity Monitor.

Restart Apple Service

#5 Reinstall iTunes from Apple Support

Some users reported that iTunes installed from Microsoft Store would cause iTunes Wi-Fi sync problem. You would find the sync option is greyed out or other problems. It could be solved by reinstalling iTunes from Apple Support.

You need to follow the steps to completely uninstall iTunes and then download iTunes from Apple Support to reinstall it.

1. Press Windows Key + R and type Control to open Control Panel.

2. Select Programs and Features.

3. Double click iTunes Apple Software Update > Apple Mobile Device Support > Bonjour > Apple Application Support in order to completely uninstall iTunes from your computer.

Uninstall iTunes

4. Download iTunes from Apple Support and install it.

5. Connect iPhone to iTunes with USB cable, click the device icon, check Sync this iPhone over Wi-Fi and click Apply.

6. Disconnect iPhone from computer, connect computer and iPhone with the same Wi-Fi, and then you could still find your device in iTunes.

Wi-Fi Sync Not Working? Here’s How to Fix it for All iOS Devices

Wi-Fi SyncOne of the best general iOS features is wifi syncing, which, just as the name implies, allows you to sync content, data, pictures, music, whatever, to and from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and a computer running iTunes, without ever connecting the device with a USB cable. Of course, this feature is only useful when it’s working, and a wide variety of users are encountering an issue where wi-fi syncing just stops working. Either the device refuses to show up iTunes, or it disappears immediately when attempting to sync content to it. The solution below will resolve either of those problems and is quite simple.

Before beginning the troubleshooting process, make sure you have already enabled the iOS wi-fi sync ability for the device. The primary reason wireless syncing doesn’t work is because it wasn’t set up in the first place! This only needs to be done once, but it must be enabled separately for each iOS device you intend to use it for. Meaning you’ll turn it on through iTunes for an iPad, iPhone, and whatever other hardware separately.

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Fix for Wi-Fi Syncing & Wireless iOS Devices Not Showing Up in iTunes

The solution for wireless syncing not working and devices not showing up is almost always just to kill the Apple Mobile Device Helper process, both in OS X or Windows.

Fix for Mac OS X

  • Launch “Activity Monitor” (found in /Applications/Utilities/)
  • Use the search box in the upper right corner and search for “AppleMobileDeviceHelper”
  • Select that process and then click the red “Quit Process” button
  • Leave Activity Monitor and then relaunch iTunes

Fix Wi-Fi Sync Problems

Confirm the process is to be killed

Fix wi-fi sync not working in iOS and iTunes

Fix for Windows

  • Hit Control+Alt+Delete to summon the task manager then choose the “Service” tab
  • Locate “Apple Mobile Device” OR “AppleMobileDeviceHelper.exe” (depends on Windows version)
  • Right-click and restart the service, or select it and choose “End Process”
  • Relaunch iTunes again to find the iOS device visible via wi-fi

Apple Mobile Device service

Remember, you just want to restart the process either manually or by killing it, you do not want to disable the Apple Mobile Device service completely or else your iPhone or iPad will never show up.

Regardless of which operating system you use, relaunching iTunes should cause the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, iPad Mini, whatever it is, to immediately appear in the Devices list of the iTunes sidebar, or in the titlebar if the sidebar is hidden.

iPhone showing up wirelessly in iTunes

Once the iOS device is visible again in iTunes, you’re good to go.

Note: Some readers are finding that AppleMobileDeviceHelper is not running when iTunes is not running, that is normal. If you find the process running after iTunes is quit, kill it anyway.

My iOS Device is Still Not Showing Up Wirelessly in iTunes!

Still not working? Try the following:

    Double-check that you have configured wi-fi sync to be on by connecting the iPhone/iPad/iPod to iTunes and enabling Wi-Fi Sync under the “Summary” tab and by checking the box next to “Sync with this iPhone over Wi-Fi” – if this is already checked try unchecking it and checking it again

Wi-Fi Sync enabled in iTunes looks like this

  1. Open Settings and tap “Wi-Fi”
  2. Flip Wi-Fi from ON to OFF and wait about 10 seconds
  3. Flip Wi-Fi from OFF to ON again

Toggle Wi-Fi on and off on iPhone

In about 95% of cases, all wireless syncing issues can be fixed by just killing the Apple Mobile Device process, relaunching iTunes, and toggling Wi-Fi on and off again. Nonetheless, if you have another troubleshooting trick for related problems, let us know in the comments!

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59 Comments

Great, killing “AppleMobileDeviceHelper” helped, after restarting iTunes my device appeared. Thanks very much!
Michael.

iTunes doesn’t have a simple “Scan and discover devices” option in the menus(!). Therefore iTunes can and will not connect to any device either than in the following specific situations (note that this is actually working as designed, it’s not an error):
.
1. Directly after iTunes starts it scans all USB ports for valid devices and the WiFi network for devices that has previously (in iTunes, when connected via USB) been set to sync over WiFi, and after that iTunes will not scan for or try to connect to devices while it’s running except in the specific situations 2 and 3.
.
2. Directly after a device is connected via USB to the same system where iTunes is running, iTunes tries to connects to it and after that iTunes will not try to connect to that device again unless it is disconnected and reconnected first.
.
3. Directly after the WiFi on the same system where iTunes is running connects to a network, iTunes scans the WiFi network for devices that has previously (in iTunes, when connected via USB) been set to sync over WiFi, and after that iTunes will not scan for or try to connect to devices while it’s running except in the specific situation 2.
.
Note that iTunes will not scan for or try to connect to devices in any other situation, and they can’t connect to iTunes either such as when a device that has previously (in iTunes, when connected via USB) been set to sync over WiFi, connects to the same WiFi network where iTunes is running.
.
It would be much better if iTunes had a simple “Scan and discover devices” option in the menus.
.
Anders

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A solution that actually works.Even if only temporary, this is working for now. Every other option has failed so far. Apple has failed to step up to the plate on this one and even offer ideas for solutions. There are so many reports of this issue, you would think they would do something, but they do not even acknowledge that there is an issue.

Tried this but when I go into Activity Monitor and search for AppleMobileDevice to Quit, it isn’t listed, so I can’t Quit it! Also tried to force manual sync via my phone, but it doesn’t allow it as an option! We changed our wifi box recently and it does seem that my phone hasn’t been able to sync with my mac desktop since then. Any thoughts?

This worked for me. thanks

Worked for me! THNX 🙂

Ok so I got to make it work by following the instructions given above, however, I would add to the list of steps to connect the iPhone to the computer via the apple cable, uncheck the box that says “synch … over wifi”, then synch via iTunes. Then recheck the synch …with wifi” box and synch again. After the synch is complete just remove the wire and you are good to go.

Thanks for the great article! I’ve been looking for hours and finally found this one that helped.

I struggled with this, and nothing previously published worked… I started to think out of the box, and look at other solutions…

I would suggest if after all of this it doesn’t work for youth simply follow this instruction.

Settings > General > Reset > Reset Location & Privacy. Now when you connect to formerly trusted computers, the Trust alert will ask you whether you trust that computer.

Worked for me on 2 devices immediately, the 3rd i didn’t have a problem with, so try it and see… 😉

Thanks Kevin, thank you so much. Solved a problem I’ve had for a long time. Greaaat!

I’ve been having these problems, plus problems with Wireless printers, and with sharing music library, movies, photos with Apple TV.
To blame was my Linksys router, which does not correctly support the Bonjour protocol over WiFi.
After I started using a new router that came with AT&T Uverse, all my problems have disappeared

I first restarted the service, exited iTunes, (then restarted the service again) (didn’t work) then I turned off the iPod’s wifi off then on/off/on as you said. Checked iTunes, and the device was there.

My issue was caused by outdated iOS. As soon as I updated to the latest iOS, WiFi sync started working.

my provider essentially pushed me from a 4 to a 6s. I “upgraded” to intunes 12.3+. What happened to “recognize device” or “synch device”

And if we are connecting via “wi-fi” we are asked to connect via a cable. When does wi-fi require a cable?

for windows OS, restarting apple service in task manager (services), solved my issue.

I had to tick on wlan services on the properties box of my wifi settings on my pc …..then it worked

Great post. Referencing the AMDH process helped me investigate. Following your instructions works like charm if my iPhone is “awake” at the time I restart iTunes. After that my iPhone can time out to the black screen and be woken up by pressing the home button and the wifi syncing still works.

If I power off the iPhone and turn it on again, the wifi sync capability is broken.

On Windows, slightly less drastic than killing the process, stopping and starting the AMDH Service restores the wifi sync capability.

As has been said elsewhere on this thread…
Apple could make this more robust if applied resources to it.
Apple users deserve better than to have to look for workarounds like these.

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