iPad: Not Showing Up in iTunes

If your Apple iPad isn’t showing up in iTunes, here are the most common things to check:

1. System Requirements – If you’ve ever synced an iPod or iPhone then you will know about these. The computer you’re syncing to must have iTunes version 9.1 or later, must support USB 2.0, and the Operating System must be Mac OS X (10.5.8 or later), Windows XP (with Service Pack 3), Windows Vista, or Windows 7.

2. USB Connection – A common issue with iTunes is that you generally can’t have your device connected before you start iTunes. Disconnect your iPad from your computer and reconnect it. If that doesn’t work, try a different USB port, or possibly a different USB cable.

3. Charge your iPad – If your iPad has a low or dead battery, then it won’t show up in iTunes until it has a little bit of a charge.  Charge the iPad for 10 minutes or so, then try to connect it again.

4. Restart your iPad – To restart the iPad, hold the Sleep/Wake button until the red slider appears, then slide your finger on the slider to turn it off.  Turn it back on by holding the Sleep/Wake button until the Apple logo appears.

5. Restart your computer – Restarting your computer can resolve any software/hardware issues that might be keeping your iPad from showing up in iTunes, and is always worth a shot.

6. Reinstall iTunes – If all else fails, try removing iTunes and reinstalling it.


  1. Chris says

    I had a problem with both iPad and iPhone not showing up in iTunes, but iPod Classic would. So an iOS issue then … this is obviously a common problem given all the space dedicated to it out there.

    Tried just about every fix going (including multiple reinstalls of iTunes) but nothing would work. Until I fell upon this post

    Long story short there’s masses of Apple stuff left over in your profiles after uninstalling iTunes, including the all important device drivers, plus of course all sorts of rubbish left over in the registry. I cleared them out and did an install and now everything hums along perfectly again.

    I can only presume the PC (Windows Vista, been running iTunes on it for > 2 years) was simply tripping over these old device drivers and not loading the correct one.

  2. Bombasticb says

    So I know I just need a gentle nudge now & then. I had this problem before and not until I found your post did I remember that previously I had read about and successfully sorted out problem by your point 4. Actually today I thought I’d give point 2 and am pleased to report it worked first time. Gonna copy this page and store it on Evernote for future reference. Much thanks.. Good job!

  3. Steve says

    The last time this happened to me, the only solution was to re-install Windows 7. That worked fine.

    Something gets corrupted in Windows and hoses the ability of the iPad driver to work. When nothing else fixes the problem, a vanilla install of the OS will always do the trick. It takes about 45 minutes and doesn’t overwrite any of your data.

    It’s a pain but it’s a Microsoft problem.

  4. James says

    Dennis mate – thanks for the golden tip – your instructions solved my problem in minutes after several hours of unsucesfully hunting through Apple support notes.!

  5. damian says

    Dennis after 8 hours of messing about, trying everything possible, i stumbles on your idea and hey presto its working! get in! cheers dennis

  6. Dennis says

    Update the Apple Mobile Device Driver

    Right-click the Apple Mobile Device entry in Device Manager and choose Update Driver Software.
    Select “Browse my computer for driver software.”
    Select “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer.”
    Click the Have Disk button. If the Have Disk button is not present, choose a device category such as Mobile Phone or Storage Device if listed, and click next; the Have Disk button should now appear.
    Click the Browse button.

    Then navigate to the following location: C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\Drivers

    Note: If using a 64-bit version of Windows Vista or Windows 7, navigate to C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\Drivers

  7. RobC says

    I have found a way to consistently fix the problem. Uninstall iTunes then reinstall it. Works every time. So much for Apple’s much vaunted attention to detail. iTunes is the problem and should be fixed.

  8. Rob says

    Tanz, I haven’t fixed it but took mine back to the Apple Store and got a replacement which worked…the first time, but then stopped working. I then played around removing everything I could using Administrative Tools->System Configuration (Windows 7), but kept Apple services, obviously and then tried again – it failed to connect again, I then removed and re-connected the usb cable and…bingo it worked! Haven’t tried again since (removing all those startup programs and services is a real hassle), but will try the same thing again next time I need to connect. Would also love to know if there is a proper fix for this.

  9. Rob says

    Yep, same problem. After going through all the steps above and all the steps recommended by Apple including complete re-installation of iTunes I was teased briefly when it did appear in the list of devices shortly followed by some error message about Sync Updater being missing, then nothing happened for a while..it then disappeared from the list of devices and hasn’t come back since. I’ve wasted hours on this and tried just about every suggestion I’ve found on the internet. Sadly going back to the Mac store to get my money back, I think.

  10. Stacy says

    Did #1 through 6 above, no luck!!! Very frustrating have been screwing aroudn with this for four hours now.

  11. Deezy says

    Yeah, same here, still… it still works on the laptop but not my desktop. Deleted and removed Apple Device Drivers… and reinstalled them and iTunes several tymes. Plug’d, Re-Plug’d… restarted. Still nada on a fix. I’ve klear’d all my iTunes information in the AppData folder on Win7. Im kurious to know whats kausing the problems. Its pretty lame. I have Avast Anti-V and one note stated that kould be the issue but that same program on my GF komputer too and it konnects to hers.

  12. Tracey says

    I tried it all – still no connection… very frustrating when I dont live anywhere near a mac store…

  13. Mike says

    Rugby, i did all Thatcher but still no connection. THE problemen must be in THE iPad because an otter iPad and à iPhone do connect .

  14. robert weave says

    and what if all this doesnt work, I wish I knew of, or there was an open source version of iCrap, because it gets real annoying waiting for the program to decide if it will work today.

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