Last Updated on August 4, 2020 by Husain Parvez
When connecting to a computer, the iPhone not showing up on PC can cause some serious trouble in the day to day operations. Here’s everything you can to do fix the issue of an unrecognized iOS device, and why the problem may occur in the first place.
It was the year 2007 when the very first Apple iPhone was presented to the world by the late Steve Jobs, entirely reshaping modern mobile phones as we know them. Over the years in a bid to create a closed-circuit and inclusive environment of devices for easy connectivity between computers and the iPhone, Apple iTunes was released, which not only allowed creating backups of personal data but manage purchases, sync videos and media. With the increasingly cloud-centric mobile devices, the need to hook up your iPhone to the computer may not be as urgent as was in the past.
But that doesn’t mean that the iPhone not showing up on PC is an issue that can be neglected. No matter the freedom that you get through wireless services, you may need to connect your iPhone to your Windows or Mac computer once in a while. To sync your iPhone with iTunes, transfer photos and videos from your camera roll to your computer, update your iPhone or use your device as an ethernet connection. The reasons for which you may need to hook up your phone to the computer using the USB cable are several, and we’re here to help you resolve all the issues that stop you from using this functionality.
How to Fix iPhone not showing up on PC
Sometimes your computer may not recognize your iPhone when you plug into your computer using a lightning cable. Depending on several factors, resolving this issue might be more complicated than you may think, and there’s no way to get around it with just one fix. Here is the complete guide to fix iPhone not showing up on the computer:
- Check your lightning USB cable.
- Clean the lightning port/USB port.
- Trust your device.
- Restart/force restart your iPhone.
- Update your iOS device.
- Restart your Windows 10 PC.
- Update Windows 10 on computer.
- Reinstall iTunes.
Now that you know your options at a glance to solve the iPhone not showing up on your computer, here is the complete troubleshooting guide to fix the issue.
Check your lightning USB cable
Apple’s proprietary lightning cables are notorious for having a short shelf life – that’s just the way they are designed and manufactured. The inability to connect to a computer using the iPhone might be a problem caused by the cable, and not the smartphone itself.
Connect your iPhone using the lightning cable to a power source to check if the USB cable is functioning and charging your device. If you do not have the time and patience for it, try using a different USB port or a replacement Apple Lightning cable on your computer to see if it resolves the problem.
Clean the lightning port/USB port
Just as you would blow air into a game cartridge and it would magically work, cleaning the ports on your iPhone and computer may solve the iPhone not showing up on your computer issue, as dust can hinder between the connection of the devices.
Note: Do not use liquids to clean the ports under any circumstances, since this could cause a short-circuit or corrode the connectors, causing irreparable damage.
Here is how to clean your ports without damaging them.
- You can use compressed aerosol cans to clear the dust from the ports.
- Use a small makeup brush with soft bristles and gently scrub the gold contact pins in the ports.
- Be gentle around the connector pins of the iPhone Lightning port, and avoid any metal tool or pin to clean it out.
Trust your device
For security concerns, Apple has mandated to unlock your iOS device and tap on “Trust” when you connect to a computer using the lightning cable. You may need to trust your device every time you connect your iPhone to a computer.
If you weren’t paying attention, you might have missed the window pop-up on your iPhone that asks you to “Trust this computer” tab. Trusting your computer on the iPhone is the most overlooked and simple solution to fix the iPhone not showing up on the computer issue.
Restart/Force Restart your iOS device
Performing a restart on your iPhone can resolve the iPhone not showing up on your computer. Here is how to restart your iPhone. Make sure your device is not connected to your computer or a power source.
- Hold the Power button on your iPhone for a few seconds.
- The “Slide to power off” slider will appear. Swipe right to power down your iPhone.
- After the screen turns off, press and hold the Power button until the screen turns on.
If still, the problem persists, perform a force restart on the iPhone.
(Force restart Apple iPhone 8 and above)
- Press and release the Volume Up button.
- Press and release the Power button.
- Keep holding and pressing the Power button until the Apple logo appears.
- Release the Power button when the Apple logo appears.
(Force restart Apple iPhone 7)
- Simultaneously keep pressing the Volume Down button and the Power button.
- Release both the buttons when the Apple logo appears.
(Force restart iPhone 6s and below)
- Press and keep holding the Home button and the Power button on the iPhone.
- When the Apple logo appears, release the Home button and the Power button.
Update your iOS device
Check whether your iPhone has a new iOS update and update your device. If you are facing the iPhone not showing on your computer due to bugs, update your iPhone to fix all bug issues.
Note: Make sure your iPhone has more than 70 percent of battery or plugged in a power source and connect to the Wi-Fi.
- Go to the “Settings” app on the iPhone.
- Tap onto “Software Update” tab in the list.
- If an update is available for the iPhone, tap on “Download and Install” button.
- After the download is complete, tap on Install, you can also opt for install later.
If even after performing these troubleshooting methods on your iPhone to fix iPhone not showing on PC is not resolved, try these troubleshooting methods on your Windows or Mac computer.
Restart your Windows computer
Windows 10 is quite a stable and reliable computer operating system. But at times, there might be some glitches causing the iPhone not being recognized by the computer. Try solving the issue by doing a restart on your Windows computer.
- Click on the Start Windows icon.
- Click on the Power – Restart button.
- Your computer will shut down and power on again.
Update Windows 10
Update Windows 10 on your computer to not only get new features but also fix security as well as bug fixes.
- Click on the Start Windows icon.
- Go to the Settings tab.
- Head over to Update and Security button.
- If an update is available on your computer, download and install it.
Update iPhone drivers on Windows
All of the drivers for the iOS device on Windows PC are delivered and managed by a part of the iTunes app called the Apple Mobile Device USB driver. If the service fails or has corrupted files, it could cause the iPhone not showing up on PC issue, and here’s what you need to do to fix it right away:
- Disconnect the iPhone from the Windows PC.
- Unlock the iPhone screen and then reconnect the iPhone to the computer.
- Press the Start button then search for the Device Manager menu.
- Navigate to the Portable Devices and search for the connected device (Apple iPhone).
- Right-click on the device and select Update driver and then select “Search automatically for updated driver software” and wait as the process completes.
iTunes is a software suite for iOS devices that helps to tweak device settings and sync data between iPhone and Windows PC. If you are having issues with iTunes not recognizing your iOS device on the computer, you can follow the above steps. If still, iTunes does not recognize your iPhone, uninstalling and reinstalling iTunes and software components will resolve the issue.
Uninstall iTunes and other Apple-related software.
- Apple Software Update
- Apple Mobile Device Support
- Apple Application Support 32-bit
- Apple Application Support 64-bit
Note: Uninstall these apps in the given order.
- Click on the Start menu.
- Go to Settings.
- Click on App. The list of all the installed apps on your computer will appear.
- Click on the app you need to uninstall. A small drop list will appear. Click on uninstall.
- Uninstall will begin.
After uninstalling all iTunes and Apple software packages, reinstall iTunes. Download from here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can iPhone not showing up on PC be a hardware issue?
The way modern smartphones are built, experiencing hardware issues is an anomaly, especially on an Apple iPhone. Although the charging port and the connector cables are tested to be good for thousands of plugs, there is a possibility of a hardware defect or accidental damage that could affect the iPhone’s ability to connect the computer.
The first step to testing out this theory would be to replace the Apple Lightning adapter cable with an original MFi certified cable. If that does not seem to fix the issue, it might be time to take the phone into a shop for an expert’s opinion. Additionally, any and all such defects should be covered under Apple’s manufacturer’s warranty, if you’re still under it.
How to fix Mac not recognizing iPhone?
Mac OS and iOS are developed by Apple to run on their Mac computers and iDevices. The aspects of hardware, as well as software, are looked after Apple itself, so connecting both the devices should be flowless. But at times, even Apple’s proprietary ecosystem can have some hick-ups while connecting your iOS device to your Mac PC. More or less, to fix this issue, most common solutions are mentioned above, such as:
- Check your lightning cable.
- Clean the ports.
- Try using another USB port on your Mac.
- Unlock your iOS device and tap on “trust” when you connect your iPhone to your Mac.
- Restart your computer.
- Restart/Force restart your iOS device.
- Update iOS on your iPhone.
- Check for Mac OS updates.
What to do if I accidentally tapped “Don’t Trust”?
As a means to provide some much-needed software security to the iOS, Apple has included the “Trust this computer” feature, where you need to grant the computer access from the phone screen before you can start viewing its content on the big screen. However, if you weren’t aware of it and accidentally pressed the “Don’t Trust” button, there’s a way to revert back and fix the iPhone not showing up on PC issue.
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
- Head to General – Reset – Reset Location & Privacy and confirm your action.
- Now go ahead and reconnect the iPhone to the PC and make sure you press the Trust button when the pop-up window appears.
There have been rumors for a few years that Apple has plans to make an entirely port-less iPhone, doing away with the charging port and focusing just on the wireless charging aspect. Until that seems like a feasible alternative, the charging port (unlike the 3.5mm headphone jack) is here to stay, and your only source to physically connecting to a computer. Hence, when the iPhone not connecting to PC issue surfaces, it simply isn’t the kind that can be ignored, and we’ve highlighted all of the options out there to fix it.
Now that you know all the possible troubleshooting methods to fix iPhone not showing up on your Windows or Mac pc, we hope our guide has helped you to resolve this issue. If we have left out any possible solutions, or you have any suggestions, leave a comment down below.