iTunes does not recognize iPhone / iPad: Tips for connecting iOS device and Mac / PC

Help, problem solving, suggestions, advice: iTunes does not recognize the iPhone / iTunes does not connect to the iPad

If iTunes does not recognize the iPhone or iPad with a wired connection, the alarm bells will sound for some users. If iTunes does not display the iOS device and you cannot transfer data or make updates, then the following tips should help you with troubleshooting. Because iTunes is spinning around on the Mac or a Windows PC is not so rare - only the reasons can be very different. So here are the most common solutions in the event that iTunes does not recognize the iPhone or iPad.

iTunes does not recognize iPhone / iTunes does not connect to iPad - help, troubleshooting, suggestions, advisory

iTunes doesn't recognize iPhone / iTunes won't connect to iPad

These problems arise from time to time, especially with long-time Apple users. Such problems and corresponding questions can also be found in a wide variety of help forums, on social media pages and where users are still looking for and hoping for help. In any case, your search is now over, because I have listed the most common problems and the solutions that help most often.

Checking the hardware is the first step

Before we get to software problems and the like, let's look at the solid components of the problem: Mac, PC, iPhone and / or iPad. If iTunes does not establish a connection or does not display the connected iOS devices, then you can first clarify the following:

  • Is the iPhone or iPad turned on? Because that should be it ...
  • Is the USB cable OK? If necessary, try another one.
  • Are you trying to connect via a hub? Attempts to connect directly instead of the USB hub. If necessary, also disconnects other USB devices.
  • Does the USB port work at all? Try another port or another device on the free port to check it.
  • Have you restarted the Mac AND the iPhone / iPad?
  • The hardware is ok and nothing works? Then please read on;)

The universally popular panacea: the new start

Before we look at the software and systems, let's try one first restart. Restarts the Mac, MacBook or PC as well as the iPhone, iPad or, if applicable, the iPod. This may solve the problem. If not, let's go a little deeper ... follow me unobtrusively:

What about the software?

With regard to the connection, it can also be helpful to check the software. On the Windows computer, it may be that you simply do not have the required access rights to use the iOS device via iTunes. So if in doubt, use a User account with admin rights. Otherwise, there are still these points to consider:

  • Is the interface, i.e. the USB connection, blocked by software, for example by a security system / an antivirus program? The instructions or the support of the developer should show you how you can remove the blockage. If in doubt, simply switch off the protection during the connection phase.
  • Is the computer / iOS device trusted? After connecting the hardware, check iTunes and the iPhone / iPad to see whether you have ticked the trust box for the other. If that is not possible or you cannot change a “non-trust”, then open the “Finder”. Select the menu “Go to” and there “Go to folder”, enter “/ private / var / db / lockdown” in the search window (see screenshot below) and delete all entries in the displayed folder. Then empties the trash. When the lockdown is cleared, you should be able to tick the trust option again. (Disconnect devices, reconnect, etc.)
  • Is the new iTunes version already installed? Sometimes the connection between iTunes and iPad or iPhone spins around because you don't have the latest version of iTunes on your computer. An update can help.
  • Do you have the current operating system? With Windows as well as OS X or macOS and mobile iOS it can happen that the connection fails because the system is not up to date. Have fun with the upgrade, it may take time depending on the system;)
  • Addition: sometimes only one thing helps Reset the NVRAM or SMC. What it is and how it works you read that here.
Under macOS Mojave there is also the "lockdown" folder on the hard drive, in which the certificates of the trusted devices and the devices that iTunes should not trust are stored.

Under macOS Mojave there is also the "lockdown" folder on the hard drive, in which the certificates of the trusted devices and the devices that iTunes should not trust are stored.

Fixed connection problem with iTunes and iPhone, iPad or iPod?

Did the tips help you? Is everything working again or did you have to solve the problem in a different way? Feel free to leave a comment with your experiences. Thanks!

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14 comments

  1. Simone says:

    Hi Jens,

    I cannot find the folder "/ var / db / lockdown" ...

    I wanted to connect my iPad pro with iMac, could also "trust", but it does not appear ...

    My iPhone is also no longer displayed ... ???

    Sunny greetings in great autumn weather

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Hello Simone! You're right. I have just looked at Mojave to see where the folder can be found and in the article the "private" of the "var" was missing. So the correct path to the folder is "/ private / var / db / lockdown". I changed it in the article above and added a screenshot that shows how I see it in the Finder.
      By the way, I had the same problem that my iPad was not recognized and simply restarting the Mac or iPhone helped me. I did both and then they found each other again. : D LG! Jens

  2. Reto says:

    Hi

    I cannot open the lockdown folder.

    I have no access to the lockdown folder and I cannot change the access rights - even after entering my administrator password and opening the lock. "_Usbmuxd" has the "Read & Write" access rights and "Everyone" has "No rights". I cannot change either. I also cannot add a new person (eg "Administrators"). The following error message appears: "The action could not be completed because you do not have the required access rights.

    How do I get access to the lockdown folder? Or how can I reset these "trust certificates"?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Best regards

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Hello Reto! So as an administrator you have access to ALL folders and files. If not, you are not an administrator right now. If the Mac also tells you that you do not have the appropriate access rights to create an admin user, then you are apparently not listed as an admin yourself.

      • Reto says:

        Hello, Jens
        Thank you for your answer.
        That basically makes sense, but it still doesn't work ... If I look at "System Settings" and at "Users & Groups", "Current User", "Reto", "Admin" appear. With "Users & Groups" I can, for example, open the lock to edit the content ... And I can also create a new admin user.

        As I said: "_usbmuxd" has the "Read & Write" access rights and "everyone" has "No rights" to the lockdown folder, neither of which I can change. My name "Reto (I)" or the administrator / admin is at the "Information" under "Sharing and access rights:" is not listed and I can't add it either ... Sounds strange, but unfortunately it is ...

        Do you have another tip why it might not work?
        Best regards Reto

        • Sir Apfelot says:

          Hello Reto! I've really thought about it during the day, but I can't think of a reason or a solution for it. Would you create a new admin user and maybe try to open the folder or delete the file this time? One last straw to grab. : D

  3. Reto says:

    Hello, Jens
    Thank you for your help.
    I've just tried that, but I also have the same problem with the newly created admin ...
    I have already read that you could try to delete the "lockdown" folder completely with a terminal command ... However, this procedure could lead to damaged files, which in turn could cause other errors, since the "lockdown" - Folder is about system-relevant data ...
    I'll keep trying, sooner or later it will work out, it must be possible somehow.
    Nevertheless, thank you very much for your quick feedback.
    Best regards Reto

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Hello Reto! Then I would make a backup and try that with the terminal. With a terminal command, it should definitely work. But somehow I never think of that. I'm always so in the beautiful Klicki-Bunti-Apple world that I never think of the terminal. : D

    • yummiweb says:

      "Simple" admin rights may not be enough. When working in the terminal, you may also have to use "sudo" (expects the input of the password of the user logged in to the terminal)

      So instead of, for example, "rm -rf / private / var / db / lockdown", "sudo rm -rf / private / var / db / lockdown".
      Instead of the whole folder, I would rather delete the device-related .plist entries in it. So all without the "SystemConfiguration.plist".

      In my case (trust settings were never accepted), however, it was due to the permission settings to the folder / private / var / db / lockdown.

      Correct are (High-Sierra): "drwx—— _usbmuxd _usbmuxd".
      However, I was also shown an "@" sign, which indicated extended permissions.

      The extended permissions could be displayed with "sudo ls -al @ / private / var / db" AND "sudo ls -ale / private / var / db", whereby it became apparent that entries were made here that belonged to the group "everyone" ALL rights withdrawn. Accordingly, iTunes (or the background process for the trust settings) could not write to this folder either. Since these entries did not even exist on comparable systems, I decided to remove them.

      It didn't work with "sudo xattr -d / private / var / db / lockdown" (no idea why), so I took a different route:

      First renamed or moved the previous folder:
      "sudo mv / private / var / db / lockdown / private / var / db / lockdown_bak"

      Created a new folder:
      "sudo mkdir / private / var / db / lockdown"

      Corrected its authorizations ...
      "sudo chmod u = rwx, g =, o = / private / var / db / lockdown"

      ... and correctly set the owner:
      "sudo chown _usbmuxd: _usbmuxd / private / var / db / lockdown"

      Then the old "SystemConfiguration.plist" is copied into the new folder:
      "sudo cp -a /private/var/db/lockdown_bak/SystemConfiguration.plist / private / var / db / lockdown /"

      With the next connection request via iTunes the permission was again correctly accepted and a corresponding entry was made in "/private/var/db/lockdown/LANGEKENNUNG*.plist".

      In my case that was the solution.
      Maybe that will help someone.

      Greetings Yummiweb

  4. Reto says:

    Hello, Jens
    Okay, I'll try Terminal then. Just take a look…
    Thank you for your help.
    Best regards Reto

  5. Hans Peter says:

    After I enter ls -la in the terminal, the information appears
    drwx—— 11 _usbmuxd _usbmuxd 352 5 Aug 18:47 lockdown

    I have the problem that my iPhone 7 is no longer recognized in the Finder.
    So I can no longer create an update / backup. I read that you should delete the lockdown folder. But with root rights I can't get any further here.
    I have a MacBook Pro with MacOS Catalina 10.15.6
    Who can help here?

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Hello Hans-Peter! Have you tried the Finder?
      1. Quit iTunes
      2. Disconnect all iOS devices from the Mac
      3. Go to "Go"> "Go to Folder" in the Finder menu
      4. copy this path in: / private / var / db /
      5. Drag the "lockdown" folder into the trash
      6. Enter Admin-PW to authorize the process
      7. Now connect the iPhone and click "Trust"

      If you don't have access to the folder, please try the following:
      1. Go to the "lockdown" folder as described above
      2.Type STR + I to open the info window (can also be done by clicking the right mouse button)
      3. Expand the "Share & Access Rights" area
      4. There is a lock at the bottom right of the window that should be clicked (enter Admin PW)
      5. Now change the rights of "everyone" to "Read & Write"

      That should help. If not, please report again!

      I just found another way via the iPhone (iOS):
      1. Open Settings
      2. Area General> Reset
      3. Then click on "Location & Data Protection" below and enter the PIN code

      After that, the iPhone should recognize the Mac as a new device again and ask if it should trust it.

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