How to fix iPod, iPhone and iPad problems

What to do if something goes wrong with your iOS device

Fix iPod iPhone and iPad problems

What can you do if iTunes can't see your device when you connect it!?

When you plug an iPhone, iPod or iPad into your Mac, the on-screen battery indicator will change to show it's charging or plugged in. Make sure you're not just seeing a normal battery; if you are, try a different USB lead, another USB port and be sure it's connected directly to your Mac and not an external hub.

Furthermore, a device won't show up if it's very low on charge - wait a few minutes until it's got a bit more juice in it and it should appear. If the connection is okay but iTunes is still not recognising it, run Software Update to make sure OS X and iTunes are both up to date. Try switching both your Mac and the device off and then on again.

Some software, including security and anti-virus apps, can cause problems, so try disabling or uninstalling these to see if that helps. Have you got any other iPod or iPhone-related software on your Mac? Uninstall and restart.

"I've lost the music on my Mac but I have it on my iPod"


To protect against music piracy, Apple doesn't enable you to copy music from your iPod to your Mac, but in a case like yours, you have a legitimate need to get music you own off your iPhone or iPod onto your Mac. Download Senuti.

There's a free trial available or the full version costs $19 (about £12). Install it, open the app and plug in your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Your music and playlists will appear in the window - select the songs you want and click Transfer.

"Syncing my iOS device without losing what's on it"

This isn't easy, because you need to transfer your iTunes library to the new machine in order for the iPhone or iPod to continue syncing as normal.

On the old Mac, run Software Update to be sure you're running the latest version of iTunes. Next, open iTunes, press Commad+, to open the Preferences and click Advanced. If it isn't already, the Keep iTunes Media folder organised box must be ticked. Doing this will move all your music into one place.

The area above it will show you where the iTunes folder's kept (usually in /Users/yourusername/Music). Locate it in Finder and copy it to your new Mac's desktop (via an external hard drive or USB stick). Now find the iTunes folder on the new Mac. The old must replace the new, but if you've already got media on the newer machine, move its iTunes folder elsewhere on the hard drive for now.

Then put the iTunes folder from your old Mac into /Users/yourusername/Music on the new one and fire up iTunes. All being well, your media library will appear safe and sound and you'll be able to sync away to your heart's content.

"Charging is not supported by this accessory…"

If you see this message there could be a number of reasons your device won't charge. The power from the accessory or USB port may be too low, the cable may not be supported or there could be dirt in your dock connector. Try using a different accessory, cable and USB port, and carefully clean the dock connector in your device.

How to improve iOS battery life


If your battery seems to be running out on your iOS device rather quickly, there are a couple of things you can do.

Disable any features on the device you're not using - 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Push, Location Services and so on - and dim the screen's brightness. Avoid constantly skipping through songs (a better idea is to create playlists on your Mac of tracks you know you want to listen to?).

It's also worth recalibrating your battery, which you can do by running it through a full charge cycle. Essentially, this means running it right down and then charging it fully. Repeat this process once a month.

For more information about how to care for your iPod, iPhone or iPad battery and keep it living longer, have a look at

Quick tip

Newer iOS devices can generally be unplugged from your Mac whenever you please, but we'd recommend you don't do this mid-sync.

Older ones need to be properly ejected first to prevent damage to the contents, so click the eject symbol next to their name in iTunes or drag the icon to the Trash and wait for the OK to disconnect message on the iPod screen.


First published in MacFormat Issue 234

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