iTunes won't sync iPhone anymore


(John Burt) #41

I second that question. How can new content be added to and moved from a phone that will not sync? Can music and playlists, videos, photos be moved via iMazing?

(My phone quit syncing and I had not changed anything since the last sync 1.5 months before. Auto updates are off on all devices. There’s no point in owning an iPhone if I can’t use it as a computer, camera, video - music - podcast player …)


(Robert Brenstein) #42

Hmm, I thought that to transfer the data and apps you need to run a backup not sync in itunes.


(Dennis Swaney) #43

I ALWAYS do the following when moving to another iDevice:

  1. Backup the 1st iDevice.
  2. Activate the 2nd iDevice selecting “Restore from Backup”
  3. Chose the backup made in step 1 above.

Only after I’ve done all this am I able to “sync” the 2nd iDevice to iTunes. Remember that when you SYNC the file dates are compared and the newest files are sent to the other side be it iTunes, iCloud or iDevice.

I’ve done this both going from older to newer iDevice and vice versa.

BTW, you can backup and restore using iMazing 2


(gastropod) #44

Simon wrote: “I’m really out of ideas at this point.”

It sounds like the original phone is messed up somehow. Apple, of course, would tell you to fix it by erasing it and restoring from a backup, because that’s their solution (sic) to pretty much all problems. Of course that loses everything that wasn’t backed up, and a fair bit of stuff that never gets backed up, such as file downloads or map tiles in many apps. Apple doesn’t care that it may take days to recover such ‘temporary’ files, even if they’re still available to redownload.

Try syncing the new phone several times. It’s taken me as many as four tries (connected to itunes with no other problems; iCloud may be similar) before everything showed up. If that doesn’t work, all is not necessarily lost because at least you have the otherwise functional old phone.

To rescue things from the old phone if needed:

Photos are easy with the excellent PhotoSync (~$4). It can not only copy from the phone to a mac, but to other iThings, android, windows, NAS… It’s the only way I do photo transfers now, since I don’t use Photos.app and the newer systems have some trouble with Aperture.

Can iMazing see the apps directly from the old phone and let you look at the data? If so, you may be able to move (most) of that data to the new one by hand. Many apple apps won’t let iMazing (or any other third party app) look at data directly on the phone though, and third party apps can hide it.

https://imazing.com/guides/how-to-export-backup-and-transfer-ios-apps-data-and-settings

iMazing can also do a bulk export of all data it has access to:

https://imazing.com/guides/how-to-easily-export-all-iphone-data-to-mac-or-pc

For the apps that iMazing can’t help with, go through them one by one on the phone and use whatever mechanism they provide to share or backup data. If there’s an option to save in a form that can be transferred via iTunes, do that even if iTunes can’t see it, because it will let iMazing get to it. There may not always be a way to move the app data to the new phone, but at least it will preserve stuff that would otherwise be lost. It’s tedious.

Apple mostly rightly considers several apps to be so private that they have to be backed up before third party apps can look at them. Health, Messages, Call History, Notes, Contacts, Voicemail, likely more. I don’t know the best way to deal with most of them, if iCloud backup didn’t get them right.

Health will let you export an archive of everything, and there are third party apps that will reimport that archive to Health on the new phone. Contacts and Calendar should be syncable to some other carddav/caldav server. Many services such as fastmail.com and google support carddav and caldav, so pick one you’re ok with. Notes is a pita, which is the main reason I never use it. You can ‘share’ the contents, but not in a form that some other device will ingest and let you keep working.

Good luck!


(Simon) #45

That’s what I thought too, Robert. But after the successful setup of her new iPhone from backup although she has her settings etc., there’s no photos, music, books, 3rd party apps, etc. on her new iPhone. I assume that would have to come from a sync as the setup from backup did not include any of that.

All that stuff is on her old iPhone. But since that won’t sync to her Mac, her Mac does not have a lot of her newer content. So if we now sync her new iPhone with her Mac, she’s going to not get a ton of stuff that’s on her old iPhone. I was hopeful that could be solved by backing up to iCloud vs. iTunes (since that’s what everybody here seems to think Apple wants us to do), but that doesn’t change anything about the situation. She still doesn’t have her music, pics, books, etc. despite successful iCloud backups.


(Simon) #46

Thanks, Dennis. That’s exactly what we did. In fact we did it twice since the first time we had used a backup to Mac. The second time we tried using the backup we had done to iCloud. While both transferred her settings to the new iPhone (along with contacts and calendars), her music, photos, and books are nowhere to be found on her new iPhone. If we sync her new iPhone with the Mac, she won’t get it either because the Mac hasn’t synced that stuff back from her old iPhone (the issue that led me to initially start this thread).


(Simon) #47

Thanks, Gastrpod. I have absolutely no problem paying for iMazing if it will allow us to sync her stuff (which iTunes for some reason no longer is willing to do). But for the iMazing solution to work, we need it to replicate a lot of functionality.

  1. Will iMazing sync and back up iPhones both over USB and wifi? Will it sync in both directions?

  2. Will iMazing sync her music as selected in iTunes? IOW, if she continues to buy music and organize playlists etc. in iTunes, will iMazing’s sync see and transfer those changes? In both directions?

  3. Will iMazing also make 100% complete backups as reinsurance in case her iPhone gets destroyed/stolen or similar, i.e. if she’d need to migrate to a new iPhone?

  4. Will iMazing backups contain 3rd party apps and all app settings? Network and security settings?

  5. Will iMazing sync her books with the Mac Books app and book purchases made on her Mac?

  6. Will iMazing sync her pics with Photos? Will it sync back from camera roll?

  7. Is everything iMazing backs up and syncs done locally on the Mac? Can it be used free of any cloud storage? I already used up all my wife’s goodwill when I asked her to do iCloud backups to test if that would fix things. Next time, it’s the divorce attorney I’m afraid. :wink:

I realize there might be specialized apps for certain syncing aspects, but in the interest of keeping things convenient (she’s not a geek) it would be nice if we could find one app to take care of it all (or at least most of it).


(gastropod) #48

iMazing uses Apple’s software to do the backups and syncs, then layers on many additional features, such as time-machine style incremental backups. It can’t backup the old phone if iTunes can’t, which I think you said awhile ago is the case. But the additional features include some that will let you get at data directly from the phone, (and get at even more if there’s a successful backup) and transfer it to the new phone, and otherwise recover and manipulate you data. It can also let you get at data from older iTune backups, even encrypted ones (if you know the password).

There’s quite a bit of documentation at the site:


(Dennis Swaney) #49

Hmmm, that is weird, Simon. Was the back-up encrypted maybe? I’ve never encrypted mine so I don’t know how/if it affects restoring to a new iDevice.

Here are some iMazing links:

https://imazing.com/faq

Oh, I’ve replaced iBooks with MapleRead SE on my iDevices: http://maplepop.com/web/mr/index.php


(Simon) #50

Hmm, bummer. If it’s just on top of Apple’s sync and that doesn’t work, we appear to be SOL. :frowning:


(Simon) #51

It was. I thought though you need to have an encrypted backup to get iTunes to actually back up all of your data. I thought I remembered reading that if you don’t encrypt your backup certain items will not be backed up for security reasons.

Anyway, I feel like the backup itself worked. She sees her settings on the new iPhone. It’s the syncing after the initial backup that should bring back her 3rd party apps and stuff like music/photos/books that doesn’t work.

In fact, yesterday we tested just syncing to the new iPhone to see what would get synced since her Mac of course does have some synced content form < October when all this iTunes baloney started. Sure enough, the sync to her new iPhone will also give an error and fail to complete. One or two syncs worked before the errors started. So she was able to sync her contacts and calendars in those initial syncs that worked (we wanted to add items to sync one by one as suggested further above), but she couldn’t get her books for example.

Since these sync issues are happening with two devices it almost appears to me as if they’re related to something in iTunes or possibly her iPhone settings - but I couldn’t find anything in reset options on her phone that sounded like reset all syncing.


(Dennis Swaney) #52

This “initial” backup, when did you do it? When moving to a new iDevice, I NEVER backup the new one until I’m sure everything has been brought over after doing a Restore from the very last backup of the old iDevice.


(gastropod) #53

Simon wrote: “Hmm, bummer. If it’s just on top of Apple’s sync and that doesn’t work, we appear to be SOL.”

You’re not SOL, but you are in a disaster recovery mode. The odds of the old phone ever syncing again without a restore (which includes an erase) is probably nil since you’ve been trying everything else with no luck. You need to get as much data as possible off of the old phone, and as much of that as possible onto the new phone.

iMazing can help with such a rescue, Apple can’t. Probably other third party apps can help too, but iMazing has an extensive feature set, very good documentation (which you’ll need) and a lot of happy users, so it’s the best bet you’ve got right now. After you’ve got everything possible transferred, you can decide how you want to do the backups and syncing going into the future.

Once all of the data is is off and transferred, and your wife is satisfied with the results, you can try restoring the old phone from scratch and see if that fixes it.


(Richard Rettke) #54

My experience is that just because iMazing is forced by apple to use the same database backup, does not mean that the phone won’t sync with iMazing. I have terrible issues with my 4 iOS Devices, although mostly with my iPhone 6s Plus. Probably 90% of the time iTunes will not even recognize that the iPhone (and sometimes other devices) is plugged in by USB and doesn’t recognize if via WiFi either. iMazing on the other hand connects all 4 devices almost 100% of the time. Just today I was unable to get iTunes to connect to the iPhone so I did a (unnecessary) backup via USB with iMazing. When that finished, iTunes then recognized and connected to the iPhone. I am at this point 99% convinced the issue is iTunes. Which by the way, since the latest update (12.8.2.3) on Sierra, refuses to Quit. I have to Force Quit to get iTunes closed.


(Simon) #55

My bad. I should have been more clear in my wording. When I said “initial backup” I meant the initial restore we did to get the new iPhone working. It was restored from a backup of the old iPhone. The backup of the old phone seemed to work so I have no reason to believe the restore wouldn’t work. And indeed it does. But the following sync to the new iPhone which should transfer all the other stuff like photos/music/books and 3rd party apps, that’s the part that’s not working.


(Dennis Swaney) #56

OK. You should be able to get the apps by downloading them direct from the App Store using its app on the new iPhone, ditto any music purchased from the iTunes Store. For the rest, it sounds like you may have to use iMazing 2 for a direct old iPhone to new iPhone transfer (or another application that will do the same thing).

BTW, I’ve stayed with iTunes 12.6.5.3 so I can still do app management in it since Apple removed it in 12.7 without a viable replacement.


(Simon) #57

Not an option. App prefs will be lost in the process. Same with playlists. We’re talking 30k tracks. There’s no way any of that will be redownloaded manually. And no, after this fiasco, the last thing she will ever do is sign up for Apple Musc or any of that. In fact, after seeing this massive CF, any sane person would have doubts about handing Apple just a single Dollar ever again.

She doesn’t care about app management and she doesn’t expect iTunes to do any of that. So the new iTunes would be fine. If it worked that is. But we already know for a fact the old iTunes doesn’t work either, so it’s moot. She does care about losing prefs set for dozens of 3rd party apps that do not foresee externally saving prefs and reloading via eg. Dropbox.

The question is if iMazing could do an entire phone-phone transfer. But from the sounds of above, since it relies on Apple’s sync and that’s broken, it will not be able to do that.


(gastropod) #58

Simon wrote: “The question is if iMazing could do an entire phone-phone transfer. But from the sounds of above, since it relies on Apple’s sync and that’s broken, it will not be able to do that.”

What iMazing can do is talk directly to the old phone and copy many (not all) files from it, and copy them directly to the new phone. This uses Apple’s tools, but not the backup and/or sync utilities that have been failing for you. It can also access backups that iTunes did manage to make so you can see if they’re complete, and perhaps let you recover things like Contacts and Messages.

You need to go to the site and start looking through the help files, at least the table of contents. Your demo version has presumably expired by now, so you may need to install it on a different Mac to try things out. Straight backups in iMazing are free, but not most of the other features, which are what you need. I’m not sure if the demo has a limit on the amount it will extract in a session. But you’ll be able to twiddle with it enough to see what it can do.

I doubt if any of us here are going to give you detailed rote instructions, when the official documentation is both extensive and good.

If iMazing can’t talk directly to the old phone, then something on it is seriously hosed. You’ll need to check app by app to see if some of them can transfer their own data, and look into third party utilities to rescue Apple app data. Photosync is a good bet for Photos, a third party carddav server such as google for Calendars, etc…

I know you want it all to be simple, but when things go wrong, it often just isn’t. But it’s a good time to practice some controlled breathing to help lower the adrenaline levels.


(Adam Engst) #59

And I have to say, after reading this, I’m even more convinced that it doesn’t make sense to back up solely to iTunes anymore. :slight_smile:


(Steve Johgart) #60

For what it’s worth (which may be not much at all), my experience upgrading iPhones is that although the app desktop formatting (folders, etc.) transfers fine, the actual apps are all redownloaded automatically from the App Store over several hours, they don’t copy over from a backup. Similarly, iTunes doesn’t copy actual music files from backup, I have to manually download the files to the phone from my iTunes In The Cloud account via the Music app (actually, it’s possible even the playlists, playcounts, etc. are from iTunes In The Cloud rather than my backup, I don’t know). I like iTunes In The Cloud, works great, but I want the actual files on the phone for when I travel into areas without cell service (i.e. much of the desert and mountain West).