Troubleshoot iPhone & iTunes 11 Sync Issues on iOS 7 & iOS 8
If you are unable to sync your iPhone or iPad after updating your iTunes or iOS then this post is definitely for you. Stuck at “Waiting for Sync to Start” or if you unable to start the Sync or able to Sync everything but your music then this post will solve your issues.
Recently I tried to Sync my music and apps between my iPhone 5s and iTunes 11.4 so that I could transfer my music from my iTunes to my iPhone and back up my apps from my iPhone to my PC. Sounds pretty easy right? I mean what’s there to it? Connect your iPhone to your pc using the USB cable, launch iTunes and click Sync and baaaang! it should start to sync right?
Apparently, since iTunes was updated to version 11.4 with the iOS 8 launch, the music sync stopped working. Even for non-jailbroken device, syncing music became an issue for which no apparent fix is available. This is mainly due to the fact that many of the albums that are on our iTunes library were not purchased from the Appstore and iTunes will not download music that was not purchased from the Appstore. To make matter worse, if you had restored your iPhone content (eg. pics, tones, apps) from the cloud because you have ditched your older iPhone for the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 plus and want to get your old pictures back then connecting your iPhone to iTunes will result in a rotating grey circle on iTunes Sidebar which you will not be able to select in the first place.
It took me countless reboots, reinstalls and 2 sleepless night to solve this ugly issue but I finally nailed it down.
Most of the folks on the Apple Community Support Forum kept telling everyone to restore your iPhone using iTunes from a previous backup and start fresh. However, even then most people facing the Sync issues were still not able to sync between their device and iTunes.
My device is jailbroken using Pangu, using 7.1.2 iOS so restoring to an older backup was a big no-no for me. I had a number of tweaks such as Barrel, Forecast, iFile, Virtual Home, Bolt, Colorflow etc installed on it already. So, for me a number of issues that could arise from the tweaks and the jailbreak itself may also be the cause of the sync problems. I tried installing RoqyUSB, Bridge etc to workaround the sync issue but none of them would work the way I wanted. I could use iFile to use my device as a server and upload tracks one by one from my PC and then import them to my Music.app using Bridge or MusicEnhancer but then I would lose the artwork and a few other meta tags. Once you face the rotating, non clickable icon on iTunes, you cannot even use your device as a USB so copy/pasting albums wont work out either.
I tried removing iTunes completely and then reinstalling iTunes, removing and reinstalling Apple Mobile Device USB Driver, tried iFunbox to transfer music but nada! None would solve it for me. I even downgraded iTunes from 11.4 to 11.3 thanks some advice I read on some forum but to zero success. Tried using Gremlin, Afc2ADD etc as well to eliminate the sync issues but none work whatsoever.
So how to solve this dreaded problem? Provided you have tried everything I specified above and still cannot sync your iPhone/iPad with iTunes, hey follow my directions.
Fixing Syncing issues for Jailbroken and Non-Jailbroken devices:
- Back up your device on iCloud first thing. Then install iFile from Cydia and respring your device if you are on a jailbroken device. If your device is not jailbroken then use iFunbox and do the same hereon in after connecting your device with iFunbox on your PC (Make sure iTunes is not running in the background while doing it).
- Next open iFile/iFunbox and browse to /var/mobile/Media and compress the following 2 folders – Downloads and Purchases. After compression is done, delete the two folders from your device.
- Next, browse into the following folder /var/mobile/Media/iTunes_Control/iTunes. Once you are inside the iTunes folder, compress the following 5 files – iTunesPrefs, iTunesPrefs.plist, MediaLibrary.sqlitedb, MediaLibrary.sqlitedb-shm, MediaLibrary.sqlitedb-wal. Once the compression is finished, delete these 5 original files from your iPhone/iPad.
- Next you need to compress the following the 2 subfolders within the iTunes_Control folder – iTunes_Control/Sync/Media and iTunes_Control/Music. Now delete these 2 folders as well. That’s it, you’re done. Now Reboot your iPhone/iPad and connect it with your iTunes. Voila! It will no longer show the rotating gray icon and you can now sync your music, tones, pics, apps etc without any restrictions whatsoever. It will detect your iPhone as a new device but you simply use transfer your contents from your iPhone to iTunes before starting the sync to make sure you do not have to redownload your contents from iCloud. You can delete all the backed up files and folders once you have completed your first Sync.
Make sure iTunes is not running if your device is not jailbroken and if you are using iFunbox or a similar program. Make sure no other apps are running in the background when you are deleting the files especially the iTunes Store App or the Music.App.
The reason I emphasized on compressing the files and folders before deleting them is to make sure you have a copy backed up on your device just in case. It is not neccessary to do so but I recommend it. I have tested this on iTunes 11.3 and 11.4 with iPhone 5s and iPhone 5, with iOS 7.1.2 Jailbroken and iOS 8. One other thing, after the very first sync completes, make sure on your next Sync you do not cancel it midway. Else you will have to do this process all over again.
Have fun and enjoy!