Monday, January 20, 2014

Troubleshooting Issues Between iTunes & the iPhone

There are many iterations of the iPhone and multiple versions of iTunes.  Regardless of the device model and version of iTunes, problems can still arise when connecting and backing up your device.  Issues can be related to the phone, to the iTunes software, or a combination of both.  Determining where the cause stems from will help you find a solution to the issue faster.  Listed below are some tips for handling common issues.

  • New Device will not activate - When you first connect a new device the software will run through some setup steps prompting you to select a language, to connect to a wireless network, and more.  If you have connected the device to iTunes while you are going through the setup, you may get an error that the device cannot be activated.  If this happens, try unplugging the device from iTunes and reconnecting it to see if that fixes the issue.  This happens because the device will try to activate over a wireless network or your data plan as well as through iTunes during the setup causing an error.  Disconnecting allows the activation to finish on the device so the activation process is not running in two places at once.
  • Error:  SIM Card not installed - This can happen for a few different reasons and there are a few ways to fix this issue.  
    • First, if nothing has changed with your phone, try shutting the phone off, ejecting and reinserting the SIM card to fix the issue.  The SIM card on the iPhone can be found on one of the sides of the phone.  Look for a small hole and press the paperclip like tool provided in the original box to eject the SIM card tray.  Insert the SIM card back into the phone and turn the phone on again.
    • Second, if you have replaced an existing phone with a new phone, the SIM card must be compatible with the new device.  Often the new device will use a newer version of the SIM card that is not compatible but this will be obvious immediately as the cards would be different in shape and would not fit into the new SIM card tray.  
    • Third, if you replace a device with one that uses the same SIM card, but the old device had a lock code in place, the SIM will not activate in the new phone.  To prevent this, remove the lock code from the old device before removing the SIM and putting it into the new device.  Once the new device is activated, set a lock code on the new device.  
    • Lastly, even though it is very rare, SIM cards can stop working.  After trying all other steps if your phone still will not activate, go to your provider and have them put a new SIM card into your device to see if that fixes your issue.  NOTE:  Getting a new SIM card usually incurs a cost from your provider so try this as a last resort.
  • Downloaded applications do not sync - Normally the default setting in iTunes when backing up the iPhone does not include syncing the downloaded applications.  Go to the Apps tab with your phone connected to iTunes and make sure there is a check in the box to sync the applications.  This will make sure your applications are installed on your phone if you ever need to restore your phone from a backup.  The other reason this happens is because the computer needs to be authorized for the Apple ID connected to the device to allow syncing of paid for apps and music.  To authorize a computer, open iTunes, select the Store menu and click Authorize this Computer.  When prompted, enter the Apple ID and password associated with the purchases you have made.  This will allow this computer to sync purchases made through the app store with your device.
  • Device stops responding and displays the plug into iTunes Image - When more serious things are going on with the device, there are times when the device will stop responding and display only the image to plug it into iTunes.  When this image appears on the phone and it is otherwise non-responsive, the phone has entered recovery mode.  From here, normally the only option available when you connect to iTunes is to restore the phone to factory default settings.  Once you select restore to factory settings the latest software version available will download and install on the device.  After a few reboots, restore your settings from a backup which will reset all of your preferences, music, ring tones, apps, text messages, photos, emails, and more back to their original state based on the last time you had a successful backup.  This is another good reason to backup your phone often if you have any data that you cannot afford to lose on your phone.
  • Continuous rebooting - If you have issues that include continuous rebooting when you reboot or turn on your phone, this could be a sign of a more serious issue.  Turn the phone off and leave it off for at least fifteen minutes before trying to restart the phone to see if it will boot normally.  If the issue happens after a software update and you can get a normal boot, try restoring your phone to your last backup and re-installing the update.  If the issue continues to happen, you may have to take the phone in to your provider or call the manufacturer to have it checked for hardware issues.
Whatever the issue between the device and iTunes, there is usually a way to work around the issue.  Many of the simpler issues can be fixed by rebooting the device, closing and restarting iTunes, or disconnecting and reconnecting the phone to iTunes.  Lastly, remember it is important to backup your data whether it relates to your phone or your computer.  For more information on data backups, visit our website.

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