How to fix an iPhone 11 that’s not recognized in iTunes

Data transfer, iOS updates and major iOS repair are usually done through iTunes on a computer. iTunes is Apple’s very own data management or iOS device management utility that serves various purposes from content downloads to system repairs. To use this tool, your device must be attached to the computer where iTunes is installed. The entire process is supposed to be straightforward but there are just some factors that can make it a bit complicated or unsuccessful. In fact, many iPhone owners have faced with various types of errors when using iTunes to manage their iOS devices. Sometimes, the problem is within the computer system and other times on the iPhone system. To give you some inputs in case you will encounter the same problem with iTunes, I’ve mapped out some applicable methods that can be used to rule out common factors that cause iTunes errors, particularly syncing problem. Read on to find out what to do if your iphone 11 is not recognized in iTunes.

Before moving on, feel free to browse through our troubleshooting pages to find potential solutions to other problems with your other Apple devices. If your iPhone is in the list of our supported devices, then you can visit its exclusive troubleshooting page and find the problem that you need help dealing with. You can refer to or use our provided solutions and workarounds if needed. In the case where you’d prefer to get direct assistance from us, simply fill up our iOS issues questionnaire and hit submit to contact us.

Troubleshooting an issue on an iPhone 11 that is not recognized in iTunes

The following are basic procedures that are used to troubleshoot common errors on both the iOS device and computer system that might have caused conflicts with iTunes. Try the first three solutions to eliminate common factors from your iPhone system that might have prevented it from syncing with iTunes. If none of that works, continue with the next solutions to eliminate common factors from the computer system that might have prevented iTunes from recognizing your iPhone 11.

Be sure to use the original USB cable or Lightning cable to connect your iPhone to the computer. Other non-Apple made cables may not be compatible and therefore won’t work.

First solution: Soft reset or restart your iPhone.

Random iOS flaws can be the main reason why your iPhone couldn’t get to connect to iTunes as intended. If this is the first attempt you’ve made and that it failed, then restarting your iPhone 11 will likely fix the problem. So here’s what you should do first:

  1. Press and hold both the Side and Volume Up buttons for a few seconds.
  2. Release both buttons when the Slide to Power off bar appears.
  3. Swipe or drag the bar to turn your device off.
  4. After about 30 seconds, press and hold the Side button and then release when the Apple logo appears.

Allow your iPhone to finish rebooting and once it’s back up and running stable, connect it to the computer using the Apple-supplied USB cable or Lightning cable then see if iTunes is already able to recognize your iOS device.

Second solution: Turn off restrictions on your iPhone 11.

Another possible barrier you should eliminate from your iPhone system are restrictions. If enabled, there’s a chance that the feature is restricting iTunes from accessing iOS data and thus resulted in syncing error. To clear this out, follow these steps to temporarily disable restrictions on your iPhone settings:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Then tap on Screen Time.
  3. Select Content & Privacy Restrictions then toggle the switch to turn the feature off.
  4. If prompted, enter your device passcode to confirm and apply the settings changes.

Retry connecting your iPhone to the computer with the restrictions feature disabled and see if that makes some positive changes.

Third solution: Reset all settings to fix your iPhone 11 that’s not recognized in iTunes.

Invalid settings or settings that aren’t properly configured on your iPhone may also cause conflicts and ruin the syncing process. To clear this out, resetting all settings on your iPhone can help. This reset will not affect any saved data so there’s no need to worry of losing personal information. That said, you can start the reset without backing up files. Just follow these steps to proceed:

  1. From the Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down and tap on Reset.
  4. Tap Reset All Settings from the given options.
  5. Enter your passcode if prompted to continue.
  6. Confirm action by tapping on Reset All Settings again

This reset erases all your current configuration and system preferences and thus you will need to re-enable necessary features individually, so you can use them again on your phone. After making necessary adjustments to your iPhone settings, retry connecting to iTunes to see if the problem is gone.

If your iPhone is still not recognized, try performing some basic troubleshooting on the computer system to eliminate common factors that might have hindered the syncing process between iTunes and your iPhone 11.

Fourth solution: End iTunes and restart your computer.

Like other computer programs, iTunes may also end up acting up when it’s left open or running in the background for long. The application might have crashed and stopped working so it needs to be restarted. The process to end running programs is typically straightforward but the steps may vary depending on the type of computer or operating system the computer is running on. 

Just end the app as you normally do and then restart your computer to refresh the operating system and clear out minor system flaws including those that caused conflicts to iTunes.

Retry connecting your iPhone after the computer reboots and see if iTunes is already able to recognize it. If it still doesn’t, then you should move on and try other methods.

Fifth solution: Install pending updates for iTunes, if possible.

Using the latest version of iTunes on a computer is highly recommended to avoid bumping into some system conflicts. If you are not sure if you’re using the latest version of iTunes, then you may refer to the following methods to check and update iTunes on your computer, if necessary.

If you downloaded iTunes from the Apple website, here’s what you should do:

  1. Open iTunes app on your computer.
  2. Navigate to the menu bar located at the top of the iTunes screen.
  3. Click Help.
  4. Then select the option to Check for Updates.
  5. Follow the onscreen commands to install the latest version of iTunes available on your computer.

If you don’t see the option to Check for Updates in the Help menu, it means that you have downloaded iTunes from the Microsoft Store. This means that your iTunes app updates are automatically installed whenever new versions are released.

You can also download the latest version of iTunes app from the Microsoft Store.

If you’re using iTunes on a Mac, iTunes update should be integrated with the latest macOS version. Thus, your iTunes app is already up to date, if your computer is already running on macOS Catalina. Else, follow these steps to manually install update for iTunes on your Mac:

  1. Open the App Store on your Mac.
  2. Click on Updates at the top of the App Store screen.
  3. Click the Install option if any iTunes updates are available.

Last resort: Update drivers on your computer.

USB drivers are required for your computer to be able to detect USB devices that are attached or plugged into its USB ports. When you connect your iPhone to the computer, it will be treated among other external devices or USB devices that are trying to access and sync with your computer system. For a Windows computer to detect your iPhone, it must have an Apple driver installed. If that driver gets corrupted, there’s a better chance that your computer wouldn’t be able to recognize your iPhone. In this case, reinstalling or updating the problematic driver can help. You can manually install the required iPhone drivers using the Windows Update service in Windows 10. Here’s one of the many ways to get this done:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Windows computer using the original Lightning cable or USB cable that came with it. 
  2. While your phone is connected, launch iTunes app on your computer.
  3. If you’re getting an error message like driver not installed, go to Windows 10 Settings-> Update & security-> Windows Update menu. Once you get there, click on Check for Updates button. This will prompt automatic downloading and installation of the iPhone drivers.

Wait until all required drivers are installed then quit and restart the iTunes app. iTunes should then be able to detect or recognize your iPhone.

For further assistance in driver management in other Windows versions, you may contact Microsoft Support.

If you’re using iTunes on Mac, driver updates are usually embedded in system updates. Thus if your Mac OS is updated, the same goes with drivers.

  • To check if any updates are available, simply click on the Apple menu in the top-left corner of the screen then click on Software Update. Any available updates will then be displayed and thus, can be downloaded. Otherwise, you’ll see a message prompt, telling that your software is up to date.

If you have activated a security software like an antivirus or firewall on your computer, try disabling that temporarily and then retry connecting your iPhone without any security software enabled. If iTunes recognizes your iPhone without activating any security software on the computer, then that denotes the software is blocking the connection and likely barring iPhone from accessing the computer system. This is usually what happens if the security software perceives some sort of security threat the moment you plug your iPhone into the USB port of the computer. In this case, making some adjustments to your security software settings like settings some exceptions to grant access to your iPhone will be necessary. 

What to do if your iPhone 11 is still not recognized in iTunes?

Before escalating the problem to Apple support, try to use an alternative iOS data manage tool that’s compatible with your iPhone 11. There are actually a lot of options you can choose from. Among the leading brands are PhoneRescue for iOS, Tenorshare UltData, iSkysoft Data Recovery, Wondershare Dr. Fone, to name a few. Just pick the one that you think would be address your needs be it for data transfer, iOS data recovery or iPhone system repair. If your iPhone is able to sync with any of these tools but does work with iTunes, then that’s when you escalate the problem to Apple Support. There might be some complex errors with iTunes that need more advanced solutions. If you’re seeing an error code or warning message while trying to load up iTunes on your computer, take note of the message and then relay that information to Apple Support. If you’re using iTunes on a Windows computer and you’re getting an error when trying to sync or connect your iPhone 11, you can ask more help from Microsoft Support in troubleshooting your Windows computer.

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