Troubleshooting iTunes Wi-Fi Sync Problems in Windows

Wireless syncing from an iOS device such as an iPhone or iPad makes life so much simpler. However, getting your device to connect to your computer successfully can be difficult. Here are some common solutions to your sync issues.

I have already had several people text me “I can’t get iTunes to sync over wi-fi!” This is regarding the new wireless iTunes sync that is available in iOS 5. Sadly, this is appearing to be one of those few Apple issues that doesn’t “just work” for everybody.

Here are some fixes that seem to work.

Install the latest version of iTunes and iOS

Just because you think they are installed, double-check. You’ll need to be running iOS 5 and iTunes 10.5. Typically, if you reinstall iTunes, the Bonjour services and the correct holes in the firewall will be created and you will be able to avoid the next two steps.

Be sure you enable wifi syncing as well. Plug in your phone and check under the Summary tab to enable:

Install Bonjour

Apple frequently uses Bonjour to communicate across your wi-fi network. Apple users typically have this installed already, but some Windows computers may not. By installing bonjour you are providing Apple the route for getting your devices communicating. Be sure to reboot your system after installing the software.

Check your firewall rules

Bonjour needs permission to communicate through your network between your devices. In Windows 7, you can do the following:

From your Firewall settings in your Control Panel, select Allow a program or features through Windows Firewall. Be sure that Bonjour is allowed. By default, Public will be selected. If that doesn’t work, try enabling Private as well. Restart iTunes before trying to connect.

Some users have recommended additional steps:

Control Panel -> search for Windows Firewall -> Advanced Setting in the left column -> Inbound Rules

Double-click each entry for the Bonjour Service and select the Advanced tab. Enable Private and Domain. Under the General tab be sure Enabled is checked. Restart iTunes.

Be sure Apple Sync Applications are enabled

In trying to get their Windows box running quicker, many people have disabled the processes and programs needed in the sync process. Some people reporting needing to re-enable AppleSyncNotifier application. On my system, I have the Apple Push and iTunesHelper applications running. I also have the Bonjour Service, Apple Mobile Device service, and the iPod Service all enabled. If you have any of these turned off, re-enable them and then reboot.

People disable processes and startup applications in multiple ways. The most common is running MSCONFIG and then manipulating items under the Services and Startup tabs.

As people continue to report issues and fixes, we’ll keep this article updated. Post your problems and solutions in the comments below.

 

About David Kirk

David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
View more articles by David Kirk

The Conversation

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  • joshg21

    Just wanted to say that I had problems with getting the Wi-Fi Sync going and the firewall tips did the trick. I had to go all the way to the advanced settings of each Bonjour service, but it worked. Thanks.

  • Dmitri

    Doesn’t work for me, even after disabling firewall and antivirus. The services are running, Bonjour is working (printing, Remote and media playing are working), but WiFi sync still tells it’s waiting for the computer to become accessible. Wierd.

  • Visnet

    For me, reinstalling bonjour did the trick.
    Disabling Win7 (64) firewall showed sync should work, enabling the existing bonjour rule to public, domain and private did not help. I installed bonjour over the existing installation – now it is working.

    Thanks!

  • David Kirk

    @joshg21 @visnet — glad these hints helped! Thanks for dropping us a message to know what has helped.

  • David Kirk

    @dmitri There is always a possibility that your hardware firewall on your router is blocking bonjour.

    Be sure that these ports are open:

    5297 TCP
    5298 TCP/UDP
    5353 UDP

  • Rene

    God Bless YOU!! I tried everything could not get sync over wifi..found this page..did just like you said, walked through every step, rebooted computer and Iphone..and when I opened itunes again, it found my phone, and after 10 seconds a sync started!! Thank you! I can got to Fu*&^% sleep NOw! LOL

  • David Kirk

    @Rene – Glad we could help!

  • http://digital-adventures.de Jokke

    Thank you so much! I tried to make this work for over an hour until I found your site! Now working flawlessly! You rock!

  • Chris

    Thanks so much. Did all this, including opening up the ports listed in the comments. Followed with a reboot. Works a treat.

  • stanescu aurelian

    Hi,
    I have an iPhone 4 in Ios 5, and a PC with Windows 7, the iTunes version 10.5. I did everything written above. Unfortunately wifi synchronization does not work. As the cable is plugged into the iPhone, and iPhone have active sync button in iTunes see device does, you take the cable away from iTunes and divece the button on the iPhone is inactiv. Pease help me. I try and fail two weeks.

  • Rob

    I tried everything mentioned without luck. Found that I also had to do the following:
    – enable uPnP (Universal Plug and Play)
    – On router, disable “Wireless Isolation” for the SSID being used.
    Hope this information helps.

  • Pie de Vrede

    May be you should start Itunes as “administrator” (right mouse cklick). I had a lot of troubles with an Ipad (no recognition) but now it works rather ok.

  • Tim

    Great article. The only thing I found missing in my set up is AppleSyncNotifier. I have not disabled it, and I am running the latest version of iTunes. I am running Windows 7 Professional 64 bit. Is it possible that Apple no longer uses this application given the discontinuation of MobileMe?

    Thanks!

  • Mark

    My issue is now my iPhone will ONLY sync on wi-fi. My iPod will not sync at all, since it has no wireless capabilities. Do I need to disable the wi-fi sync to be able to use my cable again? My computer will simply not recognize the device unless it is over wi-fi.

  • jubjub

    Instailling Bonjour worked for me, thank you.

    - Windows 7 64-bit

  • Scherer

    Where do i found the “System Configuration” window?

  • Tevenan

    Visnet’s fix worked for me too.
    1. Disabled Windows Firewall, sync worked.
    2. Verified rules were already in place, enabled firewall, sync failed.
    3. Reinstalled Bonjour with “Repair” option, sync worked.

    Cheers Visnet!

    T.

  • Tumuerte

    Wanted to say thank you to the author for this great post. I found your site on the google search for this error, a few ranks below the official Apple forum thread for this exact error to which no one could still answer. I left a link there to this page with my experience.

    Great job!

  • mark

    Hi im having the opposite problem, I can’t seem to disable the wireless sync. I already tried disabling it by I Unchecking the “sync this device through wifi” in iTunes but it does not work. i also tried rebooting both the computer and iPhone but it still syncs them.
    i think the wifi sync is causing a big battery drain on my iphone.

    Does anyone have any ideas how to disable the wifi sync?

    kind regards

  • blametheadmin

    Funny. Isn’t Apples’ motto “It just works”?

  • Fernando

    Hello, I’m from Brazil, I want say :Thanks so much. Great article.

  • Amarand Agasi

    The one thing that fixed it for me was restarting the Apple Mobile Device service under Windows. Instantly connected and found my iPhone. Thanks!