How to Fix an iPad That Won’t Sync

Tech Tips

Tips for Troubleshooting an iPad that Won’t Sync

Syncing your iPad to your computer is the way to backup, restore, and save data, music, and photos that you keep on your iPad. You can use several options to synchronize your iPad, such as USB connection, wifi, and Bluetooth. Common issues do arise which make syncing your device problematic, but there are simple solutions that are often a quick fix to restore connectivity.

Here are Some Possible Solutions


1 Turn it off

As “tech gurus,” we’re all-too-familiar with this step. It should always be the first thing you try when in need of an IT solution. Turning the device off and back on again might seem obvious, but it’s important to make sure you complete this step. Sometimes a simple restart is all your device needs to start working again. To do this, hold down the Power button and Home button simultaneously on your iPad until the device restarts. When the iPad reboots, try syncing again. Even a genius may neglect this all-important first step in solving technical issues. But never skip it!

2 Restart Your PC

This is self-explanatory, but whether using a Mac or PC, sometimes you just have to do the same thing to the computer that you tried with the iPad. Reset your computer and see if that works next.

3 Update iTunes

More often than not, users have not kept iTunes up to date. Sometimes upgrading to the latest edition will fix your issue. Close the iTunes app, update it and then relaunch iTunes. You may have to try to sync manually once the software is updated. An outdated software issue can lead to devices not syncing.

4 Re-Authorize iTunes

When using iTunes, check to see if your sync button is greyed out. If your sync button is greyed out, and nothing is transferring over to your iPad when you’re trying to sync, make sure your device is connected (USB or wireless). If you are connected, pull down the “Store” menu in the iTunes application and select “Deauthorize this computer.”  I like to close out the application and then reopen it and authorize the computer again. Sometimes this will fix the issue.

5 Update iOS

If this is an option for you, it’s often a good idea to update to the latest iOS version compatible with your device. Updates normally include both enhancements and upgrades that address minor glitches discovered in software which had gone previously undetected. You can update your iOS software by going to the Settings menu, select General, and then Software Update. You can adjust your settings for automatic updates. 

After updating your iOS, allow your device time to reboot before attempting to sync.

6 Try Another Route

If you’re unable to sync via USB, try using wireless syncing instead. If you always sync with wireless, then try USB. Whether USB, Bluetooth, or wifi, there are multiple ways to sync your device. 

7 Evaluate Peripherals

When syncing your iPad using your USB cable, the next troubleshooting option should be to double-check your USB cable and connections.


  • Have you tried this cable with another device to see if the cable is working?
  • Have you tried a different cable to see if this corrects the issue?
  • Have you tried a different USB port on your computer to see if this corrects the problem?
  • Lastly, are you using an aftermarket cable, or is this an OEM (Apple manufactured) cable?


  • Is the cable connecting adequately?
  • Is the “charge” indicator showing?
  • Are the pins intact and the socket clear?


A few charging and connectivity problems with iPhones were solved when customers brought their phone in with complaints that it wasn’t charging, only to have the technician blow into the charging socket and use small plastic tweezers to remove a small lint-ball. We do not recommend putting other objects into your sockets to check for lint or other objects. Leave this to trained technicians.

Wrap It Up

The simple solutions we outlined are your best options to try and fix the issue yourself. Keep in mind that the latest Mac OS Catalina uses Finder to sync your iPad or iOS device. If you are using an earlier macOS version (Mojave or earlier), or a PC, you’ll have to use iTunes. The developers at Apple work to keep the software as up to date as possible and often new iterations of a program can cause unintended consequences when synchronizing applications as iOS, macOS, Windows, iTunes, and other programs are updated. It is a good practice to keep all of your hardware updated with the latest versions of all software to reduce these types of issues.

Before using your computer to sync content, consider using iCloud, or similar services to store your content in the cloud. This method allows you access to your music, photos, (and more) even when you aren’t near your computer. 

If your iPad still isn’t working, wrap it up and bring it into the pros for a free diagnostic exam. They will pinpoint the problem, and you can even have them fix it for you. You can find our locations here.

Unfortunately, not all issues are simple fixes that can be done easily by most consumers. Some repairs require the services of trained professionals who are familiar with the different operating systems, hardware, and functional capabilities shared among devices, and that have the experience and tools to troubleshoot advanced issues which could take the average person many weeks to diagnose and correct on their own.

At uBreakiFix, your friendly neighborhood repair service, we fix bad days and busted devices in one fell swoop. With hundreds of locations nationwide, we partner with big names like Samsung and Google to offer skilled repairs for tech lovers everywhere.

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