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Sunday, April 10, 2011

If iTunes freezes when you plug your iPhone into the computer

Here's a wild story from our iPhone annals. When you plug your iPhone into your computer, iTunes is supposed to come on and start syncing the computer with the phone. Lately our phone has been having trouble doing that. ITunes would come on, all right, but it would freeze and it wouldn't recognize the phone. As soon as we'd unplug the phone, iTunes would instantly work fine. The same thing would happen if we started iTunes first and then plugged the phone in -- iTunes would seize up until we unplugged the phone.

We tried a number of solutions we found on the internet, including uninstalling and reinstalling iTunes, but to no effect. This went on for hours over the course of a few days. Frustration! Finally we stumbled across a post on a discussion board that worked: We started playing a song on the phone's iPod function before plugging it into the computer. Voila! Everything was back to normal. Go figure.

UPDATE, 12:25 p.m.: Never mind. When we tried our solution a second time, it didn't work.

UPDATE, 12:34 p.m.: Another try worked. Ah, the mysteries of gadgetry.

UPDATE, 5:42 p.m.: It appears there may have been a conflict with an anti-malware program, which was running in the background on the computer. The program, Super AntiSpyware, is a good one, but we don't need to have it running all the time. We got it to stop starting up every time we started Windows, and so far so good on the iPhone.

UPDATE, 4/11, 5:42 a.m.: Another suspect: a program called Setpoint, which comes with a Logitech mouse.

UPDATE, 6/2, 1:20 p.m.: A couple of months' worth of fussing with this problem has led to some progress, but not a final solution. Our update is posted here.

UPDATE, 6/14, 3:32 p.m.: We think we have figured out the problem, and come up with a solution! Details here.

Comments (12)

More Simple: turn off automatic syncing.

The problem is that sometimes it takes iTunes too long to load properly. Better wait until iTunes is fully loaded and ready before starting to Sync.

iTunes is a bit long in the tooth due to the many fixes over time, and the constant band-aiding.

Those discussion boards are invaluable. Being able to access everyone on Planet Earth who has the same problem, is monumental.
Think of all the hours wasted globally thinking, "It's me. I must be doing something wrong."

Suddenly there's this little army of earthlings saying, "It's not you. It's them. And here's what you do to get around their screw-up." Or the still frustrating, but invaluable message: "It's a flaw. There's nothing you can do."

One world government: Bad. One world discussion boards: Good.

Apple has been hiring at Microsoft lately, it seems.

Mike, the problem isn't auto-sync. Even with auto-sync disabled in iTunes, as soon as the phone is connected, iTunes freezes. It won't recognize the phone.

Have you tried rebooting the phone? Holding down both the power button on top and the round detent on the face at same time until it shuts down?

Rebooting the phone doesn't help.

Once I had the phone connected and recognized and synced, if it were me ithinki would do a backup and restore on the phone. Something is off, and it doesn't seem to be iTunes.

The real problem (or at least two problems):

1. The Windows version of iTunes wasn't written by Apple, at least to begin with. They hired it out. The Mac version is written in a completely different programming language (Objective-C) which doesn't readily have support on Windows. This is why the Mac version of iTunes is pretty good software, and the Windows version is largely thought of to be trash.

2. The fact that in 2011 we have to sync data over a USB wire still is laughable. More laughable is Apple's reasoning behind this restriction - they don't release iOS "patches" for their devices, but entire OS images to be installed. These weigh in at almost a gigabyte, rather than a

I'm hoping that they at least deal with #2 in the near future - the Apple TV 2 puck already does "over-the-air" updates without the need for iTunes, and it's hardware isn't much different from a WiFi-only iPad or an iPod Touch with different software running. Same A4 processor, same flash memory, same iOS base system, with the 'springboard' app that the other iDevices run replaced by 'backrow' media presenter software.

Let's just hope that when they do bring their software updates and syncing out of the Palm Pilot Cradle age, they don't require us to buy new hardware for that feature.

The submit button appears to have eaten the last phrase of my point #2 - it should read "rather than a patch that weighs in at less than 100 MB."

Damn HTML and their use of the greater-than glyph for tagging; and damn text parsers that don't escape the text so that this doesn't happen.

Jack, you are correct. I don't connect the phone until after iTunes is running. Forgot to mention that.

More like "Damn pebkac!"

iPhones is a too expensive over the line device. Don't need or want iPhone with iTunes. "I got music running in my brain", like Niel Diamond. Under my fingers too, played on a device that requires no external source of power, just finger power.

And yes, I obviously own a computer, and a rather fast one at that!

the Apple TV 2 puck already does "over-the-air" updates

As does its predecessor. Apple computers, of course, also do.

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