iPhone Not Showing up in Windows File Explorer – How To Fix

If you are mixing and matching your devices, you should still be able to connect one to the other. You may not have the full suite of features when mixing Apple with Microsoft but you should be able to perform a few basic functions. But what do you do when iPhone is not showing in Windows File Explorer?

iPhone Not Showing up in Windows File Explorer - How To Fix

A version or two ago, you could connect your iPhone to a Windows PC with its USB cable and Windows Explorer would pick it up automatically. You could then explore files, add, move or change media and perform manual backups of any data you wanted to.

More recent iPhones have had issues connecting to PCs. Personally, I’m not sure whether this is the fault of iOS or Windows 10. Either way, it is annoying that something that used to be so easy is now more difficult than it should be.

What to do when your iPhone is not showing in Windows File Explorer

There are a few basic checks you should try before getting under the hood of Windows or iOS. It always pays to cover them first even if they are unlikely to be the cause as they only take a second and could save an hour or more of troubleshooting.

Only use a legit USB cable

Older iPhones used miniUSB to USB cables while newer iPhones use Lightning cables. Apple branded cables are very expensive for what they are but they guarantee quality. It is tempting to get a cheap Chinese copy from eBay but these are not always rated for data transfer. They may charge the phone fine, but will not work if you try to do anything else.

  1. Check the cable and make sure it is a legitimate one.
  2. Try a different USB port on your computer.
  3. Check both ends are fully inserted into both phone and computer.

Updates and drivers

If your cabling is legit and everything seems fine with the connection, let us update everything.

  1. Connect the iPhone to your PC.
  2. On your PC, navigate to Settings and Update & Security.
  3. Select Check for updates. Allow Windows to update if it needs to.
  4. Right click the Windows Start button and select Device Manager.
  5. Navigate to Universal Serial Bus controllers.
  6. Right click Apple Mobile Device USB Driver and select Update Driver Software.
  7. Select Search automatically and allow Windows to update if there is one.
  8. Turn on Wi-Fi on your iPhone and allow it to update as necessary.

Depending on what updates, if any, were installed, you may need to reboot your PC or phone. Do so and retry the connection.

Trust the computer

When you first connect an iPhone to another device you are usually prompted to trust it or not. You should see a prompt on your phone titled ‘Trust This Computer?’ when attached to a PC. You can then Trust or Don’t Trust. Selecting Trust allows the computer to access the iPhone whereas Don’t Trust will not allow access to files and folders.

If you have accidentally hit Don’t Trust, you may need to change it. What should happen is you see the Trust prompt every time you connect your iPhone to the computer but this doesn’t always happen. You can force it though.

  1. Navigate to Settings and General on your iPhone.
  2. Select Reset and then Reset Location & Privacy.
  3. Enter your passcode and select Reset Settings.

This will reset other settings too but will free up the Trust prompt. Reconnect your Phone to your computer and wait for the prompt.

Reinstall iTunes

Theoretically, you don’t need iTunes installed on a Windows PC for it to show up. But, if your iPhone is not showing in Windows File Explorer, reinstalling iTunes has been known to fix it.

  1. Uninstall iTunes for Windows from your PC.
  2. Download a fresh copy from Apple and install it.
  3. Connect your iPhone to your computer and see if Explorer detects it.

If Windows still doesn’t pick up your iPhone, make sure you have full control over the iTunes folder in Windows. Again, this shouldn’t make a difference but apparently does.

  1. Navigate to your iTunes folder in Music on your PC.
  2. Right click the folder and select Properties.
  3. Select the Security tab and hit the Edit button.
  4. Select the user you are logged into your computer as and check Full Control in the bottom box.
  5. Select Apply and OK.

One of those fixes is sure to address your iPhone not showing in Windows File Explorer. Got any other tricks to get the two playing together nicely? Tell us about them below if you do.

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