iPhone 5S, IOS 10.0.2, Windows 7

I can see the phone in iTunes and do Sync and backup in iTunes, but I need to see the pictures folder in order to manage photos using apps on my Linux server. I have been able to do this for years; I think the IOS update may have prompted iTunes to install new drivers in Windows.

I was trying to troubleshoot this using Device Manager, but the driver used for the phone seems to be filtered out of the display.

Ideas for troubleshooting are invited and welcomed.

Edit: I have removed and reinstalled iTunes. Only change is that I can now no longer see the iPhone in iTunes, so no sync.

  • Update your installation of iTunes to the current version
    – Ramhound
    Oct 8, 2016 at 18:23

12 Answers 12


When I got my iPhone 7, it had ios 10.1, and File Explorer on Windows 10 could not show the phone as an external drive. What fixed it (on two different make and model pcs):

  • Open Device Manager
  • Under Universal Serial Bus controllers
  • Right click on the Apple device
  • Click on Uninstall driver, then select Delete Driver, then OK
  • Unplug iPhone, and plug it back in
  • Portable Devices appears in the Device Manager, and under that is the Apple iPhone driver. It is no longer under USB controllers

Now, looking at File Explorer, the iPhone is mounted as an drive under This PC


What eventually worked was going into device manager and deleting every USB hub starting at the top until my (USB) mouse stopped working. Then forcing a hard power cycle. (Press and hold the power button.) Power back up. The mouse was still not working, but I managed to log in using only the keyboard. As the desktop came up, I saw messages about (USB) drivers being reloaded. At the end of this process, the mouse was working again. And after that, when I plugged the iPhone in, it came up in "My Computer" and in Device Manager.

So essentially, the problem was fixed by forcing Windows to rebuild the driver data structures for the USB devices.


Make sure you’re using the most up to date version of iTunes – as far as I know. If you already are; try uninstalling iTunes, then reinstalling via Apple Software Update.

  • I take all the updates offered by Apple, I am sure it has been less than two weeks since the last time. Nevertheless, someone else suggested to uninstall iTunes, Download fresh from Apple, and reinstall. I have done this, and there is no change. iTunes Oct 8, 2016 at 21:55
  • Actually, there IS a change: I can no longer see the phone in iTunes. Oct 8, 2016 at 22:23

If you are running a N version of Windows (in the EU etc) that doesn't have all the media packs installed make sure you install the media packs, else Windows doesn't have the imaging subsystem to allow the digital imaging devices (eg. iPhone or other devices that appear as digital cameras) to show up in My Computer/Explorer.


After a couple hours on the phone with Apple Support Level 2, and then almost five hours in an Apple Store being helped by a succession of seven people, we finally just stumbled into a solution, and it is so easy, I'm actually unhappy we wasted all that time on this idiotic and unnecessary problem.

Here's what we did:

  • Plug iPhone into USB port
  • Open Control Panel
  • Open Device Manager
  • Expand Universal Serial Bus Controllers
  • Right-click Apple Mobile Device USB Driver
  • Choose Disable
  • After driver is disabled, unplug phone
  • Plug phone back in
  • Right-click Apple Mobile Device USB Driver again
  • Choose Enable
  • Voilà! Your phone should now appear both in Windows Explorer and Device Manager (under Portable Devices)

I don't know whether you actually have to unplug the phone after disabling, but that's the step we took, so it won't hurt to leave that step in.

This has worked for both my iPhone and iPad, and now on two machines.

Good luck!

  • Why is this a separate answer?
    – Ramhound
    Oct 26, 2016 at 0:27

Since iOS 10, I've noticed that a lot of Windows Computers do not see the MTP portion of the iPhone when it is plugged in UNLESS the device is unlocked before it is plugged into the computer.

Whether this is a security change on iOS 10 or whether it's a bug, it seems to only work after the device is unlocked prior to plugging it in.

Also you will most likely need to update to iTunes 12.5.1 if you are attempting to sync photos via iTunes as well.


So far, the only true way I found for my computer to recognize my phone to transfer files was to:

  • Open Device Manager
  • Under Portable Devices
  • Right click on Apple iPhone
  • Update Driver Software

This will prompt and update the MTU drivers, which allow your iPhone to be recognized via My Computer.


Thanks a lot for all the effort to solve the problem. For me (IOS10.0.2 / Windows 10) a mix of Chucks and Lars’ advice fixed the problem:

Disabling/enabling Apple Mobile Device USB Driver worked for me only after I deinstalled that driver (same menu where you disable/enable).

Plugging in iPhone then made Windows reinstall that driver. iPhone icon did show up then, but only after I did the disable/enable Driver exercise (un/plugged iPhone as well) described by Chuck.


Rebooting my iPhone X got it to start showing up in Windows Explorer.

This worked for me after trying other solutions suggested here (e.g. uninstalling the USB driver in Device Manager) did not.

(To perform the reboot, I held the iPhone's "Power" and "Volume Up" buttons until "Slide to power off" appeared; I proceeded to power off the device, then several seconds later, I held the "Power" button again until it came back on.)


I had the same issue with my iPhone not showing up in file explorer on win7 after updating to iOS10.

Tried the suggestions here without success, what worked for me was going into device manager, selecting 'Apple Mobile Device USB driver' and uninstall. I checked the box to remove the driver from the system. I disconnected my iPhone then reconnected it and Windows update when through it's driver install process, and now my phone connects.

Interestingly, windows didn't reinstall the 'Apple Mobile Device Driver', instead my phone shows up in Device manger as 'USB Mass storage device'. It still shows up in file explorer as 'Apple iPhone'.

  • Very useful tip. I really DON'T want to install iTunes, just be able to use file explorer on my desktop at work. I sync to my computer at home, and iTunes seems to be very explicit that I can only sync to ONE machine at a time, so I might lose everything that I am syncing with my home machine if I sync with the office machine. Dec 4, 2016 at 19:01

Very long story somewhat short(er), I am having the same problem with my iPod Touch and bouncing between two different drivers based on whether I select the one Apple tells me to or the one Microsoft detects. The Apple one that shows up in the Device Manager as "Apple Mobile Device USB Driver" under the Universal Serial Bus Controllers grants me syncing capabilities in iTunes while the Microsoft one shows up in the Device Manager as Portable Devices and I believe it was called "iPod Touch" grants me the ability to copy/remove photos taken through the windows explorer. The Microsoft driver can be obtained by telling the computer to automatically search for drivers while the Apple driver can be found by manually searching for the driver. Pathway the Apple troubleshooting article instructed to follow was C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\Drivers.

I cannot get both to function simultaneously and this has happened since I upgraded from iOS 9.5 to iOS 10.0. I have an iPod Touch Gen 6 presently upgrading to iOS 10.1 because I have nothing to lose at this point and its computer counterpart is a Dell Inspiron N7110 running on Windows 7. iTunes before and after re-installation was ver.

My layman's opinion based on what I've attempted in all the troubleshooting I've come across online is that this is an iOS 10.0 glitch not being universally talked about for only some users and likely based on operating systems and hardware models which I hope is fixed with the iOS 10.1 upgrade. Unfortunately, I can't test this with a revert to iOS 9.5 because I don't believe I have a backup file of that operating system, but I may try to dig around in my iTunes files to see if there's one hidden away.

Presently, I'm able to sync everything as usual with iTunes. Windows explorer functionality still disabled. I'll post an update after the iOS 10.1 upgrade whether or not it fixed any of this in case anyone else is still dealing with this frustration.

UPDATE: IOS 10.1 does NOT fix this problem. I have uninstalled one driver to get the other as it seems both cannot coexist anymore. Knowing the sounds my computer played when I used to plug in my iPod, two distinct drivers used to be activated upon its attachment; I clearly remember two activation sounds firing off when it would be plugged in and now only hear one. If anyone has computer knowledge, maybe they can figure out the problem. Unfortunately, I'm pretty clueless in these more in-depth matters.

UPDATE 2: After 2 hours on chat support with Apple, we got it functioning for BOTH drivers to be responding simultaneously and now it functions both in iTunes and in Windows Explorer--it IS the key. After some random stuff like a hard reset, etc, this is what seemed to do the trick, Apple's discussions about devices not showing in iTunes: https://discussions.apple.com/docs/DOC-10691. Picking the specific driver was necessary; I went through this walkthrough earlier on my own and picked the folder through the "Search for Driver Software in This Location" rather than the option to pick the specific file through the "Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer" route. This step might be the difference maker. Once selected and installed, I then had to disconnect and reconnect the iPod for it to re-enable the driver to detect it in Windows Explorer; the iPod did NOT show up in Windows Explorer until this step. I had my iPod unlocked the entire time while doing this. Hopefully this helps some others with this problem unresolved. I've got a ticket number in the event this isn't permanently fixed, but hopefully won't have to use it.

  • 1
    Edit your answer so it is concise. What didn't work shouldn't be included
    – Ramhound
    Oct 26, 2016 at 0:26
  • It's not clear what ultimately worked.
    – Ramhound
    Dec 30, 2016 at 4:56

I followed a lot of the steps other users did with making sure the correct driver was installed. If I had the Windows MTP driver, I could see it in Win Explorer but not in iTunes, and if the Apple driver, it was visible in iTunes but not Win Explorer.

I ended with iTunes recognising my iPhone 5S every time but found Windows 7 would only see it if the phone was unlocked before plugging it in. This seems to be the key thing to do. All the mucking about with drivers ended up with the same ones as when I started.

My iPhone is on iOS 10.1.1

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