If your iOS device (iPhone, iPad or iPod) isn’t recognized in iTunes on a Mac or PC, you may see this error message:
“This iPhone (or iPad etc) cannot be used because the Apple Mobile Device Service is not started.”
The first thing you may do is to restart the Apple Mobile Device Service (AMDS). If your problem continues after restarting the Apple Mobile Device Service, you may need to remove and reinstall AMDS and iTunes. Here is how:
How to Restart Apple Mobile Device Service:
- Disconnect your iPad, iPhone or iPod and close iTunes.
- Open “Services”. Windows XP -> Start > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Services; Windows Vista / 7 -> Start > Search > type Services > Services; Windows 8 -> Open Charms to search> type Services > Select View local services.
- Select Apple Mobile Device.
- Click “Stop the service” then click “Start the service”.
How to remove and reinstall the Apple Mobile Device Service:
Launch Control Panel (Start > Control Panel) and remove (in this order) iTunes (iPod Updater if you have it), Apple Software Update, Apple Mobile Device Support, Bonjour, and Apple Application Support. Uninstall them in this order. Do not restart your computer until you removed them all. After you removed iTunes and related components, restart your computer and download and install the latest version of iTunes. Note that installing iTunes will also install AMDS.
Mac OS X
Finder > Applications and move the iTunes icon to the Trash. Select Go > Go to Folder and enter /System/Library/Extensions and click Go, find AppleMobileDevice.text and drag it into the Trash Bin. Again select Go > Go to Folder and enter /Library/Receipts/ and click Go and find AppleMobileDeviceSupport.pkg and move it to the Trash. Restart your computer. Empty your trash (Finder > Empty Trash) and restart your computer again. Now download and install the latest version of iTunes. If you see: “iTunes” can’t be modified or deleted because it’s required by Mac OS X.
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.