Syncing iPhone

A couple weeks after getting my new iMac, I am still tweaking the preferences of many applications so they work the way I want them to. I recently shared a way to stop iPhoto from automatically launching when you plug your iPhone in, and today, I will share with you a similar tip to stop iTunes from automatically opening every time you connect your iPhone. As often with these specific settings, the solution is simple but it might not always be obvious to everyone.

There are actually two ways to go at it. The first method is device-specific, meaning that you can tell iTunes not to open and sync when a specific device (ie. your iPhone) is being plugged in. The other method works with any iOS device you plug in.

Prevent iTunes from opening and syncing with your iPhone

As mentioned above, this method should be used if you want to prevent a specific device from launching and syncing with iTunes when you plug it in. For example, if you follow these instructions, iTunes won’t launch and sync when you plug your iPhone in, it will however sync if you plug your iPad in. If you don’t want iTunes to ever launch and sync, regardless of the device being plugged in, then read the instructions in the following section.

Step 1: Plug your iPhone in a USB cable linked to your computer. iTunes will launch automatically and start syncing.

Step 2: In iTunes, click on the iPhone icon towards the upper left of the screen.

Step 3: In the navigation column that appears on the left of the screen, make sure you select the Summary tab. This will take you to a screen where you will see basic information about your device, backups, as well as various options.

Step 4: Scroll down to the bottom until you see the Options section.

Step 5: Uncheck the box that reads “Automatically sync when this iPhone is connected.”

Automatically sync when this iPhone is connected

Step 6: Click Apply to confirm the change.

From now on, every time you plug your iPhone in your computer via the USB cable, iTunes will not open automatically. Because this is a device-specific setting, you might want to repeat the steps for every device you don’t want to be synced automatically.

How to prevent iTunes from launching and syncing with any iOS device

This could be considered the thermonuclear solution as it will prevent any iOS device you plug in to automatically launch and sync with iTunes. If you don’t want to be bothered ever again with iTunes launching and syncing with your device on its own, this is the way to go.

Step 1: Launch iTunes.

Step 2: In the Menu bar, go to iTunes > Preferences…

Step 3: Click on the Devices tab.

Step 4: Check the box that says “Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically.”

Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically

Step 5: Click OK to confirm.

This is it. Now you can plug your iPhone and iTunes will not launch by itself and start syncing with your device.

  • Lots and lots of newbie tutorials, something tells me you’re writing an iBook…

    • Yep. I guess you haven’t seen Jeff talking about it.

      • I’ve seen that one about iOS 8, should have said “another” instead of “an”.

  • Kanzler

    everytime i backup my ipad its transferring the updated apps to my imac, saying they r not in the library. how can i avoid that? thats not happening on my iphone. always have to delete the folder afterwards… sucks!!

  • TheShade247

    Please make some useful tutorials like get side bar back in iTunes 12. and disable iPhoto from opening whenever iOS device is connected!

  • flybynight

    iTunes is so NOT intuitive. I couldn’t find that setting and got so annoyed when my devices started to sync automatically. Thanks for the tip.