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How to stop itunes from automatically syncing with an ios device

Whenever you make important changes to your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, and then plug it into your Mac or PC with iTunes installed, iTunes may launch and attempt to automatically sync and back up your device.

If you don’t want your device to back up on your computer automatically because it takes too long due to how much stuff you have, then be sure follow the steps we’re about to show you in this tutorial.

Why to disable automatic backing up in iTunes

Although it’s generally a good idea to back up your devices frequently in case of failure, some people would rather do it manually because they have a lot of data on their devices and iTunes will go on for ages before it actually completes the backup process and can move on to syncing.

Another thing is, backing up will hold everything up. If you’re in a hurry to go somewhere, and iTunes is holding you up and backing your device up, it’s going to frustrate you.

The last major thing I can think of is if your computer is running out of space and you know you have a lot of photos or videos on your device and you just don’t have the room to store such a backup. Disabling this automatic backup will prevent that precious storage on your Mac from disappearing when it doesn’t have to.

Since some people like to manually control some things for their own good, this tutorial is going to show you three ways to keep iTunes from automatically syncing your iOS device when you plug it into your Mac or PC and launch iTunes.

Disable automatic iTunes backup by using iCloud instead

One way to keep iTunes from automatically backing up your device when you launch iTunes with a device connected is to set iTunes so that your device backs up via iCloud instead.

Although this feature still technically backs up your device, it will not hold up your iTunes experience and will keep your device from automatically backing up on your computer.

To do this, follow these steps:

1) Connect your iOS device to your Mac or PC.

2) Launch iTunes on your computer (for some, it may launch automatically after step 1).

3) Click on the Device button on the top left of the app.

How to stop itunes from automatically syncing with an ios device

4) From the device information screen in iTunes, select iCloud from the backup options and then click on the blue Done button.

How to stop itunes from automatically syncing with an ios device

5) When prompted about applying the changes, click on the blue Apply button.

How to stop itunes from automatically syncing with an ios device

Now when you plug your iPhone in to your computer to sync it with iTunes or to charge it while iTunes is open, your device won’t sync with iTunes anymore. Instead, it will back up to iCloud, which won’t get in the way of transferring information back and forth with your device.

Disable automatic iTunes backup by preventing auto-sync

Another thing to note is that backing up only occurs in iTunes when you sync your iOS device with it. So you can actually prevent iTunes from automatically backing up your device by preventing your device from being automatically synced when it’s plugged in and iTunes is launched.

To do this, follow these steps:

1) Plug your iOS device into your Mac or PC.

2) Launch iTunes, and then open the iTunes preferences. On a Mac, go to iTunes > Preferences in the Menu Bar.

How to stop itunes from automatically syncing with an ios device

3) In the preference window, click on the Devices tab.

How to stop itunes from automatically syncing with an ios device

4) Put a check mark in the box entitled “Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically” and then click on the blue OK button.

Now your device won’t automatically sync when you plug it in an launch iTunes, which means it shouldn’t automatically back up with iTunes either. It’s like magic!

Disable automatic iTunes backup with Terminal

If you don’t really want to use either to back up your device, you can also use Terminal to handle the situation.

Ah… good ol’ Terminal! I know lots of advanced Mac users are going to love this approach even more.

To turn off automatic iTunes backups with Terminal on your Mac, follow these steps:

1) Close and Quit iTunes on your Mac.

2) Launch Terminal and enter the following command:

defaults write com.apple.iTunes DeviceBackupsDisabled -bool true

3) Press the return key on your keyboard to execute the command.

4) Restart your Mac. It’s good practice to do this after a command like this, but you can also probably get away with the killall Dock command.

Note: You can re-enable automatic backups in iTunes by using the same command above and replacing -bool true with -bool false.

Wrapping up

For some people, automatic backups via iTunes are just not the best thing in the world to have enabled. There are certainly different ways to disable automatic backup via iTunes when connecting your iOS devices to your Mac or PC, as we’ve outlined in this tutorial.

Also read:

Do you like having automatic device backups in iTunes? Share in the comments!

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.”

How to stop itunes from automatically syncing with an ios device

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.”

How to stop itunes from automatically syncing with an ios device

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.

How to stop itunes from automatically syncing with an ios deviceEach time you connect an iPhone, iPad, or iPod to a computer, iTunes launches and immediately begins to automatically sync all content between the iOS device and the connected computer.

If you’re annoyed with the auto-syncing aspect of iTunes, or you just want to disable it on an auxiliary Mac or Windows computer, here is how to do so.

This setting is slightly different depending on the version of iTunes in use, we’ll cover the most modern versions of iTunes first, then a little further down you will find the same settings adjustment to be made in prior releases of iTunes. Aside from that, settings are the same in both iTunes for Mac and iTunes for Windows.

How to Stop iTunes Automatically Syncing When iOS Device Connects to Computer

  1. Open iTunes and connect the device to the computer as usual
  2. Select the iPhone, iPad, or iPod from the top device button
  3. Scroll down in the Summary section to Options and uncheck the box for “Automatically Sync When This iPhone is Connected”
  4. Repeat as necessary for other devices (iPads, iPods, other iPhones, etc)
  5. Quit iTunes for change to take effect

How to stop itunes from automatically syncing with an ios device

Disabling iTunes Automatic Syncing in Earlier iTunes Versions

This applies to all older versions of iTunes on Mac and Windows:

  1. Launch iTunes and open “Preferences” from the iTunes menu
  2. Click on the “Devices” tab
  3. Check the box next to “Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically”

How to stop itunes from automatically syncing with an ios device

More modern versions of iTunes will place the setting within the iOS devices Summary tab,

You do not need to have the iOS device connected to the computer to make this change within iTunes. The next time you connect any iPhone, iPad, or iPod though, you won’t start syncing automatically with iTunes.

For most users it is best to keep this enabled since it also serves as a backup for your iOS gear. If you decide to turn this off, get in the habit of manually backing up to iCloud or manually backing up to the computer through iTunes itself, otherwise you will be lacking a backup if something goes wrong and you need to restore the iOS device.

Update: Separately, you can also stop iTunes automatically launching when an iOS device is connected to the computer, this is wrapped into the same setting on new versions of iTunes, but older versions have the two settings separate.

If you’re using iTunes for managing the media across all your iOS devices, you’ve probably been irritated due to the fact that the software starts syncing media immediately after you connect the device to your computer. Well, we’ve all been there, and it takes a whole lot of time to complete, especially if you have plenty of content. Most of us prefer to do the syncing process at our discretion rather than letting iTunes do it for us automatically. However, there’s a way to disable this Auto-Sync feature in iTunes. Once it’s done, you just have to click on the Sync button to manually transfer content at your will. Well, if you’re keen on disabling this feature, let’s take a look at how to turn off auto sync in iTunes:

Turning Off Auto Sync in iTunes

Note : I’ve managed to disable auto sync in the latest stable version of iTunes for Windows (12.6.2) to prevent my iPhone 7 Plus from automatically transferring and receiving content. Even if you’re using iTunes on Mac, the procedure is pretty much the same for both the operating systems.

  • Once you’ve connected your iOS device, you’ll notice a device icon right below the top menu on iTunes. Simply click on the device icon and move on to the next menu.
  • Here, under the options section located on the right pane, un-check the box right next to “Automatically sync when this iPhone (or iPod or iPad) is connected”. Now, click on “Done” located at the top-right corner to save your settings. If you want to manually sync your iTunes, you can easily do that by clicking the Sync button right next to it.

How to stop itunes from automatically syncing with an ios device

  • Now head over to Edit -> Preferences located in the top menu, to disable the auto sync feature. You can also use the shortcut key “Ctrl + ,” to easily get into iTunes preferences.
  • Now, a tiny window will pop-up on your screen that displays all the iTunes preferences that you can customize. Here, go to the Devices section andcheck the box right next to “Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically”. When you’re done with this, simply click on OK to save your preferences.

How to stop itunes from automatically syncing with an ios device

Well, that’s pretty much all you got to do, in order to stop iTunes from automatically syncing your media across all your iOS devices.

Disable iTunes Auto Sync With Ease

If you were a person like me who always used to get irritated whenever iTunes started the syncing process as soon as the device was connected to a computer for some other reason, we’re glad that we could help you get out of such a situation. Sure, some of you might enjoy using this feature that keeps everything updated by just connecting to your device, but personally, I’d like to do this at my own will. Well, have you guys successfully managed to disable auto sync in iTunes? Do let us know, in the comments section down below.

How to stop itunes from automatically syncing with an ios device

Sometimes you want to plug your iPhone, iPad, or iPod into your Mac to let it charge up without beginning a syncing cycle inside of iTunes. However, iTunes tends to incessantly ask you to sync, and continually tries to sync while the device is connected. This can especially be annoying when friends want to juice up, and you have no intention of syncing with their iOS device. Fortunately, by using these simple tips, you can always be a click away from ejecting the connected iOS device.

Prevent Syncing

You know what they say: prevention is the best medicine. And, well, there’s no actual medicine here, but you can certainly prevent iTunes from attempting to sync with your iOS devices before you ever plug them in. To do so, open up iTunes, select Preferences from the iTunes drop-down menu, and choose the Devices tab. Now, check the box to prevent iPods, iPhones and iPads from automatically syncing.

Ejecting via iTunes

But what if you do want your iOS device to automatically sync with iTunes most of the time and thus don’t want to disable that feature in Preferences? In that case, on the occassions when you don’t want to sync, you’ll want to simply eject the device so that syncing isn’t an option.

To eject an iOS device from iTunes, follow these simple steps:

1. From within iTunes, select your device from the iTunes section tab.

2. Click the triangular Eject button from the device information view.

Ejecting via the Dock

iTunes also includes a shortcut to eject connected devices right from the Dock. To do so, simply right-click or click and hold on the iTunes icon in the Dock while iTunes is running; you’ll see “Eject [Device Name]” in the list of options. Click the Eject option, and after a few seconds, iTunes will eject the device from your Mac, allowing it to keep charging, but will no longer bug you about syncing.

After performing either of these methods to eject the device, the device will continue to power itself from your Mac. However, iTunes will no longer bug you about syncing.

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How to stop itunes from automatically syncing with an ios device

Sometimes you want to plug your iPhone, iPad, or iPod into your Mac to let it charge up without beginning a syncing cycle inside of iTunes. However, iTunes tends to incessantly ask you to sync, and continually tries to sync while the device is connected. This can especially be annoying when friends want to juice up, and you have no intention of syncing with their iOS device. Fortunately, by using these simple tips, you can always be a click away from ejecting the connected iOS device.

Prevent Syncing

You know what they say: prevention is the best medicine. And, well, there’s no actual medicine here, but you can certainly prevent iTunes from attempting to sync with your iOS devices before you ever plug them in. To do so, open up iTunes, select Preferences from the iTunes drop-down menu, and choose the Devices tab. Now, check the box to prevent iPods, iPhones and iPads from automatically syncing.

Ejecting via iTunes

But what if you do want your iOS device to automatically sync with iTunes most of the time and thus don’t want to disable that feature in Preferences? In that case, on the occassions when you don’t want to sync, you’ll want to simply eject the device so that syncing isn’t an option.

To eject an iOS device from iTunes, follow these simple steps:

1. From within iTunes, select your device from the iTunes section tab.

2. Click the triangular Eject button from the device information view.

Ejecting via the Dock

iTunes also includes a shortcut to eject connected devices right from the Dock. To do so, simply right-click or click and hold on the iTunes icon in the Dock while iTunes is running; you’ll see “Eject [Device Name]” in the list of options. Click the Eject option, and after a few seconds, iTunes will eject the device from your Mac, allowing it to keep charging, but will no longer bug you about syncing.

After performing either of these methods to eject the device, the device will continue to power itself from your Mac. However, iTunes will no longer bug you about syncing.

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If you’ve ever tried to plug your iPhone or iPod into a computer other than the one you normally sync your device with, you’ve probably encountered the message asking if you want to sync your device with the new computer. You rarely want to do this, considering it can cause your iPod or iPhone data to be deleted (I’ve encountered other strange changes to data even after saying no to the sync).

But sometimes you need to plug your device into another computer to charge its battery. In that circumstance, how do you prevent the warning or data mistakes?

Easy – disable auto-syncing. Here’s how:

1. Before you plug the iPhone or iPod into the computer, go to iTunes.

2. On a Mac, go to the iTunes menu -> Preferences -> Devices.
On a PC, go to Edit -> Settings -> Devices

3. In the pop up window, look for the icon or tab that says Devices. Choose it.

4. Just below the box, you’ll see a checkbox reading “Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically.

How to stop itunes from automatically syncing with an ios device

5. Check it and click OK at the bottom of the window.

Auto-sync is now turned off and you’re safe to plug your iPod or iPhone into the computer.

is it possible to have the iphone not sync as soon i plug it in (if itunes is open)?

nyfliiboy

macrumors regular
  • Aug 26, 2010
  • #2

Corndog5595

macrumors 65816
  • Aug 26, 2010
  • #3

iTunes Closed When Plugging In
Open up iTunes and plug in your device. Go to your device in the sidebar. Under the Summary tab, scroll down and uncheck “Open iTunes when this iPod is connected.”

iTunes Open When Plugging In
"Dear valued customer;
Screw you

With love and magic,
Steve Jobs”

Edit: just check “Prevent iPods, . from syncing automatically"

bobright

macrumors 601
  • Aug 26, 2010
  • #4

JediMeister

macrumors 68040
  • Aug 26, 2010
  • #5

Careful with this, this could come back to bite you later because I believe this will also prevent the iPod from backing up unless you tell it to do so. Each time an iPod touch/iPhone syncs with a computer it will make a backup, which consists of the following:

Address Book and Address Book favorites.
App Store Application data (except the Application itself, its tmp and Caches folder).
Application settings, preferences, and data.
Autofill for webpages.
CalDAV and subscribed calendar accounts.
Calendar accounts.
Calendar events.
Call history.
Camera Roll (Photos, screenshots, images saved, and videos taken. Videos greater than 2 GB are backed up with iOS 4.0 and later.)
Note: For devices without a camera, Camera Roll is called Saved Photos.
In-app purchases.
Keychain (this includes email account passwords, Wi-Fi passwords, and passwords you enter into websites and some other applications. If you encrypt the backup with iOS 4 and later, the keychain information is transferred to the new device. With an unencrypted backup, the keychain can only be restored to the same iPhone or iPod touch. If you are restoring to a new device with an unencrypted backup, you will need to enter these passwords again.)
List of External Sync Sources (Mobile Me, Exchange ActiveSync).
Location service preferences for apps and websites you have allowed to use your location.
Mail accounts.
Managed Configurations/Profiles. When restoring a backup to a different device, all settings related to the configuration profiles will not be restored (accounts, restrictions, or anything else that can be specified through a configuration profile). Note that accounts and settings that are not associated with a configuration profile will still be restored.
Map bookmarks, recent searches, and the current location displayed in Maps.
Microsoft Exchange account configurations.
Network settings (saved wifi spots, VPN settings, network preferences).
Nike + iPod saved workouts and settings.
Notes.
Offline web application cache/database.
Paired Bluetooth devices (which can only be used if restored to the same phone that did the backup).
Safari bookmarks, cookies, history, offline data, and currently open pages.
Saved suggestion corrections (these are saved automatically as you reject suggested corrections).
SMS and MMS (pictures and video) messages.
Trusted hosts that have certificates that cannot be verified.
Voice memos.
Voicemail token (This is not the Voicemail password, but is used for validation when connecting. This is only restored to a phone with the same phone number on the SIM card).
Wallpapers.
Web clips.
YouTube bookmarks and history.

Sorry for the wall of text but I wanted to showcase how important it is to backup your iPod touch/iPhone even if you choose not to sync every time you connect it through iTunes. You can force a manual backup by right-clicking on the iPhone name under Devices and selecting "Back Up" from the context menu.

How to stop itunes from automatically syncing with an ios device

Updated 5/31/2015: By default, iTunes will automatically launch when any compatible device is connected, be it an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Nano, whatever.

Having iTunes open itself automatically can be helpful but it can also be annoying, it really depends on your user preferences. If you don’t want this to happen, you can easily turn off the automatic open feature within iTunes with a simple settings adjustment.

How to Stop iTunes Opening Automatically When iPhone, iPad, iPod Connects to Computer

This setting is the same in iTunes for Mac OS X and iTunes for Windows, and it applies to all iOS devices and versions too.

  1. Connect the iPhone, iPad, iPod device to the computer
  2. Inside iTunes, click on the device and then click on the ‘Summary’ tab
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the Summary tab selections until you see “Options”
  4. Click on the checkbox next to ‘Open iTunes when this iPhone is connected’ – wording will be slightly different if your device is an iPad or iPod or whatever
  5. Close iTunes

The setting may look slightly different in each version of iTunes, here in newer versions the setting is about device automatic syncing on connection:

How to stop itunes from automatically syncing with an ios device

How to stop itunes from automatically syncing with an ios device

For example, here the setting is labeled as: “Open iTunes when this iPhone is connected”

Now iTunes will not automatically open if you plug your iPhone, iPad, or iPod to your computer. This works the same on a Mac or a PC.

Note that disabling automatic syncing is a separate function which can be turned off elsewhere in iTunes preferences.

This works in all versions of iTunes and for both Mac OS X and Windows. You may find the interface to look slightly different and the phrase to be worded slightly differently, but the setting is always there in iTunes Summary Options for a connected device.

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39 Comments

I have to say; what moron designs these function? I always use this but around 2000 in the Bay Area the station I listened to had an interview with a man in his 80’s(?). He had been involved in everything software over the decades, WW2 radar computers, nasa, Internet and on and on. He was totally, even back then, contemptuous of Gates, Jobs and all the rest with their crummy software (I use the names he used). He said the basic idea of form before function was being thrown out because you have a bunch of idiot savants designing this junk who are endlessly fascinated with all the minutia of program design and all the rest but are to stupid to realize that 90% of people don’t give a rats ass about how clever you’ve been by having 19 different ways to access your little creation but only one is the on/off switch. They want to be users of technology, not co-code writers! I’m afraid it’s too late now from the sense I get from young people. They accept stupid flaws like the above or the latest Apple 9.3 virus because they’ve never known any different.
He said “I have a really nice care car outside, when I want to run to the store do I care about how the injectors work? Do I care how the power asks sit brakes work? No. I just want to get my milk and go home….idiot savants, love it.

thanks to this page, this annoying itunes app, no longer comes up!

i m start the iphone then go to logo and not next feature start plz tell me how problem

[…] for iPhoto located in Image Capture? Who knows, and it’s fairly confusing considering that to stop iTunes from opening automatically you adjust a setting within iTunes, so most users would think to look in iPhoto to change the same type of setting. Nope, not so […]

This no longer works in iTunes 11. There’s no way to “select the device”, or it’s hidden ridiculously well.

You can still select the devices in iTunes 11 the same way as before by showing the sidebar (check the View menu) or by selecting the device from the upper right corner if it’s connected to the computer. Here are some tips to make iTunes 11 look familiar again: https://osxdaily.com/2012/11/29/5-tips-make-itunes-look-normal/

Yeah, but what if f’n iTunes launches every time I pull my (iPhone) headphone jack OUT of my Macbook Pro.

It looks like I’ve solved this on my machine. This may be of some help, check it out:

Um there is no summary tab after I click on device. So what am I supposed to do now?

This option is greyed out for me and I can’t toggle it – anyone know why? It appears to be unchecked but iTunes does still open every time I plug my iPad in.

Since Oct 2011, update ITunes kept automatically opening for me as well. It seems to have stopped since I unchecked the Wi-Fi option under Summary.
Jerry