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6 Tips for When QuickTime Does Not Recognize Your iPhone

09/20/2016 05:16 pm ET
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As the built-in media player on Mac machines, QuickTime allows you to view or share videos with friends and family — which you do all the time, right? The app supports playing a wide range of video and audio file formats. Even better, you can also use QuickTime to record screen videos of your iPhone, iPad, or iTouch. Before this feature became available, recording an iPhone screen was extremely cumbersome: You'd have to jailbreak your iPhone, then use a third-party recording app. Now all you need is your iPhone, a Mac, and a lightning cable.

But, what if QuickTime doesn't recognize your iPhone after you connect it to a Mac — even if iTunes and Photos have no problem detecting your device? This can be disappointing and annoying. I encountered the issue a while ago when making tutorials for the Whova mobile app. Thankfully, that was a quick fix: switching the USB cable to the original Apple lightning cable.

If you are facing the same issue, here are six things you can do. The order is based on ease of implementation. If one does not fit your situation, or doesn't work, simply move on to the next.

Make Sure You "Trust" Your Mac

Every time you connect your iPhone or iPad to a Mac for the first time, a "Trust This computer?" alert will appear on your iOS device. It gives you two options: Trust, or Don't Trust. If you tap the later, no third-party apps, including QuickTime, can access your device. To change your settings, follow the instructions in this Apple guide, or simply unplug your iPhone, plug it back in, and touch "Trust" when the alert reappears.

Do Not Select "New Screen Recording"

Don't be fooled by the name! "New Screen Recording" is for recording activities on a Mac desktop, not an external device. Instead, select "New Movie Recording" if you want to record screen videos from your iPhone, or "New Audio Recording" to record audio. You can then click the downward-facing triangle icon next to the red record button. After that, select your iPhone name under the "Camera" and/or "Microphone" option to get started.

Use the Original Apple Lightning Cable

If you are using an old Apple 30-pin dock connector to connect your iPhone to a Mac, QuickTime won't recognize your device. I tried it, and after switching to the original Lightning cable, my iPhone 5 immediately showed up in QuickTime. Apple also states that you should use a Lightning port when you intend to record the screen of an iOS device. You should also be aware of counterfeit or uncertified Lightning connectors that are for sale available online. Not only might they cause connection issues, but they could damage your iOS device as well (see this Apple support article). Find the original lightning cable you got with your device, or borrow one from a friend who's also using an iPhone, then reconnect your device to your Mac.

Exit Resource-Conflict Apps

Some Apple users claim that closing third-party apps that access your iPhone device data resolved the Quicktime issue. My guess is that those apps could block QuickTime Player from accessing your iPhone when they are running. To resolve this, quit all other active apps including iTunes, Photos, etc. before connecting your iPhone. Hint: A simple click on the red "x" of an app windows won't close it out. Make sure you right-click those apps in Dock and hit "Quit".

Update your iPhone to iOS 8 or Later

Recording iPhone screen videos using QuickTime only works on devices running iOS 8 or later. If it's running iOS 7 or an earlier version, Quicktime won't detect your device. You'll need to update your iPhone to the latest iOS mobile operating system. To check what iOS version your iPhone is running, or to update to the latest iOS version, go to Settings > General > Software Update on your iPhone.

Upgrade your Mac to the Latest OS X

Your Mac must be running OS X Yosemite (10.10) or El Capitan (10.11) in order to perform iPhone screen recording. To check which OS X version is installed on your Mac, click the Apple logo on your desktop, select "About This Mac", and in a new window you'll see the info. Once you're there, click "Software Update." It'll show you whether there's a newer OS X available to download. If your Mac is running OS X Mavericks or earlier, go ahead and upgrade. After that, you should have no problem using QuickTime to record screen videos. Plus, your Mac will be safer and faster.

Conclusion

It's great to see Apple adding new features to QuickTime, especially being able to directly record iOS device screen videos without jailbreaking or downloading third party apps. However, it can be frustrating if Quicktime doesn't detect your device. Hopefully the above troubleshooting guide can help. Have you run into this problem? Let us know in the comments.

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