How to Speed Up Your iPhone Syncs

iPhone syncs were never known to be speedy, but mine were getting ridiculous. I found that they were taking 3 to 4 hours to complete. I dreaded having to sync my iPhone whenever I wanted to add new media or just to update my information. I would start my syncs before going to bed so that they would finish sometime during the night and I wouldn’t be without my phone. I noticed that the backup that iTunes performs before each sync was taking forever to complete. 

I finally couldn’t stand it any longer. I did a Web search and found out what was going on with the sync process. Each time iTunes does a backup, one part of the process is to send crash reports and other information from your iPhone to Apple. Because Apple is being inundated with this information from iPhone users everywhere, you have to wait for the information to upload. This can take a substantial amount of time.

Master your iPhone in one minute a day:

Sign up to iPhone Life's Tip of the Day Newsletter and we'll send you a tip each day to save time and get the most out of your iPhone or iPad.

So how do you remedy this situation? Here are the directions that I followed. I found these on the Mac Rumors forum and were posted by Phaserfuzz. They have worked for me. My syncs now usually take under 10 minutes unless I’ve made a lot of changes to my phone.

“Plug your iPhone in so it shows up under "devices" on the left side of iTunes. If it starts to sync stop it right away by clicking the x (top middle of iTunes). Then go to devices click your iphone so the middle window displays the iphone info and uncheck the "automatically sync when this iphone is connected". You'll find it under the summary tab of your iphone if you're not already there.

Then unplug and re-plug your phone back in.

When the phone shows up under devices, right click on it and a context menu will pop up. Go to the bottom of this list and select "reset warnings"

Now click sync and a warning window will pop up which probably flew by the first time you set up your phone. It is the source of your backup woes. It is the one saying apple would like to get your crash reports. Also, it will have been checked by default "don't show this warning again" which is why you never got a chance to undo this setting.

UNCHECK the “Do not ask me again”; you want to see this warning window every time you plug your phone in because you'll always want to click "DO NOT ALLOW." If you want to see why the backup takes so long, click the button that says to show you the reports. I'll bet if your backups are taking a long time, this folder is just chock full of crash reports. Go ahead and empty it.

Now every time you plug your phone in, just keep selecting DO NOT SEND THE INFO TO APPLE. (Please note that the window will only show up if there are crash reports to be sent, so if you empty the crash report folder above, you won't see the warning window again until a new report is generated.) I'll bet your backups go a lot faster from now on.

Also note, if you have a load of new apps that you installed since your last sync, the next backup will, indeed, take several minutes since this is all new data. Remember iTunes does a backup first then an install in case any of the new apps cause a major problem. This way you'll have a backup from before you installed them. For example, if you sync now and you get a 90 second backup, but then you install Brain Challenge (an almost 100 meg. app), your next backup will probably go up to 5 or 10 minutes since none of this is in the last backup. But that's still a far cry less than what many of you have been experiencing.”

I really have to thank Phaserfuzz. This little trick solved my problem. I hope it helps anyone out there with the same issue.

Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.

I am a former teacher who has always loved anything to do with tech. I currently tweet, blog and copy edit for iPhone Life magazine.