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Overcoming iTunes sync issues in Windows 7

I just discovered how to overcome a strange iPad/iPhone sync issue using Windows 7 and iTunes. Since it took a bit of digging I thought I’d share to this tip to help some Google searcher in the future.

The Error

  • "iTunes was unable to load data class information from sync services"
  • "iTunes was unable to load provider data from sync services"

My specific error was the second on but apparently these are identical messages written in a different way. Is Apple taking error message tips from Microsoft these days?

The other symptom of this error is that iTunes was unable to sync “Info” services to my iPad. Not usually a big deal since my contacts and calendars are in the cloud but I really needed to sync bookmarks with safari.

Apple says that support article TS2690 is the fix. Balderdash.

According to my searching this is not an uncommon issue with Windows 7. Here is the real fix.

The Solution

  1. Unplug iPhone and close iTunes
  2. Open task manager and kill the process SyncServer (for good measure kill any “Apple” process)
  3. Browse to “C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\AppleComputer” and rename the SyncServices folder to SyncServices_Old
  4. Reconnect iPhone and open iTunes.
  5. Rejoice and Repent of all curses on iTunes for Windows developers. [optional]

For completeness I’m using:

  • iTunes Version: 10.4.1.10
  • iOS Version: 4.3.5
  • Desktop OS: Win7 64 Ultimate

A Closing Gripe

“I’m a PC” and also a fan of Apple’s iPhone and iPad, that said, iTunes for Windows is the buggiest and slowest piece of software I’ve ever run on my computer.

It may well be a panacea on the Mac but since this is the only piece of Apple software I run it leaves a very poor taste in my mouth and a lack of confidence in developers. Ask me how I became an semi-expert on iTunes libraries… ugh.

{ 93 comments… add one }

  • Keith August 26, 2012, 9:54 pm

    Nah, But glad it helped.

    Sent via iPhone

  • David Colwell September 10, 2012, 4:43 am

    You are a legend! been having this problem with Itunes for soooo long now

  • Keith September 10, 2012, 9:40 am

    Ha. Thanks man. Glad it helped. Have a wonderful day.

  • Dan Solis September 18, 2012, 1:53 am

    Thank you, after viewing many posts i was getting hopeless until this. THANK YOU!!!!

  • Keith September 18, 2012, 9:09 am

    My pleasure. Glad I could help you find the answer.

  • Bill September 22, 2012, 4:41 pm

    had same problem with iphone 5 and iOS 6. Worked like a charm. Never would have figured out that fix in a million years

  • Keith September 22, 2012, 9:06 pm

    Well I’m glad to know this helped. Discouraged to see the problem still exists in later versions.

    Thanks for the update.

  • Jared October 6, 2012, 6:07 pm

    Thank you my good sir ! this was the simplest and easiest fix I found on google !

  • Keith October 6, 2012, 6:45 pm

    Thanks for saying so. I like to share easy solutions. Glad you found it helpful.

  • Robert October 13, 2012, 4:29 pm

    VERY nice and simple….thanks Keith!!

  • Keith October 14, 2012, 9:07 am

    You’re welcome.

  • Ann Jean Duplois October 15, 2012, 3:07 am

    It won’t work on mine. :(

  • Lukas October 17, 2012, 8:52 am

    my
    it still displays the error window with sync services… iTunes 10.5.. :/

  • George October 22, 2012, 5:42 pm

    Help! I want to make my contacts in Yahoo the right ones and when I sync it overwrites the wrongs on my iphone. Yahoo still want to bring back to wrongs from my iphone into Yahoo.

  • Keith October 23, 2012, 9:14 am

    You’ll need to get your contacts all set up in Yahoo correctly and then sync. If you sync your iPhone with iCloud first then you can export contacts from iCloud into Yahoo. Then merge and correct as needed. Break the sync with iCloud to avoid duplicates and sync with Yahoo.

  • Tracey November 18, 2012, 5:41 pm

    Hello. I can get as far as the apple computer folder, but then my only choices are: Itues, Logs, Preferences, and SyncNotifier. I don’t have SyncServices. I tried your trick on the SynNotifier folder without any luck. Any other suggestions? Thank you :)

  • Troy Ryan November 28, 2012, 8:20 pm

    Worked great for me!! Thanks so much.

  • Keith November 29, 2012, 1:09 am

    Good to hear. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  • Marc Chapman December 13, 2012, 3:23 pm

    Awesome workaround/fix. Curious how it originated in the first place, but glad to get things back into working order. Kudos!

  • Keith December 13, 2012, 9:40 pm

    I’m curious as well. Glad the fix helped you Marc

  • Betsy January 4, 2013, 2:41 pm

    Thanks for the help! That is so frustrating.

  • Keith January 4, 2013, 2:45 pm

    Yes I agree. Glad it helped.

  • Missy February 4, 2013, 4:47 pm

    It Worked!!!! Thank you so much for your help!!

  • Keith February 7, 2013, 2:13 pm

    Glad to hear this still works. Thank you.

  • Nick March 25, 2013, 8:22 pm

    Worked perfect on my netbook with Windows 8!

  • Keith March 26, 2013, 9:06 am

    Glad to hear it. Thanks Nick

  • Sue March 30, 2013, 5:33 am

    Thank you! This was simple and effective…not like all those other things I’ve tried in the last week. A simple crash on the phone lead me down many dead ends, but thanks to this tip, I’m smiling again.

  • Keith March 30, 2013, 4:54 pm

    That makes me smile as well. Glad it helped.

  • kuyfg March 30, 2013, 7:35 pm

    Thankyou so much! Was having problem for iOS 6.1 on my iPhone 5!

  • Keith March 30, 2013, 9:58 pm

    My pleasure! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  • Tverdislav June 26, 2013, 1:16 am

    Thanks!!! You saved my day!!!

  • Keith June 26, 2013, 7:20 pm

    Glad to hear. Have a great day.

  • guest September 30, 2013, 2:45 am

    Wow! that worked. thank you so much

  • Keith September 30, 2013, 9:51 am

    You are most welcome

  • Broke Winger October 6, 2013, 5:21 pm

    Dude, you rock!!!! Been beating my head against the wall, bought 7 new cords thinking they were the problem.

    My iPhone 4 has a cracked screen due to this little glitch. Appl eneeds to learn to play well with others.

  • Jacob Kabii N December 15, 2013, 7:48 am

    Hey, my IPhone 4 is not synching with ITunes. I cant even see it visible in the iTunes display, but when I connect the windows recognizes the device. Please heeeeeelp!

  • Jim Slingo January 26, 2014, 2:35 pm

    Thanks ran into that problem today and used your “FIX” ….total success. Thanks so much.

  • Keith January 26, 2014, 10:03 pm

    Glad it helped.

  • Randy February 1, 2014, 6:41 pm

    I feel bad responding to a 2 year old thread but I just had to say thank you Keith. After hours of trying to get iTunes working again after the 11.1.4.62 Update, I stumbled upon this thread and tried your solution with immediate positive and joyous results. Apple should pay you a commission.

    Again, thank you!

  • Keith February 3, 2014, 3:13 pm

    I feel bad that a 2yr old thread is still needed to help people. I appreciate the comment. I’ll speak to Apple about the commission :)

  • J April 11, 2014, 12:47 am

    Thanks

    Version 11.1.5.5 still needs this kind of help.
    Bad Apple. No Forum, No Support Article helped.
    This did

  • Carlos Gil April 28, 2014, 9:56 am

    This should be number one on the Google results.

  • Sevrin Haggerty April 30, 2014, 9:52 pm

    Thank you so so so so so so so much this was really healpful

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