Why Can’t I Connect My Phone or Tablet to My PC?

By connecting a gadget to your computer via USB or Bluetooth, you can transfer data from one device to another. But what if Windows or macOS does not recognise the connected device?

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Why doesn’t my computer recognise the device?

Among the possible causes – incorrect actions when connecting, outdated or incorrectly configured software, malfunctions of USB cables, ports or the devices themselves.

Follow the tips below, they can save you from a lot of problems when you connect.


How to properly connect your Android device to your computer via USB

If you are using Windows, ignore this paragraph. If you are using macOS, install Android File Transfer.

Make sure that the mobile device is turned on and connect it to the computer. Then open the notification panel on the gadget – you will see a special switch. Click on it and select the “Transfer Files” mode in the menu that appears. The names of the modes may vary depending on the version of Android and the model of the device.

After these actions, the computer should see the mobile device. On Windows, it will be displayed in the “Explorer”, on macOS – in the Android File Transfer window. But in the case of Mac you will need OS X 10.5 and Android 3.0 or later versions of these OSs, otherwise it will not work.

How to properly connect your iOS device to your computer via USB

Make sure that the mobile device is turned on and unlocked, then connect it to the computer. The first time iOS requests permission to access media files and you will need to grant it.

In the case of a Windows PC, the connected iPhone or iPad will appear in the “Explorer” in the media devices section. They will be displayed as ordinary digital cameras – you can view and copy photos and videos. To access other data, you will have to use iTunes, which can be downloaded from the Apple website. The registration procedure will not cause any difficulties, you just need to follow the prompts of the setup wizard.

On Mac, everything is a bit simpler. iTunes is already a part of macOS, so it will start automatically when you connect iPhone or iPad. Interaction with content is carried out through the app, yet iTunes is not needed to access media files. The standard “Photos” application will let you view and import them, as it also starts automatically when you connect iOS devices.

What to do if the computer does not see the USB device

We will assume that you did everything according to the instructions above. If the computer still does not recognize the tablet or smartphone, follow these steps in order.

  1. Disconnect unnecessary USB devices from the computer.
  1. Try connecting via another cable or port.
  1. Restart the computer and the mobile device.
  1. If you have Windows, update the driver required to recognize the USB device.

Run the command line (Windows + R keys), insert devmgmt.msc into it and press Enter. When the Device Manager opens, locate the connected gadget in the list of hardware.

Click on the device with the right mouse button and select “Update driver” → “Search for drivers on this computer” → “Select driver from the list of available drivers on the computer”.

In the list of drivers, mark the “USB MTP device” and click next to perform the reinstallation.

  1. If the device does not appear in iTunes, use the Apple manual to resolve this issue.
  1. Update the operating systems on your computer and mobile device to the current version. If you are using Windows Vista or XP, first try installing the MTP protocol by downloading it from the Microsoft website.
  1. Check whether the USB port in the gadget is functioning by connecting it to another computer. If the problem persists, contact the manufacturer’s support service.

What to do if the computer does not see a device connected via Bluetooth

Try the following solutions if you’re experiencing problems with connecting your device via bluetooth. Try them one by one, and perhaps one of them will help you.

  1. Ensure that both devices have Bluetooth enabled, and in the settings on each of them, visibility is enabled for all other devices. On iOS, these settings are included in the AirDrop service available in the management panel.
  1. Place the tablet or smartphone closer to the computer.
  1. Restart your computer and mobile device.
  1. If the devices have successfully connected to each other before, delete the saved pair in the Bluetooth settings and try reconnecting.
  1. Update the Bluetooth drivers on the computer.
  1. Update the devices’ operating systems to the current version.

Alternative methods of connection

You always have a backup option – the services with which you can transfer files between your computer and your mobile device via the Internet. This are AirDroid, Pushbullet, as well as cloud storage like Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox. They will allow you to do without Bluetooth and USB, if these options do not work or do not fit.

Experiencing problems with connectivity on your computer? Contact your trusty computer specialists in Logan for computer help.

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