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%AppDataRoamingAppleComputer” 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.

108 responses to “Overcoming iTunes sync issues in Windows 7”

  1. Grateful says:

    Thanks so much!  How you ever figured this out, I can’t imagine.  Worked perfectly for me.  Thanks again!

  2. Rubbernuts says:

    This worked for me also.  Thanks for taking the time to post this, sometimes its difficult to parse through the bull- and the people who actually have real information to share.

  3. Miami Moor says:

    thanks

  4. Miami Moor says:

    Thanks

  5. Mpeace says:

    Thank you Thank you!

  6. David says:

    Thanks.

  7. Don says:

    It worked! Thanks!

  8. Gordo says:

    Apple has, by far, the best user interfaces and human engineering I’ve ever seen.  But it’s obvious that they didn’t have any budget left for software development.

  9. Antony Lo says:

    thanks! it works…now to find a solution to Error 3194 – unknown error! I was trying to get Snapseed for free – went into app store via iphone 4 and “purchased it” – it was supposed to be free but had a price tag of 5.99. Anyway, it hung halfway. Then i couldn’t sync or gain access to app store anymore. So i did the tinyumbrella thing which seems to have worked but then i can’t restore anymore…HELP!!!

  10. Keith says:

    Good to hear. Thanks

  11. Shannon says:

    God bless you, Good Sir! I’ve been looking for a solution for months and the Apple boards generally suggested drastic measures that just weren’t reasonable for as often as I found this to be a problem.

    One question – I was unable to locate the AppData file after ending the processes under Task Manager, so I couldn’t rename the file, as suggested.  It still worked when I turned iTunes back on, but does this mean that this issue could surface again in the future??

    • Keith says:

      You’ve probably checked this already but do you have the “show hidden files” selected? AppData is hidden by default

      • Lucy says:

        Where can I deselect ‘show hidden files’? I’m struggling on step 3, I can’t work out how to browse it in Windows Explorer either.

        • Keith says:

          Right click your start button and select explore. That opens windows explorer. To show hidden files… Open Folder Options by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Appearance and Personalization, and then clicking Folder Options. Click the View tab. Under Advanced settings, click Show hidden files, folders, and drives, and then click OK.

  12. janice dowdeswell says:

    Excellent! thank you – I was so disappointed, this happened the second time I synced my new Ipad but I am rapt to find such a quick fix!

  13. Jon Shaulis says:

    Thank you thank you thank you!!!! I was trying to upgrade my Ipad to iOS 5 and it was getting stuck on “Backing up…” After renaming the syncservice folder, everything is as it should be. 

    What’s wierd is that I did a full backup and sync last night and it still want’s to do another one. So much for trying to “prepare” for the new iOS release…

  14. clarkchen says:

    thank you for sharing, but it’s not working for me because I don’t have a folder called “SyncServices”, but “MobileSync”, so what should I doItunes 10.5 , iphone ios5

  15. Tim Wright says:

    You sir, are an absolute star!
    I just ran into this after upgrading to IOS 5 on my 3GS. Your solution worked perfectly.
    And yes, I totally agree, iTunes on Windows is a heinously buggy piece of crap and Apple should hang their heads in shame, or much better, get off their behinds and actual fix it.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you,

    Tim

  16. ALBsharah says:

    Haven’t tried this, and may not relate to my (many) issues with iTunes, iOS5, iPhone4, and iPad 2 syncing…but wanted to comment on the fact that while reading this short article I kept nodding my head.  Over, and over, and over.

    1)  “Is Apple taking error message tips from Microsoft these days?”  I’ve seen more cryptic, numeric, and nonsensical error messages from iTunes (since iOS 5 dropped) than I have in Windows (in the past 2 years).

    2)  “I’m a PC and also a fan of Apple’s iPhone and iPad”.  Yep.  Got myself an Apple TV also.  Love all of them, but can’t stand their OS or software, especially on Windows.

    3)  Yeah.  iTunes + PC != Good.  It hangs more than a monkey on a swing.

    I’ve heard that Microsoft software on a Mac is a disaster as well, but I hear it’s actually gotten a lot better in the last release.  Regardless, you would think that if they were trying to convert people to their OS they would make non-native OS software the best experience possible.  iTunes on Windows should be epic.

    Anyway, cheers…thanks for the rant-space.  *chuckle*

    • Keith says:

      My friend you get major bonus points for this phrase alone, “It hangs more than a monkey on a swing.” That’s pure poetry. I thoroughly enjoyed your comment.

  17. Fred says:

    HOORAY!

  18. disqus_fqWUbbBxAf says:

    THANK YOU SO &$*#($$# MUCH. YOU’RE A STAR.

  19. Jg says:

    That worked, finally…. Thank you!

  20. sydney says:

    thank you so much 😀 😀

  21. Josh says:

    Where do you browse it?

    • Keith says:

      Use Windows Explorer, right click start and select Explore.

      You might have to turn on “Show Hidden Files/Folders” to see the appdata folder

  22. satria says:

    thanks.. it works…

  23. It still didn’t work for me. I don’t understand what the problem is. I will try (unhappily) to uninstall and re install iTunes.

  24. ipaciti says:

    Halleluyah! It works!!!! I had this error bugging me for months!!
    Thankew thankew!!

  25. Many thanks! It worked! PS How did you work this out? Pretty finicky problem eh?

  26. Keith Bray says:

    I had the same problem with this “iTunes was unable to load data class information from sync services”, and the way I got over it was to restore my computer to an earlier time, and hay presto, it worked immeadiately

  27. den says:

    You, sir, are the best. Thank you thank you thank youuuu

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

  29. Dan Solis says:

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

  30. Bill says:

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

  31. Jared says:

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

  32. Robert says:

    VERY nice and simple….thanks Keith!!

  33. Ann Jean Duplois says:

    It won’t work on mine. 🙁

  34. Lukas says:

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

  35. George says:

    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 says:

      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.

  36. Tracey says:

    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 🙂

  37. Troy Ryan says:

    Worked great for me!! Thanks so much.

  38. Marc Chapman says:

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

  39. Betsy says:

    Thanks for the help! That is so frustrating.

  40. Missy says:

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

  41. Nick says:

    Worked perfect on my netbook with Windows 8!

  42. Sue says:

    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.

  43. kuyfg says:

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

  44. Tverdislav says:

    Thanks!!! You saved my day!!!

  45. guest says:

    Wow! that worked. thank you so much

  46. Broke Winger says:

    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.

  47. Jacob Kabii N says:

    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!

  48. Jim Slingo says:

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

  49. Randy says:

    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 says:

      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 🙂

  50. J says:

    Thanks

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

  51. Carlos Gil says:

    This should be number one on the Google results.

  52. Sevrin Haggerty says:

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

  53. Will says:

    Thanks Keith. You are a legend.
    Will

  54. J says:

    Can you help please, I can’t find where “C:Users%username%AppDataRoamingAppleComputer” is, I have tried browsing and also tried searching for parts of it using the search directory thing.

    Thanks

  55. Max says:

    Hi Keith, I can’t seem to locate “AppData” anywhere. Do you have any ideas?
    Thanks!

  56. David Abbbott says:

    Unfortunately I’m on iTunes 11.3.1.2, use an iPhone 5 running iOS 7.1.2 and have just received the error and the fix doesn’t work for me…gutted.

  57. Patrick M. Ryan says:

    Thanks. Your steps fixed the issue. Can’t believe that (1) Apple hasn’t fixed this yet and (2) their help docs are still wrong.

  58. Keith says:

    Hard to believe this is still an issue but I’m glad it helped.

  59. Max says:

    Thanks! Even though this post is 3 years old, this problem just happened to me today and the information here fixed it for me. Thanks again!

  60. Kurt Kemper says:

    Wow, it’s almost 2015 and this post just helped me get rid of this error! I did a lot of looking and this did the trick. Thank you!

  61. kaygee_goldcoast says:

    You are the man! Having tried hopelessly Apple’s answer multiple times, at last: someone who knows what’s going on and how to fix it! Thanks heaps.

  62. Armin Berndt says:

    Thank you. I had a sudden bookmark sync problem with itunes(Win8.1) ipad and ipod (iOS 9.2.1). Nothing helped. Then I tried your recipe (except: instead of SyncServer (not existing) I killed all Apple processes, then renamed, then restarted Win). Sync OK now.

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