Apple iPhone won’t display in Vista’s Windows Explorer

Posted on Feb 26, 2014 in General  | No comments

A quick post that may help a few people whose iPhone has suddenly disappeared from Windows Explorer.  I use Vista Ultimate but I suggest this technique will work for XP and other Vista variants as well.  Normally the iPhone appears like a camera to Windows Vista (albeit with a cute iPhone icon) which allows access to the phone’s Camera Roll.

I went looking to pull the photos off my iPhone this morning only to discover that it wasn’t showing up in Windows Explorer as a device anymore.  Quite certain it worked at one point but what can you do.

The drivers that make the iPhone appear as a USB device are usbaapl.sys and usbaaplrc.dll.  If your installing you should look for usbaapl.inf which is in C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\Drivers. More about this later.

Connect your iPhone by USB, then open Windows Device Manager (right-click My Computer and select Manage). You may find your iPhone under “Universal Serial Bus Controllers”, where mine was, or possibly under “Portable Devices”.  At any rate if your phone can sync with iTunes it will be in there somewhere.  It should be called Apple Mobile Device USB Driver or something like that. When you find it, right-click and select “Uninstall” but don’t remove the files from the PC.  There’s nothing wrong with the files (probably) it’s just the device registration that has become cactus.

Once uninstalled disconnect the device and reconnect again.  After a minute you should see the device registered correctly, iTunes fires up and Windows Explorer shows your iPhone as a camera again.  Job done.

My driver files were already in WindowsSystem32 directory cause that’s where drivers go, but the original files that ship from Apple can usually be found at C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support.  If you deleted the files in the uninstall step when you shouldn’t have you can likely find them there, otherwise I would re-install iTunes cause I would guess they ship with the iTunes software though I can’t confirm that.