My iPhone 5s is not visible in Windows Explorer

iPhone 5sThis one was a bit frustrating and I feel like hitting someone after the solution presented itself. So, I recently upgraded to the iPhone 5s from my iPhone 4s. Now, I wanted to move all my pictures and videos from my old iPhone to the new one, and one way to do that is to copy from the old one to the new one using the Windows Explorer. So, I went to do that, and fired up my Windows Explorer on Windows 8.1 (also recently upgraded).

I could see my old iPhone in the Explorer (from which I promptly copied all the photos/videos on my hard disk). Now when I plugged in the new phone, it couldn’t be seen. It would be available in iTunes, but not in Windows Explorer. I was frustrated to say the least. Online search mostly pointed me towards problems with USB drivers, or problems with Windows 8, or problems with USB ports. After several restarts, and testing this on every USB port on my desktop (there are like 8 of them), I knew that the problem must be something else, and I gave up for a while.

The next day, I plugged in the new iPhone on to the computer (I also use the USB cable from the computer to charge my phone), and what do you know – my computer recognized my new iPhone. So, what changed?

I will tell you what changed: I had taken a picture with the iPhone.

So, if your brand new iPhone is not showing up in Windows Explorer, take a picture. I think what happens is that since the only thing you can access is the photos folder from the Windows Explorer, when it is empty, the iPhone doesn’t show up to Windows as a camera device.

Well problem solved. If your iPhone 5s (or any other iPhone) is not showing up in Windows Explorer – before going crazy testing USB drivers, etc. please just take a photo with your iPhone camera. Also, BTW, it has to be a photo taken from that iPhone (I had some photos on the device which had synced through iCloud’s photo stream feature, and those don’t count).

I wish I had taken a picture yesterday instead of today.

3 thoughts on “My iPhone 5s is not visible in Windows Explorer”

  1. Well it turns out that my entire exercise was in vain anyway – while I can use the File Explorer to copy my photos folder from the device onto my PC – I can’t copy from my PC to the iPhone back.

    Eventually, I simply used iTunes to transfer the photos.

  2. Finally a solution that works. I read all these other blogs about updating drivers and ITunes but it was just an issue of not having taken a picture yet lol.

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