7 Best Ways to Fix iPhone Stuck on Preparing to Sync

iTunes allows you to sync movies, music, and other content to your Mac and iPhone, so you can access them seamlessly. 

However, it can be annoying when you get stuck during the syncing process. 

In this guide, I’ll show you some workarounds to try if your iPhone is stuck on preparing to sync. 

Let’s begin!

1. Check Your Connections

Ensure a stable connection when syncing your Mac and iPhone, either wired or wirelessly. If syncing fails, inspect your connection.

For USB connections:

  • Examine the cables for damage.
  • Try an alternate cable, if possible.
  • Use a different USB port on your Mac or PC.
  • For quicker transfers, connect to a USB 3.0 or 3.1 port.

For wireless syncing, verify that both devices are on the same network.

Related: How to Connect iPhone to MacBook Without USB

2. Unplug iPhone During Sync

A widely confirmed workaround by numerous users involves a simple step: unplugging your iPhone mid-sync.

Follow these steps:

  1. Launch iTunes on your computer.
  2. Connect your iPhone via a USB cable.
  3. Begin syncing and pause at Step 2, ‘Preparing to sync’.
iphone stuck on preparing to sync
  1. If it stalls, unplug your iPhone.
  2. Wait for 2-3 seconds.
  3. Reconnect your iPhone and initiate the sync once more.

Related: How to Fix Secure Link to iTunes Store Failed Error 

3. Close MDCrashReportTool

Many users report that the MDCrashReportTool process interferes with the syncing process.

If your iPhone consistently gets stuck on ‘preparing to sync’, try closing the MDCrashReportTool process during sync.

Follow these steps:

  1. Press Command + Space to open Spotlight Search.
  2. Search for and open Activity Monitor.
Activity Monitor
  1. In the top right corner, search for MDCrashReportTool.
  2. Select the process and click the X at the top of the window.
  3. Confirm by clicking ‘Force Quit‘ in the dialog box.
iphone stuck on preparing to sync

Afterward, attempt to sync again to see if the issue is resolved.

Related: How to Fix Unable to Sync iPhone or iPad With macOS Catalina

4. Rename MDCrashReportTool (Windows PC)

Another way to fix this issue is to rename the MDCrashReportTool. 

This way, you don’t have to keep closing the tool every time you sync your iPhone with your Mac. 

Follow the steps below to rename the tool: 

  1. Press CTRL + SHIFT+ ESC on your keyboard to open Task Manager
  2. Under Processes, click on iTunes
  3. Right-click on MDCrashReportTool and choose Open File Location
  4. Rename the tool to “MDCrashReportTool.exe-orig”. 
Windows Task Manager

Related: How to Fix High CPU Usage By Antimalware Service Executable on Windows 10/11

5.  Enable ‘Allow Others to Join’ on Personal Hotspot

Some users have found that enabling the ‘Allow Others to Join’ option for the personal hotspot can resolve syncing issues.

If your iPhone continues to get stuck on ‘preparing to sync’, adjusting your hotspot settings might help.

To do this:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Navigate to Cellular > Personal Hotspot or directly to Settings > Personal Hotspot.
  3. Turn on the ‘Allow Others to Join‘ option. 
Hotspot Allow Others to Join

Then, connect your iPhone to your Mac and try syncing again.

Related: iPhone Hotspot Keeps Getting Disconnected? Here’s the Fix!

6. Update iTunes

As this issue appears to be software-related, Apple may have addressed it in recent updates.

To update iTunes, follow these steps:

  1. Launch iTunes on your computer.
  2. Click Help on the menu bar.
  3. Choose Check for Updates.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the update process.
Update iTunes

Related: How to Fix Hotspot Not Showing Up on Other Devices on iPhone

7. Update iPhone

After updating iTunes, it’s best to update your iPhone as well to ensure software compatibility. 

Follow the guide below to update your iPhone: 

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone.
  2. Go to General > Software Update.
  3. If there’s an update available, tap Download and Install.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the update.
iphone stuck on preparing to sync

Important Notes

  • The update process may restart your iPhone several times.
  • Ensure your iPhone has at least 50% charge, or keep it connected to a charger during the update.
  • Major updates (e.g., from iOS 15 to iOS 16) could take about 15 minutes.

To set up automatic updates: 

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Navigate to General > Software Update > Automatic Updates
  3. Turn on Download iOS Updates and Install iOS Updates.
iphone stuck on preparing to sync

Related: How to Fix iPhone Stuck on Preparing Update


Why is my iPhone taking so long to sync?

Several factors can slow down your iPhone’s sync, such as unstable connections, incorrect settings, and software glitches. Often, the main issue is the MDCrashReportTool restarting the backup each time you sync.

Why is my iPhone update stuck on preparing?

An iPhone stuck on ‘Preparing to update’ may be due to limited storage, a corrupt update file, or a sluggish internet connection. Ensure your iPhone has at least 5GB of free space and is charged to at least 60% before updating.

How long does it take to sync an iPhone?

The sync time for an iPhone varies. Factors influencing duration include the quality of the connection, available storage, and the amount of data. Typically, it takes between 45 minutes to an hour using official Apple methods.

Why am I stuck on preparing to copy items to iTunes?

This problem is often related to software. Ensure your iPhone and iTunes are both updated:

  1. Open iTunes on your computer.
  2. Click Help on the menu bar.
  3. Select Check for Updates.
  4. Follow the prompts if an update is available.

If this guide helped you, please share it. 


  • John Sixto

    John is a staff writer at Saint and comes from a SAP ABAP development background. He has a Bachelors in IT and has been writing since 2018, with over 500 posts published. He loves to build PCs and has a deep curiosity in understanding how different components and configurations work. John spends hundreds of hours at a time, researching and testing the software and apps, before he proceeds to write about it. LinkedIn X (Twitter)

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