iPhone on Windows 10: “Device is unreachable” SOLVED

You have connected your iOS device (e.g. iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) with the lightening cable and are ready to copy photos and videos that you took on your device to your Windows 10 computer. However, upon opening Windows Explorer and pasting the files to your designated location, you receive the following error:

Device is unreachable.

To solve this error when copying files from your iPhone or other device to your PC/computer running Windows 10, here are steps to follow:

  1. Disconnect your iPhone/iPad from your computer
  2. Go to Settings on your iOS device
  3. Open Photos and scroll to the bottom
  4. Under ‘Transfer to Mac or PC’, chang efrom Automatic to Keep Originals (“Automatically transfer photos and videos in a compatible format, or always transfer the original file without checking for compatibility.”)

Now connect again the device to the Windows 10 computer and copy/paste the files again; it should work fine now!

iPhone connected to Windows 10 computer. iTunes is not a necessity to be installed when copying files from one to the other.


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154 thoughts on “iPhone on Windows 10: “Device is unreachable” SOLVED

  1. Wauw, eindelijk een oplossing!!!! Super bedankt 👍🏼!! Alleen nog een vraagje, er zijn foto’s / video’s overgezet die ik niet kan openen…. Enig idee hoe ik dat kan oplossen?

  2. So it worked for the first batch of files, but now I’m receiving the “device unreachable” error again, without any change to the setting.

  3. Didn’t do a thing for me on my iPhone 11. Quite annoying. Found this “Fix” on multiple sites when trying to search for the solution, but nothing has helped.

    I was always an Android user and have loved my switch so far… but this is the biggest complaint at this point.

  4. Excellent Solution, Thomas! I suspected something along these lines, when I noticed I had trouble with mostly the mov files.

    It always amazes me how a company’s tech support know so much less than an external expert.

    1. Hello Yiren
      Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog!
      Indeed, this is in essence a quick fix, but the resolution itself it not very known by even the Apple support staff.
      Best regards, Thomas

      1. When I do this, all the photos come over with *.HEIC extension and my computer can’t read them. What am I doing wrong? Why does everyone else love this solution but it is a total fail for me?

        1. Hi Maren
          The HEIC extension is a specific extension used on Apple mobile devices. It is a format that uses a small amount of space (relatively), while maintaining a high quality image.
          Consequently, on a Mac you can open this extension just fine. On Windows, you could install a program that allows to view/open this type of files, or use a converter software to convert these pictures to PNG or JPEG for example.
          Hope this helps!
          Best regards, Thomas

  5. Thanks so much. I was so frustrated with photo imports bombing out and you just saved me a lot of duplicate effort (and duplicated photos on my PC!)

  6. Thank you vey much…yes you made my day, especially if I compare Your description being to the point with apple or microsoft support pages.

  7. This worked to an extent but then it copied the photos to my PC as a .HEIC file which windows cannot read which created a whole new problem. :-/

    1. My windows 10 reads all the files fine, and displays them fine. You should be able to right click file, “open With” …….and i still prefer Windows Media Player…..

  8. Thanks, not it works but: files heic and mov generated by iPhone are not read by Windows.
    The “automatic” setting converts them respectively in jpg and mp4.
    Have you a solutions also for this? I mean a “copy process” that also converts format for not having to use additional converter.

    Thanks again

    1. I just found a solution thank God!

      1. Keep ‘Automatic’ Checked in you IPhone Photos settings.

      2.Connect your IPhone to the PC with a USB cord.

      3. On your PC, open a File Explorer window.

      4. On the left side of the window, under ‘This PC’ find the ‘Apple Iphone’ icon.

      5. Right click on the icon to see a menu.

      6. On the menu it should say “Import Pictures and Videos”

      7. Follow the prompts. In the end the photos should be imported as jpgs with no hassle.

      *Note: at the bottom of the first page of the prompting window you will see “more options”. There you can make sure the photos are not automatically deleted from your phone as you upload them to your PC)

      Hope this works for you


        1. I tried SEVERAL solutions I found online – including the one suggested by AJHSD, none of them worked, but your solution did, thank you very much for your informative blog

      1. Hi, I’m having the same trouble wanting to transfer so that I have jpeg and mp4 files so want to keep the “automatic” in my settings. I have just tried to do what you suggested and thought it was working but after a while I then get the message “The following error occurred while importing. The device is unreachable.” Don’t suppose you have any more ideas do you? Thanks

  9. thank you sooooooooo much. ive been searching the web for 5 days trying to figure out why my computer wont detect the kind of format even though it was a .MOV file. you have made my day. thank you so much

  10. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent trying to get the damn videos off my wife’s phone. This worked like a charm!

  11. It does not work for me. In addition to changing the settings from Automatic to Keep Originals, I changed the Auto-Lock feature to Never (if you keep it 1 minute or any other short time, the computer will stop recognizing the device once the screen goes dark). Anyway, it did not work at all, getting the same message. To me it is absolutely ridiculous that Apple has not fixed this problem yet.

  12. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS!!!!!!! Being a teacher at this time and not being able to transfer the videos for virtual teaching was driving me insane! THANK YOU!

  13. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! Saved me the headache of sifting through 4 years of dog pics and selfies lol…and now I’ve backed them all up to my external hard drive!

  14. Wow you saved me from so much frustration !
    I dont know why it gets into this situation but your solution allowed me to download my photos again.

  15. Very many thanks. Had hours of wasted time trying to transfer my photos before searching to see if anyone else has had the same problem. Very relieved to find your solution, which works perfectly and saved many more hours of frustration.

  16. I’ve been dealing with this issue for last 4 years, I ended up on not doing backup on my videos :c, I was even thinking on buying a mac to get rid of the issue hahah. You saved my life. Thank you so much!

  17. OMFG THANK YOU!!!!
    This worked perfectly AND cut the file sizes in half AND made the transfer WAY faster (not counting the fact it wouldn’t finish before)
    I can finally back up all my photos/videos to my local computer.

  18. Thank you for rescuing me from the hell of ‘consumer-friendly’ software with dumbed-down interfaces, innocuous-looking but apparently critical toggles, and no useful support from either Apple or Microsoft! I can now do what should have been easy all along, after already trying: trial and error, hoping and praying, attempting to re-install iTunes, attempting to find Windows drivers, updating the OS on every device, multiple re-boots, logging out of my Apple profile…

    Brilliant, simple, satisfying.

  19. Thank you. Fortunately a simple Google search found your simple solution to a problem that many people will say Fuck it and give up. You cannot believe how much I appreciate individuals such as you and what a relief you provide. MANY MANY THANKS!!!

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