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Fixed: Unable to sync iPhone with Calendar/Contacts

Sometime after upgrading to iTunes 8.0.1 and OS X 10.5.5 (not sure when it started TBH), everytime I connected up my iPhone iTunes error’d with:

“iTunes cannot sync information with the iPhone “Macca’s iPhone” because syncing has been disabled on this computer. Do you want to enable syncing? (y/n)”

Weird, I thought.  I haven’t disabled anything.  I wondered if this was a problem with Office 2008 as last time I sync’d successfully all of my Exchange based calendar items were triplicated..  but that’s another story.

Anyway.  Clicking on Yes (to enable syncing) brought up another error:

“Syncing cannot be enabled on this computer”

So, lo and behold i’ve had out of date calendars and contacts for weeks.  Music, photos and video sync’ing was absolutely fine though.

When it happened again this morning, I tried to open iSync this morning and yet another error:

SyncServices: Can’t connect to the sync server:
NSInvalidRecievePortException: connection went invalid while waiting for a reply ((null))

Looks like something funny going on with the local sync configuration.

Fortunately, the fix was easy.  I renamed the Local sync folder to Local_bak.  iSync then created a new one automatically.  I can now sync without any problems at all.

  1. cd ~/Library/Application\ Support/SyncServices/
  2. mv Local Local_bak
  3. Start iSync.

46 Comments

  1. Kurt says:

    I have precisely this problem, with all these error messages…but I’m too stupid to understand your easy fix. Please describe EXACTLY where I go and what I do to “rename the Local sync folder to Local_bak.” In other words, what do you mean by “cd ~/Library/Application\ Support/SyncServices/” and “mv Local Local_bak”?

    Thanks!

  2. Macca says:

    Hi Kurt,

    They are commands to be run in Terminal.
    You can achieve the same results using Finder, it’s just that using Terminal is quicker.

    1. Open Finder.
    2. Navigate to the folder %Your Username%/Library/Application Support/SyncServices
    3. Click on the folder Local.
    4. Press Enter and change the folder name.
    5. Start iSync.

    Hope that helps.

    –ian

  3. Kurt says:

    Thanks, Ian…but when I get via Finder to my username, and then the Library folder, and then the SyncServices folder, there is no Local folder there — only a folder called Schemas.

    Again, sorry for my retardation, and thanks for your help.

    Kurt

  4. Macca says:

    No worries 🙂

    You need to go Username then Library, then Application Support, then SyncServices.
    You’ll see it in there.

    –ian

  5. Macca says:

    ps. I originally missed the application support folder from my reply..

  6. Kurt says:

    Works! Thanks so much.

    Kurt

  7. Jones says:

    Thanks so much!
    Everything works fine now 🙂

  8. Tadd Giles says:

    Big thanks! I’ve been annoyed with this problem for weeks and hadn’t found a solution. This worked first try. Thanks!

    Tadd

  9. Bobbie says:

    Genius! I’ve spent all evening trying to solve the same problem. As soon as I tried this remedy, it worked!! Many thanks.

  10. Fayid says:

    Thanks! I’ve had sync issues even with the iPhone and my macs. This worked. Thanks again.

  11. mattias says:

    Had exactly the same problem, thank you for the help!
    /Mattias

  12. Carl says:

    Thanks, it worked!
    -Carl

  13. Roger Ally says:

    This has been EXTREMELY HELPFUL!!!! Thank you so much.

  14. Russ says:

    Thanks Ian for the great instructions… Worked like a champ…

    1. Open Finder.
    2. Navigate to the folder %Your Username%/Library/Application Support/SyncServices
    3. Click on the folder Local.
    4. Press Enter and change the folder name.
    5. Start iSync.

    Hope that helps.

    –ian

  15. Glenn C says:

    Thanks Ian it solved my problem.

  16. jon adams says:

    You are a star! Well done…

  17. Radar says:

    Wauw super thx!! it worked perfect!
    i’m now a happy syncer! 😉

  18. VoidMain says:

    Thanks for this!

    This worked great, this problem is extremely irritating, thanks for this quick and easy fix! Now, just to understand what caused the problem in the first place…

  19. Kurtis says:

    I had the same exact problem… my calendar wasn’t syncing, and I thought it was because I’m syncing between multiple computers and MobileMe now… but no.

    Run the commands above in Terminal, reboot, and you’ll be syncing again in no time. Many thanks!

  20. […] is a slightly adapted fix taken from maccarocks.com. The difference being, iSync hanged when I tried to launch without […]

  21. Ed Carlevale says:

    Boy, a bunch of dead-end searches, then yours solved the problem in 1,2,3 easy steps. Thanks for taking the time to share your expertise.

  22. dale says:

    I’m having the “iTunes canot sync information with the iPhone…because syncing has been disabled on this computer.” problem on a PC running Windows Vista. When I click Yes to enable syncing, I get an error message: “iTunes was unable to load provider data from Sync Services. Reconnect or try again later.” I couldn’t find a folder to rename. Any ideas for a fix?

  23. Macca says:

    Sorry, I don’t use Vista so can’t help here.

    There is, however, a 7 page discussion on the Apple support site which has the same symptoms.
    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1595916&tstart=0

    Maybe have a look through that?

    //ian

  24. ih says:

    By the sound of it, I’m not in Kansas any more.
    I’m not in Windows XP either.
    I searched my system disk for a SyncServices folder but could not find one.
    I’m running Win XP on a PC (let’s not start any religous wars here :-)) and having the same problem. I also noticed that the iTunes process seems to be trashing (no real activity, just lots of page faults). My whole computer is so slow, it might be frozen.
    Yours looked like an easy fix. Any idea anybody how to reproduce it in Windows?
    Thanks & regards.

  25. ih says:

    Sorry guys, I didn’t wait for the search to complete. Actually there is a SyncServices\Local folder. I found it in:
    C:\Documents and Settings\’myusername’\Application Data\Apple Computer\SyncServices\Local
    I renamed it, and a new one was created. Unfortunately, this did not solve my problem. It actually made things worse. iTunes freezes completely as soon as I plug my iPhone into the cradle. I don’t even get to the ‘cannot sync’ any more.
    Any idea?
    Thanks again.

  26. Adrian Pere says:

    Macca I love you !! It works !

  27. Sree says:

    Saved my day. Went to apple store where the genius said he can’t solve it because my laptop was Windows. Was fearing a long call to tech support, before finding this page, thanks to Bing!

  28. Larry Cliff says:

    I have searched high n low for an answer to my iphone being completley empty of all contcts, music, etc since restoring!!! Nothing worked then something as simple as corrupt file, rename and a new one is installed by Itunes!!! FANTASTIC I tried restoring iphone, updating software, downgrading software, reinstalling Itunes, etc, etc ,etc – ITS IS SO SIMPLE AND IT WORKS – THANK YOU

  29. Greg says:

    THANK YOU for this. I’ve had to deal with this issue for about a year! I’ve taken it to the Apple Store and one of the Mac Geniuses insisted that I had a corrupted file in my iTunes library which was causing this problem. I’ve had to deal with this issue for way too long and thanks to this tip, IT WORKS!!!!! THANK GOD!

  30. Joe Hawaii says:

    Hi Macca, I’m having the same “Sync Disabled” problem as everybody else. I tried to change the name of the folder, but it won’t let me. I pressed enter and nothing. I also tried opening the info box on the folder to change the name from there. Still won’t work. Any ideas? I’ve had this problem for over a year and word on the street is that you’re the miracle man. 😉 Hope you can help.

  31. Macca says:

    Hey Joe,

    Hmm, if you can’t rename the folder are you definitely logged on to your machine as an administrative user?
    Is it a Mac or Windows?

    //ian

  32. Joe Hawaii says:

    Wow, thanks for the quick response. I’m on OSX 10.5.8

    I’m having problems with permission, I believe that might be the root of the problem. I tried Disk Utility, but it didn’t work. I could do a reboot from the installation disk, but I have some programs that I no longer have the disks for 😉 Hacked.

    I read on another blog that deleting the SyncServices folder worked for that. Any advice?

  33. Macca says:

    Hey,

    Deleting will work too but if you are unable to rename it I suspect you won’t be able to delete it.
    Try downloading Onyx and see if that can repair your disk/permissions.

    //ian

  34. Caroline says:

    Brilliant – I followed the instructions above in this thread and it worked. Finally a solution! Thanks so much to those who provided it – this was driving me nuts!

  35. brenda says:

    unfortunately i have had the same problem, but not the same success. i am running Mac OSX 5.8.4 I have renamed the folder, but am getting the same messages. cannot sync because syncing is not enabled, override, then a message saying a sync session could not be established.

  36. janice says:

    hi i renamed the local folder, but i do not have isync

    how should i proceed after renaming? i plugged in my phone but still the ” itunes was unable to load provider data from sync services. ” came out.

  37. Jeffrey Paul says:

    Renaming the Local folder to Local_bak didn’t help for WinXP. I did this in my user directory in Documents and Settings, not sure if it would exist in other user directories and need to be renamed there as well. Any ideas?

  38. Ian says:

    Hi Jeff – I’m not entirely sure of the architecture of the Windows version I’m afraid but there should only be one local cache. If you’ve renamed it/deleted it, make sure you reboot afterwards to ensure that it is not still being associated and also to enforce the sync service to restart.
    HTH – Ian

  39. Michael says:

    Absolutely fantastic information. Has solved many troubles i was having with contacts etc. etc!

  40. KRM says:

    Unfortunately I am using Windows XP and Outlook 2003, and when the IT folks transferred files to a different computer, my iPhone was unable to sync the calendar events. I have tried renaming the SyncServices Local file, have re-installed iTunes, and researched this for hours. Frustrating…

    Do you think it is necessary to reinstall Microsoft Office? If not, do you have any other suggestions?

    I don’t know if it made any difference, but they changed the name of my pst file and user name. Is there somewhere the iPhone may be retaining the old info and not connecting b/c of the name change?

    Many, many thanks in advance!

  41. SteveK says:

    GREAT post! Worked perfectly. I was having this same syncing problem along with a syncing issue between Entourage and ical. This post fixed all the issues! Thanks so much

  42. Mark Robinson says:

    Unfortunately, this didn’t work for me.

    However, something that did was deleting the com.apple.syncservices.plist file under library/preferences.

    Just another thing to try.

  43. Chris Copland says:

    Nice one
    Did your fix using terminal. Took 2 minutes, worked a dream thanks.

  44. Alex Hale says:

    Finally resolved my issues like Mark Robinson. Had to delete username/library/preferences/com.apple.syncserver.plist and then reopen iSync/MobileMe preferences.

  45. Rick says:

    Hi folks,

    I know I’m late to the discussion here but I’ve been having the same problem the past few months. I’ve tried to follow the instructions above (through finder), but when I look through ~/Library/Application Support there is no folder for SyncServices or iSync. I tried searching the hd for both of those, and the only thing that came up was SyncServicesAgent, with a microsoft outlook icon.

    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Running OSX 10.9.4 on a late 2012 Macbook Pro, just upgraded to iTunes 12.0.1.26.

    Rick

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