device is not functioning

A device attached to the system is not functioning

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (11 votes, average: 4.36 out of 5)

You have taken superb photos with your iPhone and want to copy them to the PC to view them on a large screen. You connect your iPhone to the PC, but suddenly there is an error message that runs: A device attached to the system is not functioning. What can be the cause of the communication failure between the iPhone and the PC?

software issues or incompatibility
connection failure
outdated or incompatible drivers

This point-by-point guide will explain what to do if you see this error.

iPhone connection

The first thing to check

In some cases, the error can occur because of a connectivity issue between the USB device (in this case, your iPhone) and the PC.

To prevent this, disconnect your iPhone or iPad from the PC. If there are other USB devices connected to your computer at the same time, unplug them as well. Once it is done, reconnect your iOS device to the PC, preferably using a different USB port and a different cable (see more about ports and cables below).

a device attached to the system is not functioning

A device attached to the system is not functioning Windows 10

First things first, let’s take a closer look at the most common causes of this error.

In fact, for a long time (starting from iOS 11 and iPhone 7), the default formats for Apple’s images and videos have been HEIF and HEVC, respectively. If you are interested in what they are, see what Apple has to say about them. These formats offer the same or better quality than JPEG and H.264 while taking up to 50% less space. On the other hand, they are still much less widespread outside the Apple universe and are not compatible with Windows without any codecs.

a device attached to the system is not functioning windows 10

So, when you copy your HEIF or HEVC files to a PC, they are automatically converted to JPEG and H.264 formats. However, it is during this real-time conversion the notorious error A device attached to the system does not work correctly can occur.

Numerous tests on iOS devices have demonstrated that the error often occurs when there is no free space on the iPhone or iPad. Why? Well, if there is not enough memory then there is not enough space to save converted files on the iOS device before transferring them to the PC. Suddenly, the system does not understand what is happening, as a result, triggering an error.

Now, how to overcome that?

  • Solution 1. Free up space on iPhone
  • Solution 2. Transfer the original files
  • Solution 3. Transfer photos from iPhone to PC via CopyTrans Photo
  • Solution 1. Free up space on iPhone

    We already know that one of the most common causes of the error is the lack of space on the iOS device when converting HEIF / HEVC photos and videos.

    This is why we strongly recommend that, before going on to the other solutions presented below, you check the storage space on your device by going to Settings > General > iPhone Storage.

    Check the storage of your iPhone

    Important fact

    💡 It is strongly recommended that you have at least 1 GB of free space available on the iPhone or iPad. If you find that your available space is below this limit, consider freeing up some space on your device. To help you do this, we wrote a guide on how to optimize iPhone storage. Alternatively, refer to an article from Apple with tips on how to check and manage space on your iPhone

    Solution 2. Transfer the original files

    As explained above, the error occurs when HEIF (HEVC) files are converted to JPEG (H.264) format during the transfer to the PC. It is, therefore, not surprising that we can get around this problem by simply avoiding converting files during the transfer. To do the trick:

    1. On your iOS device, go to Settings and scroll down to Photos.
    2. In the section Transfer to Mac or PC at the bottom of the screen, choose Keep Originals.

    Keep original photos on your iPhone

    That did it! From now on, photos and videos will be transferred to the PC with their original extension.

    However, as we already know, Windows does not support HEIF / HEVC files. So how do you view them on the PC? Well, there are two solutions:

    • Download a codec that “teaches” Windows to read HEIF and HEVC files without converting them to JPEG. These codecs can be paid (like the ones Windows offers when you click on a HEIC file) or free solutions like CopyTrans HEIC.

    Download CopyTrans HEIC for free

    • Convert the files using a third-party converter. As the conversion will take place on a PC, you can be sure that the error will no longer occur. Here too, you can opt for CopyTrans HEIC, which allows you to not only view HEIF files, but also to convert them to JPEG. Check out the user guide on CopyTrans HEIC for more information.

    Convert HEIC to JPEG with CopyTrans HEIC

    What makes your experience with CopyTrans HEIC so enjoyable:

    Free for personal use;
    Allows you to view HEIC photos on PC without converting them;
    Converts offline;
    Preserves original EXIF data.

    Solution 3. Transfer photos from iPhone to PC via CopyTrans Photo

    By far, the easiest and fastest way is to use our CopyTrans Photo application which has been designed for transferring photos from iPhone to PC.

    What advantages does it offer? Well, if the default settings of your iPhone have not been changed, this software retrieves the original HEIC files and converts them using PC resources, thus sparing your iPhone the effort.* As the iOS device doesn’t have to reserve space for conversion, this effectively eliminates the majority of scenarios that can trigger the error. In addition, the protocols used by CopyTrans Photo ensure a very stable connection. And if you don’t want to convert the files to JPEG, CopyTrans Photo can transfer them in their original format.

    You can download CopyTrans Photo by clicking on the button below:

    Download CopyTrans Photo

    ⭐ Want to know more about transferring photos and videos via CopyTrans Photo? Here is the complete guide: How to transfer iPhone photos to PC?

    transferring photos from pc to ipad, iphone

    Why people choose CopyTrans Photo:

    Convenient way to manage photos and videos on your iPhone from a PC;
    Preserves original quality and EXIF data;
    Preserves album structure;
    Converts HEIC to JPEG;
    Works offline;
    Compatible with the latest iOS, iTunes, and Windows versions;
    ProRAW Apple format compatible.

    Get a free test version

    You have tried everything, yet still the issue persists? Aside from the lack of space during conversion, the error can be caused by various technical problems, such as bad connection, incompatible drivers, or a faulty USB port. See our troubleshooting tips below:

    Solution 4. Try a different USB port or lightning cable

    Good advice not to be overlooked

    To avoid any troubles with connection, it is recommended to purchase the original, Mfi certified lightning cables. Using non-certified cables can cause technical problems.

    You can tell that the cable is MFi-certified if it has the following logo on the packaging:

    Apple logos with device compatibility

    If you would like to know more about MFi-certified accessories, be sure to read the guide by iGeeksBlog.

    Also, remember to check for damage. Even if the cable seems to be all right with no visible defects, it may still be wise to try another one.

    The damaged iPhone cable malfunctions

    You can also try connecting your lightning cable to another USB port because it is a possibility something went wrong with the first one. If your PC has more than two ports, it may be helpful to check all of them, one by one.

    Solution 5. Update the Apple drivers

    In some cases, a bad connection may be caused by outdated drivers.

    1. Do you want to install the latest Apple drivers without having to deal with iTunes? We made it possible! To do this, use the CopyTrans Drivers Installer application. Here is the article that explains how to proceed:

    Install iPhone and iPad Drivers without iTunes

    *CopyTrans Drivers Installer will ask you to uninstall iTunes: this is a temporary measure, and you will only need to do this once. We ask you to uninstall iTunes to reshuffle the drivers’ components. After you have done that, you can install and use iTunes again: your media library won’t be affected.

    Advantages of CopyTrans Drivers Installer:

    Updates and reinstalls drivers within one app;
    Keeps iTunes library intact;
    Compatible with all iOS devices;
    Quick, easy, and free.

    If you want to, you can install the latest version of iTunes. During installation, the latest necessary drivers will be downloaded automatically. Depending on the version of iTunes installed on your PC, choose one of these two methods:

    • If you downloaded iTunes from the Apple website, open iTunes and go to Help > Check for updates.

    Check for the updates in iTunes

    • If you downloaded iTunes from Microsoft Store, find the Microsoft Store app via the search bar or by clicking on the Start button and open it. Then click on the three dots in the top-right corner of the screen and choose “Downloads and updates”.


    If you don’t like your experience with iTunes, there is always an alternative. Check out CopyTrans programs: they can do as much as iTunes, and even more.

    CopyTrans Cloudly interface

    Transfer iCloud photos to the PC and back

    • Backup all iCloud photos to your computer, external drive, or NAS;
    • Upload JPG, HEIC, or PNG images to iCloud from PC with ease;
    • Delete your iCloud Photo Library in one click and stop paying for iCloud storage;
    • Restore permanently deleted photos from your iCloud.
    Download and try for free!

    Manage iPhone contacts, messages, notes, and calendars on your PC

    • Transfer contacts from one iPhone to another;
    • Back up your messages to a PC;
    • Manage your iPhone and iCloud calendars;
    • Save your iPhone notes to the computer.
    Download and try for free!
    CopyTrans Contacts interface
    CopyTrans Shelbee interface

    Back up your iPhone to the PC without iTunes

    • Back up and restore iPhone without iTunes;
    • Restore iPhone data selectively;
    • Restore WhatsApp without iCloud;
    • Transfer iOS apps to new iPhone.
    Download and try for free!

    Solution 6. Reset location and privacy

    When you connect your iPhone to the PC for the first time, you are asked to trust the computer first. In some cases (for example, if you clicked “No” or something went wrong), the error “A device attached to the system is not working properly” may occur. Unfortunately, the only solution available in this scenario is to reset the settings.

    To do this, disconnect your iPhone fr om the PC, then go to Settings -> General -> Reset and choose Reset location and privacy. You will be asked to insert your passcode.

    Reset location and privacy on iPhone

    Warning

    It will erase all your settings regarding trusted computers to which you have connected your iPhone in the past.

    Once you have reset these settings, reconnect your iPhone to the PC and confirm that you trust this computer.

    We hope this article helped you to find an effective solution to correct the above-described issue! Let us know about your experience with this error.


    * For converting HEVC video files, CopyTrans Photo will use the resources of Camera Roll, but only if there is enough space on the device. If the storage is not sufficient, CopyTrans Photo will transfer files in the original.

    Bonus: Fix Windows Corrupt Files

    If you have some corrupt files in your Windows system, they may prevent a correct communication between your iPhone and the PC. For it to be fixed, you need to call for a Command Prompt:

    1. Click on the Search Bar, type in Command Prompt, and Run as administrator.
    2. Type in the DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth command and press Enter.
    3. The next command to run is sfc /scannow.
    4. Sit tight while the system’s repairing the corrupt files.

    Windows Safe Mode

    Windows Safe Mode helps to fix the A device attached to the system is not functioning. To reboot your PC in the Windows Safe Mode:

    1. Navigate to Settings, select Update & Security, and tap on Recovery.
    2. Click on Restart now. Go to Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart and choose 4 to enter the safe mode.
    3. Please check the device connectivity in the safe mode. If it works as expected, then the issue lies in one of the newly-installed apps on your system. In this case, you’ll need to identify which app is responsible and remove it from your PC.

    0x80070141

    The device is unreachable

    The error 0x80070141 means that the device is unreachable. It is one of the most recognizable errors encountered by Android and iOS users. It occurs when the user tries to open, copy or move a photo from a camera storage device to a PC.

    0x80070141 error unreachable device

    When transferring files from your iOS device to a PC, follow these troubleshooting steps to fix this issue:

    1. Disconnect your device;
    2. Go to Settings;
    3. Open Photos;
    4. Scroll down to Transfer to Mac or PC and select Keep originals;
    5. Try to copy/paste files again.

    The pieces of advice listed in this article should assist you in getting rid of the A device attached to the system is not functioning error. You’ve now established the communication between your iPhone and the PC!

    Avatar for Maria CopyTrans
    By Maria CopyTrans

    Maria is our tech support specialist who takes a particular delight in languages, games, experiments and concert whistling. Tweet tweet.