How to Stop iTunes From Opening When an iPhone Is Connected to a Mac

Disabling auto launch is easier than you think

image of a MacBook and iPhone

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By default, iTunes will automatically launch each time you connect an iPhone to your Mac. But you may want to know how to stop iTunes from opening when an iPhone is connected so you don't encounter any conflicts or other issues.

The instructions below apply to iPhone 7 or later models and macOS 10.11 until 10.14.6. In 10.15 (Catalina), iTunes is replaced by the Music app and iPhones are managed in the Finder.

Why Does iTunes Open Automatically

The reason for this behavior is some iPhone owners opt to use iTunes to update their iPhone’s iOS and sync its contents with the iTunes application, as opposed to updating iOS wirelessly.

This is certainly convenient if you want to use the application to sync songs, movies and other files. You can also create backups of your iPhone via iTunes, as well as restore said backups to a phone at any point in the future.

How to Stop iTunes From Opening Automatically

If you don't want iTunes to open automatically when you connect your iPhone to your computer, a few adjustments in the Preferences section of your iTunes app should fix the problem. Here's how to make those changes:

Before following these steps, make sure your iPhone is not currently connected to your Mac.

  1. Open iTunes by selecting its respective shortcut in the macOS Dock or from within Launchpad.

  2. Click iTunes > Preferences. Alternatively, you can press Command+Comma (,)

    screenshot of iTunes menu on macOS
  3. The iTunes Preferences interface should now be displayed, overlaying the main application window. Click Devices.

    screenshot of iTunes General Preferences on macOS
  4. Click the Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically checkbox (which is populated by default) so the checkmark is removed, disabling this setting.

    screenshot of iTunes Devices Preferences in macOS
  5. Click OK.

    screenshot of iTunes Devices Preferences on macOS
  6. Close iTunes. iTunes will no longer automatically open when an iPhone or other iOS device is connected to your Mac.

How to Make iTunes Open Automatically Again

To revert back to the default behavior at any point, simply repeat the steps above and enable Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically. Once complete, iTunes will once again launch each time you connect an iPhone to your Mac via a wired connection.