How to Sync iPhone Over Wi-Fi

Sync to your computer wirelessly using iTunes

The iPhone makes it easy to do almost anything wirelessly, including syncing an iPhone to a computer. The standard way to sync devices to a computer is to use a USB cable, but by changing one setting, you can sync your iPhone over Wi-Fi to your computer. Here's what you need to know. 

Information in this article applies to iPhones and other iOS devices running iOS 5 or higher.

Before You Begin

To use Wi-Fi syncing between your iPhone and computer, you need:

  • An iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad running iOS 5 or higher. Updating to the latest version is always best.
  • iTunes 10.6 or higher running on your computer. Again, update to the latest version.
  • An iPhone and computer connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

Sync iPhone With Computer Over Wi-Fi Setup

To sync your iPhone wirelessly, you need to use a cable—at least once—to change a setting in iTunes to enable wireless syncing for your phone. Do this one time, and you can go wireless every time afterward.

  1. Plug the iPhone or iPod touch into a computer with USB in the usual wired way that you'd sync your device. If iTunes doesn't open automatically, open it.

  2. In iTunes, select the iPhone icon to go to the iPhone Summary screen.

    iPhone Summary icon in iTunes
  3. In the Options section select the Sync with this iPhone over Wi-Fi check box.

    Sync with this iPhone over Wi-Fi checkbox in iTunes
  4. Select Apply, then select Done to save the change.

    Apply and Done buttons in iTunes sync settings
  5. To eject the iPhone, go to the left panel and select the up arrow next to the iPhone icon. Then, unplug the iPhone from the computer.

    Eject iPhone button in iTunes

How to Sync Your iPhone Over Wi-Fi

After the setting is changed and the iPhone is disconnected from the computer, you're ready to sync over Wi-Fi. You'll never need to change that setting on the computer again.

Follow these steps to sync:

  1. Confirm that the computer and iPhone are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. The iPhone cannot be connected to Wi-Fi at work and sync with a computer at home.

  2. On the iPhone, tap the Settings app.

  3. Tap General.

  4. Scroll down, then tap iTunes Wi-Fi Sync.

  5. The iTunes Wi-Fi Sync screen lists the computers you can sync your iPhone with, when it was last synced, and a Sync Now button. Tap Sync Now.

    General, iTunes Wi-Fi Sync, Sync Now buttons in iOS Settings
  6. The button changes to read Cancel Sync. Below it, a status message on the progress of the sync appears. A message displays when the sync is complete.

Tips to Sync iPhone Over Wi-Fi

Syncing an iPhone wirelessly is slower than doing it with USB. If you have a ton of content to sync, use the traditional wired method.

You don't have to remember to sync manually. When an iPhone is connected to a power source and is on the same Wi-Fi network as the computer, the phone syncs automatically.

Using Wi-Fi sync, you can sync a phone or iPod Touch to more than one computer, as long as those computers are authorized with the same Apple ID.

You can't change the sync settings on an iPhone or iPod Touch. That can only be done in iTunes.

Troubleshoot iPhone Wi-Fi Sync

If there are problems syncing the iPhone over Wi-Fi, try these fixes:

  • Restart the iPhone.
  • Confirm that both devices are on the same Wi-Fi network and that the computer isn't in sleep mode.
  • Check your firewall. Depending on the firewall settings, the firewall could be blocking the ways that the iPhone connects to the computer. Make sure the firewall allows connections on TCP ports 123 and 3689 and UDP ports 123 and 5353.

If the iPhone can't connect to Wi-Fi, it won't sync using Wi-Fi. Find out how to fix an iPhone that can't connect to Wi-Fi.

Sync iPhone With iCloud

You don't have to sync with a computer or iTunes at all. If you want, sync the data on the iPhone to iCloud. Some people prefer this option. For others who don't have computers, it's the only choice. Learn more about how to back up your iPhone to iCloud.