Under Windows 7, whenever I connected my iPhone, I would see a device drive appear in the File Explorer, which allowed me to manually copy photos from the iPhone to my computer. Under Windows 10, the device drive no longer appeared. I found the solution to this problem at iPhone doesn’t show up in Windows 10 File Explorer [Solved].
On my system, the cause is Windows 10 neglecting to install the “MTP USB Device” driver. MTP stands for Media Transfer Protocol, which Microsoft uses to allow access to files (like photos and videos) on iOS and Android devices. Under my Windows 10 machine, when I connect my iPhone, Windows 10 only installs the “Apple Mobile Device USB Driver” which iTunes uses. It does not install the “MTP USB Device” driver which File Explorer requires.
The solution is to manually install the “MTP USB Device” driver. This fix also worked for my iPad and iPod Touch.
Note: You may also have this problem under Windows 7 or 8. Or with an Android device. The steps below should still work.
Install MTP USB Device
To manually install the “MTP USB Device” driver:
- Connect the iPhone, iPad, or iPod to the Windows computer. Trust the computer if prompted to (only need to do this once when you first connect a new device).
- On the computer, run the “Device Manager” application.
- Open the “Universal Serial Bus controllers” section.
- Right-click on the “Apple Mobile Device USB Driver” and select “Update driver”. A dialog window will appear.
- Select “Browse my computer for driver software” and then “Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer”.
- Select the “MTP USB Device” driver in the “Show compatible hardware” listbox. Click Next.
- Once done, you will get a “Windows has successfully updated your drivers” message. Click Close to quit the dialog window.
- In the “Device Manager”, if you open “Portable Devices”, you will now see a new “MTP USB Device” driver listed. However, the device still doesn’t appear in the File Explorer and worse, the “Apple Mobile Device USB Driver” is gone (iTunes won’t show the attached device icon any longer).
- Disconnect and reconnect the iOS device. Windows will now load both the “Apple Mobile Device USB Driver” and “MTP USB Device” driver.
- The iOS device should now appear in the File Explorer under “This PC” and “Devices and drives”.
Note: If you check “Portable Devices” under the “Device Manager” again, you will now see the “Apple iPhone”, “Apple iPad”, or “Apple iPod” driver listed. The “MTP USB Driver” is renamed to the specific device type.
You should only need to manually install the “MTP USB Device” driver once for each new iOS device. Windows 10 should automatically load the “MTP USB Device” driver on subsequent connections.
Update: On a new Windows 10 machine, when I did the above for my iPad, the iPad device drive appeared in the File Explorer, but iTunes stopped showing the iPad device. I had to manually update the driver for the “Apple iPad” to be “Apple Mobile Device USB Driver”; after which, the iPad showed in both iTunes and File Explorer.
Re-install MTP USB Device
I have seen a behavior when on a subsequent connection, Windows 10 did not successfully load the “MTP USB Device” for my iPhone. When I checked “Portable Devices” in the “Device Manager”, I saw the “Apple iPhone” driver with a caution icon, meaning it was in error state.
To fix the issue, I just right-clicked on the “Apple iPhone” and selected the “Update driver” option. And then I followed the instructions above from step 5 onward.
Hopefully your Windows 10 system does not have this problem. If it does, I hope the steps above will resolve your issue.