Here is a strange error that may appear when copying photos from an iPhone to a PC: at some point, the process slows down and then comes to a stop with the “Device is unreachable” message. This article will show you how to fix the problem and what causes it.
Unlike Android smartphones, iPhones do not allow you to access their file system when connecting to a computer (at least those without a jailbreak). You can only copy photos and videos; some often suffer from the “Device is unreachable” error. The good thing is that fixing the device unreachable error is simpler than one might think, although the solution is much extremely unintuitive.
The “Device is Unreachable” error happens when your iPhone converts photos and videos during copying. “Why would it convert the images,” you might ask. iPhone uses HEIC and HEVC image formats by default to reduce the footprint and let you store more photos and videos. Apple has implemented a built-in converter to increase compatibility. Therefore, whenever you copy HEIC of HEVC, the target device gets JPG and MP4 files, which Windows has no problem processing. Windows sometimes cannot catch up with the process and starts lagging behind, resulting in the “Device is Unreachable” error.
Fix the Device is Unreachable error on iPhone
The only proper way to fix the problem is to disable iPhone’s built-in image converter and ensure it transfers the originals in HEVC/HEIC.
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
- Go to Photos.
- Scroll down and tap Keep Originals in the Transfer to Mac or PC section.
- Try copying the photos again.
Note that you might have a hard time opening HEVC/HEIC images and videos on your computer. In such a case, download codes from the Microsoft Store. HEIF extension is available here, and HEIC here. Alternatively, you can download third-party photo and video viewers with the necessary codecs built-in.
Alternatively, you can switch your iPhone to take photos and videos in JPG/MP4. Keep in mind that doing that will result in photos and videos taking up slightly more space on your device.
- Go to the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
- Open the Camera section.
- Tap Formats and select Most compatible. Keep in mind that this will not convert existing images and videos to JPG/H.264.
Finally, some users recommend connecting an iPhone to a slow USB 2.0 port. You can try doing that if your PC has the necessary port. This will slow down the copying process and give Windows enough time to convert photos and videos.
That is how you fix the Device is Unreachable iPhone error in Windows 10 and 11.