If Your iPod Touch Is Saying "Connect the USB to iTunes" What Should You Do?

Written by anne hirsh
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If Your iPod Touch Is Saying "Connect the USB to iTunes" What Should You Do?
Your iPod Touch will let you access apps after you sync with iTunes. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Your iPod Touch needs to connect to iTunes for its initial software set-up. If your iPod Touch is not new, receiving the "Connect USB to iTunes" message may mean you have encountered a software glitch and need to reset or update the software. The iPod Touch runs the same operating system as the iPhone and iPad, called iOS. All versions of iOS prior to iOS 5 require a wired connection to iTunes before you can use your device.

Setting up iTunes

You need the latest version of iTunes running on a computer with a USB port to set up, sync and update your iPod Touch. You can download iTunes onto a Mac or Windows computer, either a desktop or a laptop, as long as it meets the minimum requirements listed for the current version of iTunes. Most modern computers will meet these requirements, which include a Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or later operating system for Windows machines and Mac OS X Leopard or later for Mac computers. Download the free iTunes software from Apple (see "Resources") and follow the on-screen instructions to install it on your computer. You will need to set up an iTunes account, which requires a credit card or other approved payment method. iTunes will not charge you until you make a purchase, but setting this up is necessary, and will allow you to purchase apps and media directly on your iPod Touch.

Connecting to iTunes

Your iPod Touch comes with a cable used to charge the device. This cable uses a USB connector on the end of the plug that has the wall socket and power transformer. Pull this end of the cable out of the power block to reveal the USB. Plug the other end of the cable into your iPod, as you would to charge it, and plug the USB end into your computer's USB port. Do not use a multi-function port such as a SATA drive port, as iTunes may not recognise your device when plugged into this port type.

Set-up and Sync

iTunes will automatically launch on your computer after it detects the iPod plugged into a port. This may take a few minutes, but a menu listing labelled "Devices" will appear in the left menu, and your iPod will appear under this list. Click the iPod's title to open the iPod interface screen. Follow the onscreen instructions to set up your account and update any software on your iPod. The process of backing up your iPod's data to iTunes and sharing your computer-based media with your iPod is called "Syncing." Sync your iPod regularly after this initial set-up to ensure your data is backed up so you don't lose it if your iPod is lost or damaged.


Apple has iOS 5 scheduled for release in fall 2011. This software update will be free for all existing iPod Touch users at that time, and once this update installs you will no longer receive a message to connect your iPod Touch to iTunes via USB. Instead, software updates and syncing will be wireless. (See Ref. 2) Until you have iOS 5 installed, however, you will need iTunes on your computer to let your iPod Touch function properly.

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