If your iPhone isn’t being recognised by your PC, here are some tips which might cure the problem.

First of all, make sure the basics are covered. Update Windows, update iTunes and make sure your iPhone is running the latest firmware. These steps may or may not fix the problem, but they do at least eliminate these variables. See also: How to update to iOS 7

It sounds ridiculous, but also restart your iPhone and PC. Many people leave their computer in sleep mode for weeks or months on end and until you restart it, updates may not be installed or configured. To restart your iPhone, hold down the sleep/wake button until a red slider appears: slide it to power off your phone. Hold down the same button for a couple of seconds to power it back on.

Finally, connect your phone using the original Apple USB cable and don’t connect it via a USB hub: try one of the USB ports on the back of your PC or any on your laptop.

Anecdotally, we’ve found that unplugging and plugging in an iPhone 5c two or three times is necessary to get it to show up in File Explorer.

iOS 7 and Windows 8

If you’re running Windows 8 and iOS 7, you may not have noticed a few changes to the way an iPhone connects to Windows. For one thing, you’ll see a message on the iPhone asking if you want to trust the computer. We’ve noticed that this appears more than once for the same computer, but sometimes it doesn’t.

Trust this Computer iOS 7

You don’t have to unlock your iPhone for it to appear in Windows, though: that’s something you should do only when synching with iTunes.

iTunes iPhone passcode

Windows 8 may also display a message asking to trust the iPhone, and we’ve noticed it doesn’t always appear in front of other applications you’re running and might be hidden behind them where you won’t see it. Until you’ve clicked Ok, you won’t see your iPhone in the ‘This PC’ list, nor be able to access its internal storage via File Explorer.

Update iPhone drivers

Some people have found that updating the iPhone drivers in Windows has cured the problem of their smartphone not showing up in iTunes.

To do this, open Control Panel, click on Hardware and Sound and then look for Apple iPhone under the ‘Unspecified’ section. Right-click on it, choose Properties and then click the Hardware tab. Click Properties and then the Change settings button.

iPhone Unspecified device

Click on the Driver tab and Update Driver… and then Browse my computer for driver software

Update iPhone drivers

Now navigate to C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\Drivers and click Ok, then Next. You’ll either see a message saying that the best driver is already installed, or a new driver will be installed. If the latter, your iPhone should now show up in iTunes.

This is how your iPhone should appear. Instead of being called Apple iPhone, it will have the name you've given it:

iPhone appearing correctly in Windows 8