By Dylan / Last update January 8, 2022

Error: A device attached to the system is not functioning

Want to export iPhone X photos to Windows 10, but it fails. The error message is as the title says. I could enter the DCIM folder on computer and copy the photos and videos but pasting the files to another folder never succeeds. Someone could help me out of this?

- Question from Apple Community

What does "a device attached to the system is not functioning" mean?

iTunes is a good official iOS manager. And lots of people use it to backup iPhone photos and other data to computer or sync data between iOS device and computer. But sometimes, when you connect your iPhone/iPad/iPod with computer, the PC can't detect the device and you may receive a message saying a device attached to the system is not functioning. 

What does that mean? When you get the error, it means a connectivity problem between your iPhone/iPad and the computer. Don't worry, this is a common iTunes problem. Next, you can refer to the following part to see how to fix it. 

A device attached to the system is not functioning

Section 1. Fix a device attached to the system is not functioning

It is most likely because some settings on your iPhone are stopping you from exporting files from iPhone. If you have tried using different USB cable to export iPhone photos but still fail, you need to adjust iPhone settings.

The solution is very simple:

1. Go to Settings on iPhone.

2. Scroll down to locate and select Photos.

3. Find Transfer to Mac or PC section at the bottom.

4. Select Keep Originals.

Keep Original

In iOS 11, Apple has brought in a new format to store photos and videos taken by iPhone. HEIC and HEIV files are used on iPhone to store high-quality photos and videos which take only about half of storage compared with JPG and MP4 files.

However, users would have problems like the device is not functioning when copying photos from iPhone. To make your photos still stored as jpg files, you can do something on iPhone.

1. Open Settings app on iPhone.

2. Select Camera section.

3. Expand Formats.

4. Select Most Compatible.

iPhone Camera Format

Section 2. Easily export iPhone photos and avoid device issue

You can directly export iPhone photos by copying files from the DCIM folder but this method is not stable, because iOS sometimes stops the process to protect your privacy or for other issues like the device is unreachable. You could easily export your photos and videos via a stable platform.

AOMEI MBackupper is a brilliant iPhone data transfer. You could use it not only to transfer photos and videos between iPhone and PC, but also transfer music and backup iPhone contacts and messages.

Preview and Export: You could view all the pictures and videos like you do in DCIM folder and select the really needed ones to export.

Stable and Safe: AOMEI MBackupper is designed by a professional team of 10 years of experience in data security. Feel free to use it.

Widely Compatible: AOMEI MBackupper supports all the iOS devices, including the latest iPhone 13/12/11, iPad 9/8/Air 4, and iOS 15/14.

Step 1. Connect iPhone to AOMEI MBackupper

Download AOMEI MBackupper on computer and connect iPhone to PC with USB cable. Trust This Computer on iPhone if it is the first time you connect the iPhone to this PC.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 2. Select the Feature of Transfer

On the home screen of AOMEI MBackupper, select Transfer to Computer.

Transfer to Computer

Step 3. Select Photos to Transfer

Click the plus icon to view all the photos and videos on iPhone an select some of them to export. Click OK.

Choose Photos

Step 4. Transfer iPhone Photos

Click Transfer button to transfer all the selected items from iPhone to PC.


Section 3. Transfer photos from iPhone to PC via iCloud

Your might have backed up iPhone photos to iCloud, but this will not help your get more iPhone storage. After you upload all the iPhone photos to iCloud, they are still stored on your iPhone. You can enable optimize storage to get more storage at most but this makes it difficult to view your photos every time because they need to be downloaded every time.

If you have problem of a wired transfer, you can download iCloud photos to PC without connecting iPhone to computer.

1. Go to Settings on iPhone > [your name] > iCloud > Photos to switch on iCloud. Wait for some time before all the photos are uploaded to the server.

2. On your computer, open your browser and go to

3. Sign in your Apple ID and select Photos.

4. View and select iPhone photos to download them to your computer.

View Photos on iCloud


The error that a device attached to the system is not functioning might occur when you copy iPhone photos and videos to Windows computer. You could use the methods in this passage to solve or prevent it.

Besides, you will get other ways to copy photos, videos, and other data off iPhone. AOMEI MBackupper is an excellent iPhone transfer to export the data you want.

You could share this guide to help more people.