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Your iPhone keeps disconnecting from your Windows PC or Mac when you try to import photos or videos. You may see the error “The device connected to the system is not working”.

Stop your iPhone from automatically converting video to the old H.264 format by going to Settings >: Pictures >: Transfer to Mac or PC and knock Keep the originals.

I have repeatedly received this “The device connected to the system is not working” error on my Windows computer. The iPhone said nothing.
Screenshot: Sean Hollister / The Verge

My iPhone 13 mini was running out of space, but I couldn’t just wipe it; I had important videos to save. But every time I plugged my iPhone into my Windows computer, it shut down while transferring files.

I double checked that I installed the Apple USB drivers correctly. My Windows computer had enough space. I even randomly tried deleting some apps on the phone, wondering if the iPhone was crashing due to low storage. That seemed to help some, but it kept getting choked by multiple videos, including a 6.9GB video I needed for an upcoming work project.

Which really pissed me off. when I checked my free iPhone storage on the iPhone itself, it seemed to shrink when I tried to transfer that video.

Why couldn’t I remove these videos to free up space on my phone? Incredibly, it is because my phone already didn’t have enough free space.

You may want to check the “Keep Originals” setting if you’re having trouble with an almost full iPhone.
Screenshot: Sean Hollister / The Verge

You see, it turns out that the iPhone has a hidden setting that, by default, converts every video you transfer to your computer to the more easily playable H.264 format, but paradoxically, that conversion requires more free space on your phone.. In fact, twice as much space. that 6.9GB video on my iPhone is 15.2GB on my Windows PC.

Fortunately, you can tell your iPhone to stop converting videos quite easily. It’s just buried under the system menu Settings >: Pictures >: Transfer to Mac or PC.

When you have plenty of free space on your phone, choosing Apple to convert makes some sense. Windows doesn’t come with HEVC/H.265 support, which is the more efficient video format that Apple uses to create cool tricks like real-time HDR, Cinematic Mode, and more, while H. 264 works almost everywhere. You can even tell your iPhone to record in H.264 right from the start Settings >: Camera >: Formatsbut then you will lose those great opportunities.

And you probably shouldn’t, because playing H.265 content on a Windows PC isn’t that difficult. I can play the original video in my free copy of VLC Media Player, and my Microsoft Movies & TV app even seems to play it, even though I haven’t installed Microsoft’s 99-cent HEVC Video Extensions since my last PC upgrade.

High performance and the most compatible settings you can choose from.

Another way to get H.264. record it from the start.
Screenshot: Sean Hollister / The Verge

Anyway, I hope this helps you with your out-of-stock iPhone issue. Personally, I’m never going to pay Apple’s ransom note, no matter how much the company tempts me to fork over extra change for iCloud.


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