iTunes 12.3 Breaks Sync for Older Devices on Windows 10

by Ed Sparks

The increasingly creaky, bloated mess that is iTunes strikes again with the 12.3 release, which appears to have broken the ability to backup and sync older iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices.

While many users now backup their devices strictly to iCloud, Apple's 5 GB free offering is often insufficient to complete a backup. The security conscious also feel more comfortable having a backup locally stored and encrypted on their computers via iTunes. Using iTunes rather than iCloud also markedly improves the speed at which restores happen when switching to a new device.

It's ironic and bad timing that this flaw is occurring just as the iPhone 6S devices are being released, and many users want to therefore do just that - backup and restore their old 5 or 5S to their shiny new 6S. Well done, Apple.

It appears this issue is primarily occurring in iTunes on Windows 10, but others have reported it on Windows 7 and 8 as well, but only with the current released version of iTunes 12.3. There are many discussions about this in Apple's forums, but Apple doesn't seem to have acknowledged it formally, or offer much of a fix.

Here's how to solve the problem:

1. Close iTunes
2. Search for "Device Manager" and open it (you will need to be an Administrator or allow 
the prompt)
3. Find "Portable Devices" in the list, and expand to reveal Apple iPhone
4. Click on Properties, then the Driver Tab and click Update Driver
5. Choose the "Browse.." option then click on the Browse button and click through to 
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\Drivers
6. Click Next and Windows should install the correct driver.
7. Close the Driver Update window and Device Manager
8. Restart iTunes and reconnect your device, which should now show up in the top left 
corner as normal

Apple iOS Devices can no longer access .local domain over VPN

by Ed Sparks

Apple's software quality slide continues with this recent bug that has existed in all versions of iOS 8, and is thus far unacknowledged. This appears to be related to the rewrite of much of the network stack in current versions of iOS and OS X.   

While this previously worked in older versions of iOS (up to and including iOS 7), starting with recent versions if a VPN connection is established into  a corporate LAN - and that LAN uses the (very common) .local domain for their internal DNS - name resolution will completely fail. Thus, iPhones and iPads can no longer access any of the sites or applications that rely on the internal name resolution. It appears that this is purely a code bug that causes the DNS resolver on iOS to completely ignore the recursive responses for .local requests.

An extensive thread on Apple's support forums discusses this issue, with the usual crickets response from Cupertino.

The workaround that we've successfully implemented on several of our customer sites is to add a dummy DNS zone specifically for the "local" root zone.

For example, if the internal DNS (AD) name is myclient.local, an existing forward lookup zone will be in place for myclient.local. In order for resolution to now work correctly for iOS, add in a forward lookup zone for local. You can accept all the defaults when creating, and in most cases it will be AD integrated. Then, below this new zone, add a domain (subdomain) for myclient. It is worthwhile to add in name server records into this new zone, and in some cases (depending on the internal application) it may be necessary to add host or cname records under the new zone/domain as well.

As usual, let's hope Apple eventually gets around to fixing this one.