How To Sync Your iPhone 3G Using Linux and Vmware
Since I purchased my new iPhone 3G a few weeks ago, I’ve been happily syncing it with my MacBook Pro. As much as I love my Mac laptop, most of my day to day work is done primarily on my personal desktop running Ubuntu Linux. I thought now would be the ideal time to move all of my music-related activities entirely from OS X to Linux. So, I recently migrated all of my music there (35+GB!), and have been trying out a handful of open source solutions for managing my music collection (SongBird, Rhythmbox, Amarok, etc.). What I’ve quickly learned is that most of these applications work fairly well, however they don’t integrate with the Apple Store (love it or hate it, they’ve got great content) and you can’t sync yet with the iPhone 3G.
Since I’m already running VMware Workstation (XP SP2), I thought it would be a breeze to download the latest version of iTunes and sync away. That dream unfortunately did not come true! It took a little while but after I imported my music library from a shared folder, I decided to plugin the iPhone. I waited….. waited….. and nothing happened! I restarted iTunes and got a most obscure error message:
“iTunes could not connect to iPhone “” because an unknown error occurred. (0xE8000035)”
After an inordinate amount of Googling, It seems this has been a common problem affecting both VMware and VirtualBox users. There was a mixture of comments. Some users said things where working fine for them, others gave up with tears in their eyes. From what I could gather, here were the most common suggestions for solving the problem:
- Upgrade from Service Pack 2 to Service Pack 3
- Enable USB 2.0 in your VM preferences
- Try plugging the phone into a different USB Port
- Set ehci.present to TRUE in the .vmx file
- Try running the VM in VMWare Player instead of VMWare Workstation
I can safely say that *none* of these suggestions helped. The first, and most time consuming, thing I tried was upgrading to SP3. No luck! USB2.0 and EHCI where already enabled so that couldn’t be it either. Different USB ports didn’t help, and VMWare Player behaved exactly the same. As an absolute last resort, I decided to download the latest version of Workstation. My version 6.0.2 was from about 7 months ago, and I noticed that 6.0.5 was released at the end of Aug. The solution that worked for me?
Upgrade to the latest version of VMware!!
Why did this work? I browsed through the release notes, and saw mention of an iPhone-specific fix in version 6.0.3:
“With Workstation 6.0.2 the iPhone might be seen as a camera device by a Windows guest but iTunes did not list the device in its device list. In Workstation 6.0.3, the iPhone is usable and visible in iTunes for Windows guests.”
Problem solved and my iPhone is now happily syncing away with my virtual instance of Windows XP. I figured I would share this post and spread the word in case there are other hopeful, but stumped, iPhone 3G users out there.