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Resolving Airport Express / Remote / AppleTV / iTunes connectivity after upgrading iTunes (firewall issues)

New... also read my article "how to create an Apple Itunes ID without a credit card" if you need new or additional AppleIDs to support multiple devices, more countries, etc.

Everytime I upgrade my iTunes, by foolishly accepting the upgrade proposed by the Apple Software Upgrade Tool, I end up troubleshooting connectivity issues between my various Apple hardware and software toys: iTunes, iPad v2, AppleTV, Airport Express, and the Remote app on my Ipad and Ipod Touch. When everything works it is just damn beautiful, but it sure is frustrating to look for why the various pieces of the jigsaw don't connect after every software patch.

So, as a reminder to myself, and perhaps as a hint to other people experiencing the same issues and frustrations, I created this page, detailing what in almost all cases has resolved the issue. To be honest: it looks like the loss of connectivity after an upgrade is caused by the Windows Vista Firewall settings on my iTunes PC.

Read this page and try these settings if...

Apple Remote App (on Ipad, Iphone, Ipod Touch) no longer connect to your iTunes PC Library
Apple TV no longer connects to your iTunes PC Library
Your iTunes PC no longer plays through your Airport Express speakers

Especially if this happened after recently upgrading your iTunes PC software under Windows Vista. Feel free to post your comments, inputs, tips & tricks using the form below.

For the technical girls and guys... The likely root cause is the somewhere along the path to iTunes 10.x Apple changed the communication protocol (which was at first solely TCP based) to now also use simple UDP packets, thus using different (UDP) ports and a different filter.

Sometimes during the iTunes installation, the necessary Windows Firewall rules are not properly installed / updated, hence resulting in some connections not working properly (while others do work - i.e. AppleTV is able to connect to your PC Library, but the Remote App can't).

In the Apple Support Knowledge Base / Groups, the instrauctions / troubleshooting limit themselves to checking if the iTunes program exists as an exception in the Windows Firewall (these instructurion are in the article Remote app for iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch can't connect to iTunes or Apple TV).

Check first if iTunes is listed as an incoming program exception in your Windows Firewall, and if not, add it. Detailed instructions are at How to enable iTunes in the Windows Vista and Windows 7 Firewall.

However, sometimes this does not fix the problem yet - even if this entry exists, the rules sometimes still end up messed up (or incomplete) so read the next set of detailed instructions to fix it ! (reminder: first do check the iTunes entry exists in your Windows Firewall with the instructions in the link above)

  1. Click the Windows logo at the left bottom of your screen to open the start menu, select Seach, then pick For Files and Folders and search for firewall.
  2. One of the entries found will be Windows Firewall with Advanced Security - select and open this entry. You might need to click continue to grant Windows permission to perform this action (and you might need administrator rights on your machine to do this).
  3. A new window will open up. Take a look in the main frame, to see which Profile is listed as active - the public or the private profile. Remember this for the next steps - the instructions below assume you saw Private Profile is Active - if in your case the public profile is active then please substitute private with public in the next steps.
  4. Select Inbound Rules in the left frame
  5. Find the entry iTunes in the main window frame. You might have to maximize the window to see all columns.
  6. In the column Profile make sure that for the entry iTunes Private is listed, Enabled is Yes, and Action is Allow.
  7. Double-click the iTunes entry to open the properties window.
  8. Make sure that in the Action section, Allow the Connection is selected
  9. In the tab Protocols and Ports, choose select Any for Protocols, and All Ports for the local and remote ports entries. If you want to be more secure and as such more restrictive, see the Note Protocols and Ports below.
  10. In the Advanced Tab, select the profile which was listed as active (see above) or select All Profiles (again: less restrictive and thus less secure, but it works).
  11. Select Apply and hit the OK button
  12. That's it ! Retry to setup your connections, and cross your fingers, it should work (again) now.

Note (Protocols and Ports)... If you don't want to select Any for the protocols, you can make two identical rules, one for all UDP ports and one for all TCP ports. Just enabling these two protocols is enough (you will then require two iTunes rules instead of one, name them e.g. iTunes and iTunes UDP),

Environment: iTunes 10.x under Windowsa Vista, iPadv2, Airport Express, Apple TV 2nd generation.

Other related article (includes the approach of setting up a second rule for UDP, rather than enabling all protocols) at Airport Express/iTunes.

Good Luck !

Comments and tipc welcome below.