Fixed: Windows Media Player Won’t Recognize Your Phone

One of the drawbacks of all of the technology around us is that sometimes, interconnectivity can be spotty.

Not all software and hardware are created equal after all and, unfortunately, not everything plays nice, at least not some of the time.

The point is, you want to get everything on the same page, which isn’t always easy if you’re not a computer aficionado or a software engineer, and you just want Windows Media Player to work with your device.

Today, I will help you use the Windows Media Player on your smartphone.

Corrupted Files or Unsupported Codecs

This is a common enough problem when you are transferring video files from either an iPhone or an Android to Windows Media Player.

You’ve probably seen the error message, “Windows Media Player cannot play this file.”

Update Windows Media Player

To properly update Windows Media Player (WMP), you will have to go to Microsoft’s Windows Media Player update page and either update or download WMP from there.

Windows Media Player 12 is the latest update that you should have and if not, you will need to update it.

In the case of corrupted files, delete the file that you transferred over and do the transfer again.

A corrupted file can happen during the transfer of one file from one device to another device, regardless of the purpose of the file, and it seems to be a semi-frequent occurrence with Windows Media Player.

Convert Your Videos to Different Formats

If you have a smartphone that generally produces one or two types of video files and those files are unsupported by WMP, you either need to add those file support types or get yourself a codec converter.

Your Windows computer is not likely to have a converter of its own and if it does, it’s not going to be a very good one.

WonderFox HD Video Converter Factory Pro is one of the better options available out there, and it is fairly simple to use.

CodecInstaller and VideoInspector are also good, third-party options for identifying the codecs that you need when you use WMP for playing videos that are transferred in from your smartphone.

When you have this software downloaded, you can operate Windows Media Player without considering the other, third-party apps because they will operate in the background, helping you to identify the proper codec that you need and if they need to be updated.

The third-party software will also direct you where you need to go if you want to find the right codec for WMP.

USB Cables and Ports

You’d be surprised at how often something as simple as USB cables and ports can turn against you and just refuse to cooperate.

This is especially true if you are using an older USB cable or one that was designed only for charging your devices rather than transferring data.

It could also be a damaged USB cable.

You can sever and open the circuit connection within without ever harming the insulation exterior.

If you know you are using an older USB cable, even if you ultimately get the transfer to work, you should always get the most updated versions available.

For Android devices, you don’t need to get crazy, just a standard USB cable that is designed for both charging and transferring data.

For iPhone and iPad users, you want a standard, USB to lightning cable (which will cover most iPhones and older iPads) and a USB-C to USB-C for newer iPads.

The port may not be functioning the way that you want it to either, however, you can potentially change that by going into the USB connection settings.

  • Go into your Settings (on your desktop/laptop).
  • Scroll down or look over the single screen to find Developer Options.
  • Scroll to USB Configuration.
  • You will see 5 or 6 different USB configuration options.
  • Charging – MTP – PTP – RNDIS – Audio Source – MIDI.

MTP is the Media Transfer Protocol and that is the option that you want to select since that is what you want to select.

If you want to select PTP (Picture Transfer Protocol) that is going to be a different Windows Media application and is best for transferring image files from your smartphone to your computer.

Connect your iPhone or Android to Another Computer

This is how you determine that your ports are working correctly, by testing a connection on a different computer.

If the transfer is immediate and there are no problems, it’s a red flag that the USB port you were using on your computer isn’t working properly.

You can shine a flashlight in the USB port to see if there is anything that could potentially disrupt the connection there.

If there is nothing visual, try using another USB port, as most computers come with multiple USB ports.

Checking the Connection and Restarts

You can see exactly what your computer thinks your connected smartphone is by looking at the Device Manager.

You can check this by typing in the words, “Device Manager” in the search bar next to the Windows logo.

From here, you will be able to see what the computer is identifying your connected device as.

If it says something like (Set Address Failed), right click on it and uninstall it, then restart Windows.

Connect your device again, and go back into Device Manager to see if the identification has changed.

If nothing changes, you should go ahead and restart your computer altogether to see if that fixes the problem.

In fact, restarting devices is known for fixing more errors than any other method.

All Things Considered

This issue goes for both Android and iPhones, as both have problems with Windows Media Player from time to time.

The typical fix is to adjust some of the settings in your particular phone, install the correct software, check your USB connections, or update your drivers.

Windows Media Player shouldn’t have an issue with any smartphone that you plug into a USB port, even though iPhones typically require you to download iTunes to operate at 100% capacity.

When issues do arise, however, they can usually be resolved by taking one or more of the above steps.

I’ve been working with technology in one way or the other all my life. After graduating from university, I worked as a sales consultant for Verizon for a few years. Now I am a technical support engineer by day and write articles on my own blog here in my spare time to help others if they have any issues with their devices.