Q: Since updating to iTunes 11 I’ve noticed that sometimes when I sync my iPad it doesn’t show the small “X” in the status bar to cancel the sync like it used to in the older versions. Is there some reason that it shows up sometimes but not others, and if so is there some other way to cancel a sync in progress? Sometimes it takes too long and I need to go, but I don’t to just unplug my device as I’ve heard this can cause problems.
A: We’ve noticed the disappearing “X” in the status bar a few times as well, and it seems this may just be a bug in the current version of iTunes, as there appears to be no reason why it should be there. For example, it most often disappears during the “Finishing Sync” phase.
However, iTunes 11 actually does provide another button for cancelling a sync operation; if you hover over the “Eject” button beside your device name in the top-left corner of the screen it should change to an “X” which you can then click to cancel the sync. This also works on the drop-down device menu that appears at the top-right corner when you have more than one device connected.
That said, with iOS devices—the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch—there’s actually no reason to worry about cancelling a sync operation. iOS has been designed to deal with an interrupted sync since the very first iPhone came out in 2007; consider how you would answer a ringing phone during a sync, for example. Essentially, since iOS devices are running their own operating system that participates in the sync process, they can easily clean up from an aborted sync operation and you don’t risk the database or file-system corruption. By comparison, with the other “disk-based” iPod models such as the iPod classic, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle, iTunes writes directly to them as an external hard drive, so unplugging these in the middle of a sync is akin to simply unplugging a hard drive or USB memory key while it’s transferring data.
So if you need to leave in a hurry and your iPad is still syncing with iTunes, just unplug it and go—it’s designed for this so you won’t have any problems by doing so.