This past Saturday I had an appointment at the local Apple store to have them take a look at my iPhone 5. Lately the lock button has been less than responsive, sometimes taking several presses before it responds. The employee that helped me, Tiffany, was super friendly. She asked what was wrong and after I explained it, she took the phone, pressed the lock button and counted 1... (nothing) 2... 3... 4... and it finally responded. She said, "OK. Let me get you a new phone". That was it. Fifteen minutes later my new phone was restored from my iCloud backup and my apps were downloading.
But after returning home and connected the phone to my MacBook Pro I ran into an issue that I'd first seen last year with my iPhone 4 and iOS 5. But now, it's an iPhone 5 and iOS 6.1.2. The phone would start the syncing process, but would stall indefinitely at "Waiting for items to copy". I was patient. I waited. I took a nap. I watched TV. Hours later and it was still the same. The last time I'd had the issue, there were voice memos that I'd recorded on the phone and deleting those caused the sync to complete.
I checked the for voice memos on the phone but there were none. I searched online and found some suggestions. Most involved connecting the phone, turning off automatic sync. disconnecting the phone, restarting iTunes, connecting the phone, running diagnostics (an option I didn't see in iTunes 11.0.2) or resetting warnings and trying again.
I tried the various recommendations without success. The sync still wasn't finishing, but this time the message was different; "Waiting for changes to be applied". Progress? Not really. It still seemed like the sync was mostly working, it just wasn't finalizing as expected. I don't sync with the computer that often anyway so it was more of an annoyance than a real problem. Still, I just don't like it when things don't complete neatly.
I opened up the phone settings in iTunes again. The Music tab showed that "Sync Voice Memos" was unchecked. I changed the Library view to Music, clicked the Playlists tab and then selected the Voice Memo smart playlist. Sure as hell, there were three items that had checkmarks next to them. This shouldn't be an issue (they're not getting sync'd anyway, according to the other setting, right?). I unchecked them and started another sync. Ta-da! It completed quickly and with no errors.
Now I've now gone through and cleaned up my voice memos. Most were junk that I no longer needed anyway. I don't know why this seems to be a recurring theme with Voice Memos and failed syncing. But, even though it was my original suspect, I wasted a lot of time trying other things before going back to double-check the voice memo items within iTunes.