"Hi, my new Mac doesn't have enough storage space for me to back up my iPhone even once, but all the tutorials I've seen say you need to back up to a Mac first before you can back up to an external. Is there a way around that? Do I need to delete a bunch of stuff? Or do I not back up? Thanks so much for your help!"
- Alice from Apple Discussion Communities
Many people wonder how to back up an iPhone to an external hard drive since their Macs become slower and slower every time processing multi-task windows. Even updating to the latest iOS version cannot make it faster. If you are also facing the same trouble, it's time to move iPhone backup to an external drive to release more computer storage.
While Apple does not make it straightforward to back up iPad or iPhone to an external drive, you can easily make it with the following three ways. Here you go!
Way 1. How to Back Up an iPhone to an External Hard Drive Directly via Coolmuster iOS Assistant (Best Way)
Way 2. How to Move iOS Backup Files to an External Hard Drive Manually with iTunes (or Finder)
Way 3. How to Back Up the iPhone to an External Hard Drive on Mac via Image Capture
How to save iPhone backup to an external hard drive directly? You can try Coolmuster iOS Assistant. With this program, you can back up all iPhone files to a computer or external hard drive, including contacts, notes, music, videos, apps, messages, photos, calendars, iBooks, bookmarks, etc. Besides, you can also restore the backup file to a new iPhone/iPad/iPod in one click.
It is the best way to back up the iPhone to an external hard drive. So, please make it your prior choice if you are seeking a fast and easy way.
What can you do with Coolmuster iOS Assistant?
* Back up an iPhone/iPad to an external hard drive or computer in one click.
* Restore the iOS backup file from the computer to your new iDevice directly.
* Manually back up iPhone to an external hard drive, computer, or default iTunes backup location.
* Import contacts, calendars, bookmarks, iBooks, iTunes backups, and other files from the computer to your iDevice.
* Various file types are supported, such as music, photos, videos, contacts, messages, notes, iBooks, calendars, bookmarks, apps, etc.
* Preview and select the specific files to back up or restore.
* Widely compatible with Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP, Mac OS X 10.9 or later, and all iPhone/iPad/iPod models, like iPhone 12 Pro Max/12 Pro/12/12 mini/SE, iPad 8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1, iPad Pro 5/4/3/2/1, etc.
How to back up an iPhone onto a hard drive in one click?
1. Install Coolmuster iOS Assistant on your PC or Mac.
After downloading the app on your computer, please run it and connect your iPhone or iPad to the PC/Mac using a USB cable. Next, plug the external hard drive into the computer as well.
2. Make your iPhone recognizable by the computer.
The program will automatically detect your device after connection. If asked, tap the Trust option on your iDevice and hit the Continue button to move on. Once connected, you will see the iDevice information on the home interface.
3. How to back up an iPhone on an external drive.
Click the Super Toolkit section > iTunes Backup & Restore > Backup > choose your iPhone or iPad to back up from the drop-down menu. Then, click Customize and Browse to select the external hard drive as the backup location and hit OK to start moving iPhone files to the external hard drive.
Can you back up an iPhone to an external hard drive with iTunes? Or, can iTunes back up to an external hard drive? The answer is yes. iTunes is a traditional way to back up iPhone data. However, you cannot directly back up the iPhone to an external hard drive. Instead, you have to back up your iPhone to the computer first. Then, move the iPhone backup to an external drive from the iTunes backup location.
The process may sound complicated. Nevertheless, if you prefer a free method, you can give it a try.
How to back up an iPhone to a different drive?
1. Back up your iPhone to the computer:
Open Finder on macOS Catalina or later > connect your iPhone to the computer > tap the iPhone icon > click General > choose Back up all of the data on your iPhone to this Mac > hit Back Up Now.
Run iTunes on Windows PC or macOS Mojave and earlier > connect your iPhone to the computer via a USB cable > tap the iPhone icon > select Summary > hit Back Up Now under Backups.
2. Move the iPhone backup to an external drive.
On macOS Catalina and newer versions:
Open Finder > connect the iPhone and external hard drive to Mac > click the iPhone icon > choose the Manage Backups tab under General > right-click the backup file you want to move > select the Show in Finder option.
Later, copy and paste the backup folder to the external hard drive and confirm the operation with your administrator password.
On macOS Mojave and older versions:
Click the Spotlight Search icon on the menu bar > enter the following commands to access the iPhone backup file: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup and press the Return button.
Now, connect your external hard drive to the Mac and copy & paste the backup folder to the external hard drive.
On Windows 10/8.1/8/7:
Click the Search bar on the taskbar > type the commands to access the iPhone backup file: \Users\(username)\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\ > connect the external hard drive to the PC > drag the iPhone backup folder to the external hard drive.
Mac users can also back up iPhone/iPad to an external hard drive via Image Capture, the built-in app on Mac. It's free of charge but only supports photo and movie backup.
How to back up an iPhone to Mac external hard drive via Image Capture?
1. Plug the external hard drive and your iPhone/iPad into the Mac.
2. Search for Image Capture via the Spotlight Search and launch Image Capture. Next, click the iPhone icon on the left sidebar and mark the photos or videos you want to back up or hit the Select all button.
3. Click Destination to select the external hard drive, find a folder on it to store data, and press the Import button. When completed, close all windows and disconnect your devices.
There is always a solution to answer how to back up an iPhone to an external hard drive, and I believe that no other tutorial offers a more comprehensive guide than us.
From the above description, you may easily find that iTunes is the most complicated way and Image Capture only supports pictures and videos. Meanwhile, Coolmuster iOS Assistant provides a one-click method for you to back up the iPhone/iPad to an external drive directly. Thus, I strongly recommend you select Coolmuster iOS Assistant.
If you run into difficulties during use and have something to let us know, please tell us in the comments.