How to Back Up iPhone to External Hard Drive on Windows or Mac


In today's digital age, our iPhones have become our trusted companions, storing cherished memories, critical data, and countless apps. However, what happens when your device is running low on storage space, or worse if it's lost or damaged? This is where the importance of knowing how to back up an iPhone to an external hard drive truly shines. Whether you're an avid photographer, a business professional with essential documents, or simply someone looking to safeguard their data, this article will guide you through the essential steps and tips to seamlessly and securely perform the invaluable task of backing up the iPhone to an external hard drive. So, let's embark on this journey of data protection and liberation as we unravel the secrets behind this vital skill.

how to back up iphone to external hard drive


Part 1. How to Back Up iPhone to External Hard Drive on Windows & Mac

Whether you're a Windows enthusiast or a devoted Mac user, this section will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to seamlessly and efficiently back up your iPhone to an external hard drive, ensuring that your precious data remains under your control, ready to be accessed whenever you need it.

Method 1. How to Back Up iPhone to External Hard Drive by Coolmuster iOS Assistant

Coolmuster iOS Assistant is a trusted and user-friendly software solution designed to facilitate the management and back up of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod data. This versatile tool empowers users to seamlessly transfer, back up, and restore their iOS device data, making it an essential tool for anyone looking for greater control over their digital life.

Its intuitive interface, coupled with robust features, ensures that users can effortlessly navigate the process of creating secure backups, which are vital for safeguarding cherished memories, important documents, and essential applications. Whether you are switching to a new device, dealing with data loss, or simply organizing your data, Coolmuster iOS Assistant is a valuable tool that simplifies the management of your iOS device's data, offering peace of mind in an increasingly digital world.

Some of its notable features include:

  • Back up the iPhone to an external hard drive or computer.
  • Transfer specific files like contacts, messages, photos, and more between iOS devices and computers.
  • Support both Windows and Mac operating systems.
  • Preview and selectively recover or transfer data before performing the actual operation.
  • Suitable for a range of iOS devices, including the latest iPhone, iPad, and iPod models.

Follow these steps to move the iPhone backup to an external drive.

01Download Coolmuster iOS Assistant, run it and connect your iPhone to the computer via USB. Also, plug in the external hard drive.

02Upon connection, the program will automatically detect your device. If prompted, select "Trust" on your iPhone and click "Continue" to proceed. You'll then find your iPhone information on the home interface.

connect to computer

03In the "Super Toolkit" section, choose "iTunes Backup & Restore" > "Backup". Select your iPhone, then customize the backup location by browsing the external hard drive. Confirm by clicking "OK" to transfer your iPhone data.

move iphone backup to external drive

At the same time, Coolmuster iOS Assistant supports selecting iPhone data to back up to an external hard drive.

01After the connection, select the data you want to back up, click the "Export" option, choose the appropriate file output format, and initiate the process.

export data to computer

02After the transfer finishes, the files will be stored on your computer, and you can proceed to transfer them to the external hard drive.

Read More:

[2023] How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to External Hard Drive in 5 Effective Ways?

2 Easy Ways to Transfer Music from iPhone/iPod to an External Hard Drive

Method 2. How to Move iPhone Backup to External Drive Through iCloud

Moving your iPhone backup to an external drive through iCloud can be a practical way to free up space on your local storage while keeping your data accessible. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to save iPhone backup to external hard drive:

Step 1. On your iPhone, go to "Settings". Tap your "Apple ID" at the top, then select "iCloud".

Step 2. Scroll down and select "iCloud Backup", then tap "Back Up Now" to initiate a new backup.

backup iphone to external hd

Step 3. On your computer (Windows or Mac), open a web browser, go to iCloud, and sign in with your Apple ID and password.

Step 4. Click on "Settings". Scroll down to "Advanced" and select "Restore Files". You'll see a list of available backups.

Step 5. Choose the one you want to download. Select "Download" and then follow the instructions to save the backup on your computer. It will typically be directed to your Downloads folder by default.

Step 6. Link your external hard drive to your computer. Locate the downloaded iCloud backup file on your computer. Copy this backup file to your external hard drive.

Can't Miss:

How to Transfer iCloud Photos to External Hard Drive with Ease

How to Transfer Photos from iPad to External Hard Drive with/Without Computer?

Part 2. How to Back Up iPhone to External Hard Drive on Windows by iTunes

You cannot directly back up your iPhone to an external hard drive using iTunes on Windows. iTunes stores iPhone backups on your computer's internal hard drive by default. However, you can back up your iPhone to your computer and then manually move the backup files to an external hard drive. Here's how you can do that:

Step 1. Connect your iPhone to your Windows computer with a USB cable. Open iTunes and select your iPhone when it appears in iTunes.

Step 2. In the left sidebar, click on "Summary". In the "Backups" section, click "Back Up Now". iTunes will generate an iPhone backup on your computer's built-in hard drive.

click back up now on itunes

Step 3. The location of the iPhone backups on your Windows PC will vary depending on your operating system. Here are the default locations for Windows:

Windows 11/10/8/7: C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup

Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup

how to save iphone backup to external hard drive

Step 4. Duplicate the complete "Backup" folder onto your external hard drive. You can do this by right-clicking on the folder and selecting "Copy", then pasting it into your external hard drive.

Note: Please note that the specific steps and default backup locations might vary depending on your Windows version and iTunes version. Be sure to check your system and iTunes settings for the most accurate information.

See Also:

[2023] How to Transfer Photos from Android Phone to External Hard Drive Directly?

Wondering How to Back Up iPhone to OneDrive? This One Tells

Part 3. How to Back Up iPhone to External Hard Drive on Mac via Finder

To back up your iPhone to an external hard drive on a Mac using Finder, you can follow these steps:

Step 1. Plug your external hard drive into one of the USB ports on your Mac. Make sure your Mac properly recognizes it.

Step 2. Open your external hard drive in Finder and create a new folder where you want to store your iPhone backup.

Step 3. Click on the "Finder" icon in your Mac's Dock to open a Finder window.

Step 4. Use a USB cable to connect your iPhone to your Mac. If you haven't connected your iPhone to this Mac before, you may need to tap "Trust This Computer" on your iPhone and enter your device passcode.

Step 5. In the Finder window, you should see your iPhone listed in the sidebar under "Locations". Click on your iPhone.

Step 6. In the iPhone management window, you'll see various options. To back up to your external hard drive, select the "Back up all of the data on your iPhone to this Mac" option.

how to back up iphone to external hard drive on mac

Step 7. By default, the backup is saved to your Mac's internal drive. To change the backup location to your external hard drive, click the "Manage Backups" button.

Step 8. In the Backup Management window, you'll see a list of backups. Select the backup you want to move to the external drive, and then click "Delete Backup". Confirm this deletion.

Step 9. Once you've deleted the backup, the backup location will reset to your Mac's internal drive. Click the "Back Up Now" button, and a dialog box will appear. In this dialog, select your external hard drive as the destination.

Step 10. Click the "Back Up" button in the dialog box to start the backup process. This will create a new backup on your external hard drive. Once the backup is complete, safely eject your iPhone from your Mac.

May Like:

How to Back Up iPhone Without Passcode [Simple Guide]

Easily Back Up Text Messages iPhone to Gmail in 5 Ways

Part 4. FAQs About How to Back Up iPhone to External Hard Drive

1. Can you back up your iPhone to an external hard drive without a computer?

Yes, you can. Here, we'll provide you with two possibilities for how to back up an iPhone directly to an external hard drive.

Using External Storage Devices: With an external hard drive or flash drive, you can back up iPhone data. These devices have a Lightning or USB-C connector for direct data backup. You'll need to install a dedicated app on your iPhone, connect the device, and follow its instructions to store backup files on the hard drive.

Using Wireless Hard Drives or Storage Devices: Certain wireless storage devices offer Wi-Fi backup capabilities through dedicated applications. When your phone is on the same Wi-Fi network, you can easily back up your data using these apps.

2. What is the advantage of backing up to an external hard drive over a computer?

Backing up to an external hard drive offers an additional layer of redundancy and security. If your computer fails, you still have a backup on the external hard drive.

3. What should I do if my external hard drive is full?

If your external hard drive is running out of space, consider deleting older backups or moving them to a larger drive. You can also compress backups to save space.

4. Why back up to an external hard drive?

While cloud-based backup solutions like iCloud offer convenience, there are several compelling reasons to consider creating a local backup on an external hard drive:

Added Redundancy: Diversifying your backup locations reduces the risk of data loss. If anything happens to your iCloud or iTunes backups, you'll have a secure copy on your external hard drive.

Complete Control: With a local backup, you have complete control over your data, and you don't rely on an internet connection or third-party services to access your backups.

Privacy and Security: Storing sensitive data locally on your external hard drive can provide an extra layer of privacy and security since it's not stored on remote servers.


Backing up your iPhone to an external hard drive is a prudent way to safeguard your valuable data. This approach not only provides added redundancy but also keeps your sensitive information secure and under your control. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can create and maintain reliable local backups of your iPhone, providing you with peace of mind in the event of data loss or device failure. In the above methods, we highly recommend Coolmuster iOS Assistant because it is secure and fast. Give it a try and download it now.

Related Articles:

5 Methods to Back Up an iPhone Without/with a Computer (Step-by-Step)

How to Back Up iPhone with Broken Screen (4 Possible Ways)

How to Backup and Restore iPhone with or Without iTunes?

How to Backup Messages on iPhone with 5 Top Ways

6 Best Methods to Backup iPhone Photos Effectively

3 Simple Ways to Back Up iPhone to Flash/USB/Thumb Drive [Reassuring Guide]

    iOS Transfer     How to Back Up iPhone to External Hard Drive on Windows or Mac
iOS Assistant
Back up and restore everything on iPhone/iPad/iPod with one click.
Freely manage iOS data and iTunes backup files on the computer.
Preview and selectively transfer files between iDevice and computer.
Widely support contacts, messages, photos, videos, music, notes, etc.
Terms & Conditions Privacy (UPDATED) License Agreement Uninstall Copyright © 2024 Coolmuster. All Rights Reserved.