iTunes Backup Location: Where Do iTunes Store Backups and How to Change iTunes Backup Location? (Updated)
"When I sync my iPhone 4 with my iTunes, the latter starts to make a backup before doing the actual sync. This backup often takes a lot of time to make, which is very annoying. What is even worse is that the backup is stored on my C-partition. I consider a backup being data, and I wish to store data in a different location than the one used for my operating system. Could anyone in this forum advise me how to accomplish this?"
- Excerpted active question in StackExchange.com
If you want to change the iTunes backup location like him, you cannot miss the complete guide in this post, which teaches you where to find the iTunes backup file location, how to change iTunes backup location, and how to back up your iPhone/iPad/iPod fast on a Windows PC or Mac computer.
If you are ready, here we go!
Part 1. Where Do iTunes Store Backups on Windows and Mac?
Part 2. How to View Backups on iTunes?
Part 3. How to Change iTunes Backup Location on Your Computer?
Bonus Tips: Use the Best iTunes Alternative to Back Up Your iPhone/iPad/iPod Easily
When you use iTunes to back up your iOS device data, it saves data to a computer folder called MobileSync by default on Windows and macOS. But the storage path differs on different operating systems. Here are the paths for different devices:
In Windows 10/8/7/Vista, the path is like C:\Users\Your username\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\ or C:\Users\Your username\Apple\MobileSync\Backup\
In Windows XP, the path is similar to C:\Documents and Settings\Your username\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\
The Microsoft Store version of iTunes stores data in a path like C:\Users\Your username\Apple\MobileSync\Backup\
In macOS X and Sierra, the path is located in ~/Users/Your username/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/
Note: In macOS 10.15, iTunes is no longer back up your iDevice. Instead, Finder does this job. However, you can check the backup files in the same location.
Now you know where the iTunes backup location is on your computer, you can manually find the backup files with the path above. Or, use the smart ways to access the iTunes backups on Windows and Mac easily.
2.1 How to Find Backups on iTunes from Windows and Mac Manually?
One way is to open the path C:\Users\Your username\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\ to go to the Windows iTunes backups location step by step. Well, another way is to use the command windows to locate the iTunes backups quickly.
On Window 10/8/7:
1. Find the Search bar in Windows 10/8/7:
In Windows 10, click the Search bar next to the Start button at the screen's lower-left corner.
In Windows 8, hit the magnifying glass at the top-right corner of the screen.
In Windows 7, tap Start from the bottom-left corner and find the Search bar in the menu.
2. Enter the following string in the Search bar:
%USERFROFILE% (if you downloaded the Microsoft Store version of iTunes on your computer)
3. Hit the Enter key.
4. Double-click the folders in turns: Apple or Apple Computer > MobileSync > Backup.
1. Click the magnifier icon in the menu bar, usually located at the screen's top-right corner.
2. Copy and paste ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/, and click the Enter key to find the backups.
To find a specific backup file on your Mac, the following steps show you how:
1. On macOS Catalina 10.15 or higher versions, open Finder. And on macOS Mojave 10.14 or lower versions and Windows PC, run iTunes.
2. Click your device name.
3. Find the wanted backup file in Finder or iTunes.
In Finder, click Manage Backups under General, and right-click the backup file you want, select Show in Finder.
In iTunes, click Preferences and select Devices. After that, you can right-click the backup you want and tap Show in Finder.
2.2 How to See Backups in iTunes via Coolmuster iPhone Backup Extractor (Easy & Quick)
If you think the above methods are a little complicated to view backups on iDevices, you can use Coolmuster iPhone Backup Extractor. As its name implies, this easy app helps you extract the data from iTunes backup files on your Windows or Mac computer without connecting your iPhone, iPad, or iPod to the computer. Specifically, it supports to restore photos, contacts, call history, messages and its attachments, Safari data, calendars, and more files from the iTunes backup. And it works well with Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP (64 & 32 bits), and macOS X 10.7 or later versions.
Most importantly, the operation is simple - you only need to click the mouse. Then, this intuitive and user-friendly app starts to automatically detect the iTunes backup files on your computer and list them on the screen for you to preview and restore the data you want. Indeed, it's worth a try.
Let's see how to find backups on iTunes without connecting your iDevice and running iTunes.
1. Run Coolmuster iPhone Backup Extractor on our computer.
Launch this iTunes backup extractor on your computer after installation. After that, it will automatically detect the computer and display the backup records of all your devices that you have synced with iTunes on this computer. Then, highlight the right one from the list and click the Start Scan button to extract files from the iTunes backups.
2. Scan and preview data.
Once the scanning is over, you will see all iTunes backups in different categories on this program. You can click one data type from the left panel and preview the detailed information. If you want, you can click the Recover button below to restore the selected backups to your iPhone/iPad/iPod.
Generally, you cannot directly change the location of iTunes backup to other drives. Nevertheless, it is possible and easy to change iTunes backup location. Don't believe it? Just follow the instructions below to get it done on your PC or Mac.
Change iTunes Backup Location on Windows 10/8/7:
1. Make a copy of the default iTunes backup location - C:\Users\Your username\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\.
2. Create a new backup location and use the cd command to enter the newly-related location.
3. Head to the default iTunes backup location - C:\Users\Your username\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\ and remove the backup directory as well as all the files.
4. Return to Command Prompt, enter the command (quotes included) to create a symbolic link: cmd/c mklink\J "%APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup" "D:\backup" and press the Enter key. This virtually connects the two locations and changes iTunes backup location.
Move iTunes Backups Location on Mac:
1. Make your backups show in Finder.
Open Finder > click your device name from the left window > choose Manage Backups > select the desired device from the list and press down the Control key on the selected device > tap the Show in Finder option.
2. Move the backups to an external hard drive.
- Open the external hard drive after connecting it to your Mac > back to the Finder initial interface and choose the Backup folder you (or the folder that has a combination of digits and letters)
- Drag and drop it to the external hard drive > input the administrator password to authenticate the operation.
- Rename the new iOS backup folder you dragged into the external hard drive as the ios_backup > confirm your operation with the administrator password.
- Rename the default iTunes backup file in Finder as the old_backup. Please note that the punctuation and spacing in names should not be omitted.
3. Create a symbolic link to set a new iTunes backup location.
- Click Finder on the menu bar at the upper-left corner > choose System Preferences > select Security & Privacy > Privacy.
- Tap Click the lock to make changes at the lower-left corner and enter the system password followed by Unlock if the screen is locked out; otherwise, skip to the next step > press Full Disk Access from the left side of the screen.
- Tap + to add a Terminal to the app list > input Terminal in Finder's search bar and highlight Terminal among the results > hit Open.
- Then, find Terminal with the Spotlight > type the code: In -s /Volumes/**External**/ios_backup~/Library/Application/Support/MobileSync/Backup/**4f1234a05e6e7ccbaddfd12345678f1234b123f**
- After typing in the code, hit the Enter key. Next, exit the Terminal.
4. Confirm whether it backs to the new location.
Open Finder > tap your device name from the left window > tap Back Up Now under the General tab > open the ios_backup folder in the external hard drive > check whether there the data and time update after you made the backup just now.
If it works, you can delete the old_backup folder from your Mac.
To change the iTunes backup location and back up your iOS device easily and safely, Coolmuster iOS Assistant is another amazing way you can try. It allows you to customize the iPhone backup location on your computer and backs up and restores your iPhone 12 Pro Max/12 Pro/12/12 mini/11 Pro Max/11 Pro/XS/X to your computer or iTunes without iCloud or iTunes, including contacts, messages, photos, videos, notes, music, books, bookmarks, user apps, calendars, etc. Apart from this, it also lets you manage the iOS data on the computer: edit, add, delete contacts, add new notes (not supported in iOS 10 and later), add, edit, delete bookmarks, uninstall apps, and so on.
How to back up and restore iPhone using Coolmuster iOS Assistant? You can follow this guide.
Note: To change the iTunes backup location, you can tap Browse to customize a different backup location on your computer when you reach this interface. After backing up, you will find the backups in your customized location.
Words in the End
If you want to change the iTunes backup location, you can first find the default iTunes backup location on your computer and then follow the instructions above to customize the iOS backup location. As you can see, the command way is too complex for people without programming knowledge, and only the Coolmuster iPhone Backup Extractor and the Coolmuster iOS Assistant are the easiest ways to view the iTunes backups and change the iTunes backup location on the computer. Hence, I highly recommend you to try these two tools.
If you run into difficulties when using, please let us know in the comment.