How to Change the iTunes Backup Location

iTunes is a valuable program that organizes your music and videos so that you can easily manage them. The trouble with iTunes, in particular, and Apple products, in general, is the company’s uncompromising approach to doing things. If they set a default drive for saving data, then changing it isn’t very simple unless they allow it. This scenario proves true regarding iTunes backups, which don’t officially have a way to specify a different backup drive.

How to Change the iTunes Backup Location

In this article, we’ll show you how to change the iTunes backup location to manage the amount of space the program occupies in your drives.

Changing the iTunes Backup Location

As mentioned above, iTunes will have its preset save location in drive C, which you cannot change. There are a few ways to get around the situation, and even some knowledge of computers is enough to handle it. Depending on your platform, the methods will be slightly different.

How to Change the iTunes Backup Location on Windows 10

To allow iTunes to backup files into the directory of your choice, you will have to trick the program into using a symbolic link, which redirects any files copied into them to a different location. Any data that usually writes to the specified location is stored in the assigned/linked place instead. If you’re using Windows 10, then the steps you can follow would be:

  1. Open the Windows “Run” window by either pressing “Windows key + R” on your keyboard or typing “run” into the “Search” bar.
  2. Copy/paste “%APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync into the “Run” window. This action should open the default location for iTunes backups.
  3. In the folder that opens, there should be one named “Backup.” Rename this folder to save its contents; a good name would be “Backup.old” so you know what it contains. Alternatively, you can move this folder to another location or delete the folder entirely.
  4. Create the “backup directory” to send your iTunes backups.
  5. Open the “Command prompt” by typing in”cmd"or”command"in the taskbar search.
  6. Navigate to the “iTunes” backup folder by typing in”cd %APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync"in the “Command prompt” and pressing “Enter.”
  7. Type in the command “mklink /d “%APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup” “[target directory] “with quotation marks. Replace the “target directory” with the address of where you want the backup stored. As with the previous step, you can copy and paste the folder address to the command. Just ensure you enclose it in quotation marks.
  8. If you encounter an error saying that you can’t perform the operation, ensure that you run the command prompt as an administrator. You can right-click on the command prompt app on the search bar and choose “Run as administrator.”
  9. Every time you hit auto-backup on iTunes, it will send all the backup files to the target directory that you’ve created.

How to Change the iTunes Backup Location on Mac

If you’re using a Mac, the process will be similar to Windows. You’ll also have to create a symbolic link to trick iTunes into redirecting its backup files. The process for doing this on iOS is as follows:

  1. From your Dock, open the “Finder” app.
  2. Click on the “Go” Menu.
  3. Select “Go to Folder” from the dropdown menu.
  4. In the pop-up window, type “~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync.”
  5. Rename the folder that you find there. You can also delete or move it, but deletion removes all previous backups.
  6. Open a new “Finder” window by pressing “Command + N” on your keyboard. Go to where you want to redirect your backup files, then create a “new backup folder” there.
  7. Open the “Terminal” App; you can access this by going to “Applications > Utilities.”
  8. Type in”sudo ln -s “[target]” ~/Library/Application\Support/MobileSync/Backup"without the outside quotes. Replace “[target]” with the address of the folder you want your backup files stored in and press “Enter.”
  9. Type in your “admin password” when prompted.
  10. A “symbolic link” gets created in the iTunes backup directory. Performing a local backup now redirects the files to your specified location.

How to Access Backups in iTunes

As mentioned in the above steps, you can access your backup files by either typing in”%APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync” in the “Run” app on Windows, or “~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync” in the Finder app for Mac. These locations are the default backup directory. If you’ve changed it by creating a symbolic link, you can access the backup files in the new directory you created.

How to Automatically Change the Backup Location in iTunes

If you think using Command or Terminal codes is too complicated, you can download apps to do the job. CopyTrans Shelbee for Windows 10 and iPhone Backup Extractor for iOS can automatically switch the iTunes backup location for you. The process entails downloading another application to your computer, but if typing in directory codes isn’t your cup of tea, you have an alternative.

iTunes Backup Folder FAQs

Can I Move My iPhone Backup to Another Drive?

Technically, no. Apple doesn’t allow you to mess with the location of backup folders. There hasn’t been an update that allowed users to specify the backup target directory since automatic backups got introduced. That said, there are ways to subvert this restriction.

One is creating symbolic links, which redirect backup files to another folder. You can also copy and paste the files manually if you wish. Until Apple changes the policies, getting around the default limits is the only way to use another drive for backups.

How Do I Change My iPhone’s Backup Location?

There is no way to change your iPhone’s backup location from the device officially. Apple doesn’t want you fiddling with their default settings, and it seems there won’t be any updates to change this. However, creating symbolic links for either Windows or Mac can bypass the situation.

Alternatively, you can copy and paste your backup folder to another drive. All Apple devices, whether an iPhone, an iMac, or an iPad, use the iTunes app to back up their files. Following the steps can trick the iTunes app into automatically backing up to a different drive.

How Do I Customize My iPhone’s Backup Location?

You can’t. Apple doesn’t allow users to change the default location for its system backups. There is no official way in the iPhone device or the iTunes app that allows the user to change this. You can use symbolic links or download a third-party program to move backups.

Where to Find Your Backup Folder in iTunes?

Depending on your platform, it can either be in %APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync or ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync. If you can’t find the folder, try to search for MobileSync in either the Search App for Windows or the Finder app for Mac.

However, if you’ve already redirected your backup, it should be in the directory you specified. Please refer to the instructions above to search for the exact location of your backup folders.

Is It OK to Delete the Backup Folder When Creating a Symbolic Link?

You can rename, move, or delete the folder when creating a symbolic link. Deleting the folder outright isn’t recommended, even if you succeed in creating a symbolic link. The original backup folder contains older backup files that you may need if you encounter a system error.

Automatic backups usually have files with different timestamps to restore your system to a time before encountering an error. Deleting the default backup folder outright will deprive you of those timestamped backup files.

Finding a Way Around Limitations

Although Apple has set limitations on users’ abilities to mess with the default settings concerning its devices’ backup files, intrepid users always find a way. Knowing how to change the iTunes backup location allows you to manage the space your backup files occupy.

Do you know of another way to change the iTunes backup location? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

4 thoughts on “How to Change the iTunes Backup Location”

Barnetman says:
Why can’t you move the backup folder to another drive/location and create an alias of the back folder to sit in the iTunes library ?
Steve Larner says:
You can’t move the backup folder because the default folder and location are not changeable. Therefore, you must create a symlink that directs it to a different location but iTunes still thinks it is in the default location.
Pio says:
Thank you very much
Captain Groovenuts says:
This is an absolute h**f*** when it comes to unnecessarily moving huge chunks of data, to a drive you paid thousands of dollars to be able to manage yourself!

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