Need to free up space on your computer? Check your iPhone backups; it usually eats up a lot of hard drive space. Sometimes, it can go up to 64 GB for one device.
If you don’t have a lot of space, it’s quite tempting to delete it, but you’ll regret it when you end up needing it in the future. It contains all your files, from your location data to your precious photos.
It’s easy to copy it to another location, but to use it, you’ll have to return it to its original location. The best way to free up some space, therefore, is to change the iPhone backup location.
Read on to learn how to find the exact location of the backup and how to change it.
Find Your iPhone Backup Location on Mac
Even when you’ve learned how to backup iPhone on Mac systems, you may not know where your computer is saving your backup. If you want to find it, follow either of the methods below.
1. Via Spotlight
To open Spotlight, hit the Command button and Space bar. Type or copy and paste the following into the text box:
It should be the first folder. Click on it once, and it will show you the files and folders it contains. You’ll also see the date on which you created the files and folders, indicating the date of your backup(s).
Double-click it, and it will take you to the iTunes iPhone backup location.
2. Via Finder
Another way you can search for the folder is to go to Finder, click the Go menu, and choose Go to Folder. Alternatively, you can press Command + Shift + G while you’re on Finder.
This will open a text box. Copy and paste the following, and click Go.
This will take you straight to the iPhone backup location.
3. Via iTunes
Open the iTunes app; it doesn’t matter whether you have your iPhone connected or not. Then, go to the iTunes menu and select Preferences.
It will open a pop-up box; navigate toward the Devices tab. You’ll see all the backups you have on your Mac here.
If you click it, you have three choices: Delete, Archive, and Show In Finder.
Click the last option, and it will take you to the Finder folder containing the backup.
4. Via iCloud
If you have your iPhone backup stored in iCloud, you have to access it through System Preferences. Look for the gear on your Dock or select the System Preferences option from the Apple menu, represented by the Apple icon on the top-left corner of your screen.
Click iCloud and click the Manage button on the bottom-right corner of the window. Look for the Backups tab on the left pane and you’ll find all the backups you have on the right pane.
How to Find your iPhone Backup Location on Windows
On Windows, the backups should also be in the MobileSync folder. You can try to look for your backups through iTunes following the same instructions as the above. Or, do any of the methods below.
1. Via Navigating to the Folder
The most straightforward way is navigating to the folder yourself. On Windows 7/8/10, go to the MobileSync\Backup\ folder from your AppData route.
Replace “(username)” with your username. On Windows XP, the folder path is a bit different.
The Microsoft version of iTunes may also be storing the backup in a different folder:
2. Via the Search Bar
If you don’t want to click through all those folders, you can search for it instead. Bring up the search bar.
On Windows 7, you can find it by clicking Start. On Windows 8, click the magnifying glass on the top-right corner. On Windows 10, the search bar should be next to the Start button.
In the search bar, enter %appdata%. If you have the Microsoft version of iTunes, enter %USERPROFILE%, and hit Return or Enter.
Then, find the Apple or Apple Computer folder and double-click it. Find the MobileSync folder, double-click it, then go to Backup.
Change iPhone Backup Location
Once you learn how to find your iPhone backup location, you can now do as you wish: delete it or copy it. Apple cautions against moving it as that may ruin the files. It’s possible, but not many people know how to do it safely, so it’s best to leave it there instead.
Technically, you can’t change the backup location, either. Instead, you can create a symbolic link so that there will still be a Backup folder in the same location, but it will lead to the files in another place.
Confused? Think of it as creating a shortcut from one folder to another folder.
1. Creating a Symbolic Link on Mac
You may have to first change the permissions for Terminal on your Mac. To do this, go to System Preferences, select Security & Privacy, then choose the Privacy tab.
Click the lock on the bottom-left corner, input your Mac password, and click on the Full Disk Access tab on the left pane. Click the “+” button, scroll over to the utility folder, and select Terminal.
Next, copy the Backup folder to where you want your new folder located. Don’t delete the original folder; rename it to something like “old_backup” or whatever variation you prefer.
Next, open the Terminal app.
Don’t forget to edit the “/Volumes/Files/Backup/” portion to the actual path of the new location. This works even with external hard drives, but you have to make sure to plug it in before you perform another backup or recovery.
You can now delete the original Backup folder that you renamed.
2. Creating a Symbolic Link on Windows
On Windows, do the same steps: copy the original Backup folder to its new location, rename it, and then open the Command window. Hold Shift and right-click on the MobileSync Explorer window. Then, select “Open command window here” or “Open PowerShell window here.”
Enter the following command and press Enter:
mklink /d Backup “[desired-new-backup-path]”
The change will be complete afterward, but to make sure it works, restart your computer.
Change Your iPhone’s Backup Location Now
After you’ve completed the above steps in changing your iPhone backup location, you now have more free space on your computer. All the backups you perform afterward will go to the new location you choose.
But why stop here when there’s so much more to discover to get the most out of your Apple products? If you need more helpful tips, read more of our tech guides right here, today.