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ED#180 : How To Switch The Location Of The Apple iTunes Backup Folder
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ED#180 : How To Switch The Location Of The Apple iTunes Backup Folder

Although Apple iCloud allows you to back-up the most important data on your iDevices, the Apple iTunes is still the ultimate backup option, unless you opt to pay for additional iCloud storage. This is because it allows for the full backup of all your iDevices on your computer. The downside though is the prodigious amount of space it needs to back-up your iDevices.

While iTunes is smart enough to skip the apps (which can always be downloaded) and store only the databases of those apps, it will backs-up photos and videos that are still in your Camera Roll. If you take a lot of photos and videos with your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, the backup can run into tens of gigabytes, especially if you own several iDevices.

This can be a problem for those who are using a solid state drive as they have limited storage capacity, so every gigabyte counts. Most SSD users would prefer the iTunes backup to be stored on a secondary drive, usually a hard disk drive. Unfortunately, Apple iTunes does not allow the backup files to be stored anywhere but on the boot drive itself.

This presents a problem for those who are either using a very small drive, or have partitioned the boot partition to be small. The lack of storage space may force you, the user, to stop backing up your iDevices, and could potentially result in lost photos and videos should your iDevice fail for whatever reason.

Apple has not seen it fit to provide us with a solution to the problem, but we have just the trick to allow you to use a separate partition or drive to store the iTunes backup files. Check it out!

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Just Move & Switch

  1. First, shut down Apple iTunes, if it's still running.

  2. Open Windows Explorer (Windows + E) and navigate to C:\Users\User Name\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync.

    Alternatively, you can type %AppData% into the address bar of Windows Explorer and then navigate to Apple Computer -> MobileSync.

  3. Once there, you will see a Backup folder. This is the folder that contains all of the iTunes backup files.

    Right click on the Backup folder to check how much space it is taking. This is an important step as you will need to move the folder to a partition with enough space (and then some for future use).

Switching the location of the Apple iTunes backup files

  1. Once you know how much space you need, create a folder in a partition or drive that has plenty of space. You can call it iTunes Backup for example.

    In our example, we had already moved the location of the iTunes Media folder to drive F, so we decided to move the Backup folder there without creating a new folder.

  2. Move the existing Backup folder from C:\Users\User Name\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync (or %AppData%\Apple Computer\MobileSync) to the new folder in your partition or drive of choice.

    Wait until you have finished moving all of the Backup folder to the new partition / drive.

Switching the location of the Apple iTunes backup files

  1. Next, you will have to fool Apple iTunes by creating an NTFS junction point. Think of it as a more powerful version of the Windows .lnk shortcut.

  2. To do this, open up the Command Prompt in Administrator mode. You can do this by searching for "cmd" and right clicking on it and select "Run as administrator".

  3. Option A : In Command Prompt, type mklink /J "%APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup" "the new location of the backup folder" and press Enter. In our example, the new location of the Backup folder is at F:\iTunes Media\Backup.

Switching the location of the Apple iTunes backup files

Option B : You can also type the full address as follows - mklink /J "C:\Users\Inspiron\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup" "the new location of the backup folder" and press Enter.

Switching the location of the Apple iTunes backup files

  1. Once you press Enter, Windows will instantly create a junction that will automatically redirect all reads and writes to the orignal Backup folder to the new Backup folder location in the new partition or drive. Apple iTunes will never know the difference.

Switching the location of the Apple iTunes backup files

  1. If you navigate back to C:\Users\User Name\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync (or %AppData%\Apple Computer\MobileSync), you will see what looks like a Backup shortcut. That's the NTFS junction.

Switching the location of the Apple iTunes backup files

The change takes immediate effect, and no restart is required. The next time you use iTunes to backup your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, the backup files will be stored in the new Backup location, ensuring that your boot partition never runs out of space.

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