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iGBHow-toHow to change iPhone backup location on Mac and Windows

How to change iPhone backup location on Mac and Windows

Are your iPhone or iPad backups taking up much storage space on your Mac? Finder stores your iTunes backups in a default location on your Mac. However, you may move those files to an external hard drive and back up your iPhone to a different location. In this blog, I will show you how to change iPhone backup location on Mac.

How to change iPhone backup location on Mac

You may wonder where is your iPhone backup stored on your Mac. All the backup files are hidden in a system folder named MobileSync. Besides, I strongly advise syncing the backup files to iCloud before you move its location. So, if anything goes wrong, you can still access the old backup.

  1. Launch Finder.
  2. Click Go in the menu bar → Select Go to Folder.

    Click on Go in the menu bar and select Go to Folder
  3. Type ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync → Hit return.

    Type the address: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync in the prompt displayed and hit return
  4. Select the Backup folder Right-click on it and choose Copy.

    Select the Backup folder, right-click on it and choose Copy
  5. Open another Finder window → Head to the location where you want to move the backup location.
  6. Right-click on the window → Choose Paste Item.
    Wait for it to finish and keep the window open.

    Open another Finder window
  7. Now, go back to the original Backup folder’s Finder window.
  8. Right-click on the folder → Select Rename.

    Go back to the original Backup folder's Finder window and right-click and select Rename to change the folder's name
  9. Type the new name → Hit return.
    I have put “.old” at the end of the name, like Backup.old.

    Type the new name and hit return
  10. Click the Apple logo () → Choose System Settings.

    Click Apple logo and choose System Settings
  11. Head to Privacy & Security → Select Full Disk Access.

    Head to Privacy & Security and select Full Disk Access
  12. Click the plus icon (+) → Enter your Mac’s Password.
    You can also scan your finger using Touch ID if it is set up.

    Click the (+) icon and enter your Mac’s Password
  13. Go to Applications → Select Terminal → Click Open.
    You may find it using the Search icon.

    Go to Applications, select Terminal, and click Open
  14. Toggle on Terminal.

    Toggle on the switch next to Terminal
  15. Launch Spotlight (cmd + Space bar) → Open Terminal.

    Launch Terminal
  16. Enter ln -s /Volumes/Drive/Backup/ ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/ → Hit return.
    It will create a symlink of the Backup file beside the old backup folder.

    Enter the command and hit return
  17. Connect your iPhone to your Mac using a USB C to lightning cable.
  18. Finally, launch Finder → Select your iPhone under Locations.
  19. Shift to the General tab → Click Back Up Now.

    Back Up your iPhone

How to make a personalized file path command for your backup location

  1. Open Notes.
  2. Copy the following command: ln -s /Volumes/Drive/Backup/ ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/.
  3. Change /Volumes/Drive/Backup/ part in the command to match the location of your own Backup folder.
    • If your Backup folder is in Macintosh HD → Users → Backup, your new command will be ln -s /Volumes/Macintosh HD/Users/Backup/ ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/.
    • If a location has multiple words like Macintosh HD, use a backslash and a single space like Macintosh HD.
    • If your Backup folder is in an external pen drive called Bhaskar, the command becomes ln -s /Volumes/Bhaskar/Backup/ ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/.
    • If the Backup folder is within a folder named iPhone on your pen drive, the command becomes ln -s /Volumes/Donald/iPhone/Backup/ ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/.

Now you know how to adjust the path in the command based on where your Backup folder is located. You’re now ready to use this command to perform specific tasks.

How to restore iPhone backup folder to its original location on Mac

  1. Open Finder → Click Go in the menu bar → Choose Go to Folder.
  2. Type ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync → Press return.
  3. Look for a file with an arrow icon.

    Look for a file with an arrow icon
  4. Right-click on the file → Select Move to Trash.
    You can also drag and drop the file to the bin icon.

    Right-click on the file and select Move to Trash
  5. To be safe, put the current Backup folder in the default location.
    Note: If you don’t do this step, a new Backup folder will be created automatically the next time you back up your device.

Now, all your upcoming iPhone backups will now go here.

How to change iPhone backup location on Windows laptop

If you’re using an iPhone alongside a Windows computer, don’t worry. You can change the location where your iPhone backup files are stored using Apple’s native iTunes application for Windows.

  1. Right-click on the Start → Select File Explorer.
  2. Go to the location where you want to move your iPhone backup.
  3. Right-click on an empty area → Choose New Folder.
  4. Rename the folder as MobileSync.
    Don’t close the File Explorer.
  5. Open a new File Explorer window.
  6. Go to C:UsersUserNameAppleMobileSync.
  7. Right-click on your current iPhone backup folder → Select Copy.
  8. Head back to the MobileSync folder you created earlier → Paste your iPhone backup folder.
  9. Rename the current iPhone backup folder to Old Backup.
  10. Right-click on the Start button → Click on Command Prompt.
  11. Type MkLink /J “C:UsersUserNameAppleMobileSyncBackup” “C:MobileSyncBackup”.

In case you installed iTunes from outside the Windows Store, type MkLink /J “C:UsersUserNameAppDataRoamingApple ComputerMobileSyncBackup” “C:MobileSyncBackup”.

Does changing the backup location affect the security or encryption of my backups?

No, changing the backup location doesn’t affect the security or encryption of your backups. Finder will still encrypt your backups if you’ve enabled encryption.

Will changing the backup location impact the storage used on my Mac’s system drive?

Yes, changing the backup location can help free up space on your Mac’s system drive. This can be particularly beneficial if your system drive runs low on storage.

Is there a risk of data loss when changing the backup location?

When following the correct procedures, the risk of data loss is minimal. However, it’s always recommended to have a backup of your data before making any changes to ensure you can restore it if needed.

Can I change the backup location for multiple iOS devices individually?

Yes, you can change the backup location for each iOS device individually. Create separate symbolic links or choose different locations using the Finder method.

Save space on your Mac!

Here’s how to create fresh backups for your iOS or iPadOS and stash them in a new spot. Shuffling backup files to another folder within your device’s insides doesn’t quite save space. Yet, if you move the iPhone backup to an external drive, you’ll lighten the load on your primary storage.

I hope the info above did the trick. If you hit a snag anywhere, please drop us a line in the comments section. I’m here to help!

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  • Ankur

    I have been an Apple user for over seven years now. At iGeeksBlog, I love creating how-tos and troubleshooting guides that help people do more with their iPhone, iPad, Mac, AirPods, and Apple Watch. In my free time, I like to watch stand up comedy videos, tech documentaries, news debates, and political speeches.

    View all posts

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