Delete Old iPhone Backups to Save Space

You may have old iPhone and iPad backups cluttering your Mac's hard drive. You can check for them in iTunes and delete ones you don't need anymore. It is important to do this through iTunes, and not to try and find and delete the files in the Finder.

Comments: 12 Responses to “Delete Old iPhone Backups to Save Space”

    Steve Maynard
    3 years ago

    If I do not “Archive” a file, when I back up my iPhone on my Mac, will Mac (iTunes) create a new file for each back up…or will it save the new backup by replacing the prior one? If not, how many backups would you suggest I save? (P.S. Thanks for this very helpful post!)

    3 years ago

    Steve: Normal backup replaces the previous backup with a new one. The Archive function means you keep the old one and start a new backup the next time. Unless you have some specific need (like a developer wishing to archive states of an iPhone during beta releases) then you never need to use the Archive function. Just having one backup is fine. You can also use only iCloud backups and not have any. I do both iCloud and local since I have plenty of local drive space.

    Lynda Farabee
    3 years ago

    I’m fixin’ to change iPhones so this was very beneficial. Like the new format of newsletter.

    Marcia
    3 years ago

    I back up to the cloud so this isn’t necessary, correct?

    3 years ago

    Marcia: For most people, backing up your iPhone to iCloud is your best option. For people like me that have the drive space, it doesn’t hurt to do a local backup every once in a while too.

    Lynda
    3 years ago

    Why is backing up to iCloud best option?

    3 years ago

    Lynda: Good question. For one, it doesn’t rely on you connecting your iPhone to your Mac. I rarely do, since iCloud means I never have to sync anything. iCloud backup will happen wirelessly on a regular schedule with nothing to do on your part. Second, it backs up even when you are away from your computer — like when traveling. Also, it means in a disaster that takes both your iPhone and computer, you have an off-site backup to get a replacement iPhone going.

    Randy Miler
    3 years ago

    Great tutorial. Found several old backups of devices that I no long even own. Thanks so much and keep up the great work!!

    Marty
    3 years ago

    Very helpful, but two questions: my 6S Plus shows 51.56 GB as “Used” on the iphone, but when I use “Get Info” to look at back-up on Mac, it’s just 8.8 GB. And to make things even more confusing, the iphone shows 7.21 GB available, but when I back-up on my Mac, iTunes says there’s 11.55 GB available? Thanks.

    3 years ago

    Marty: When you backup, you are including data, not apps. That’s the biggest difference. Other things could be cloud items like photos. There are also differences in what iTunes counts and what the Settings app counts on your iPhone.

    Joe Grillo
    3 years ago

    I love watching your videos. I tried this on and was unable to reach the file you suggested at 0.23 seconds which is Mobile Sync. I am on OS 10.12.1 which may be the reason.

    3 years ago

    Joe: Using 10.12.1, naturally, as it is the current version. Perhaps you aren’t using iTunes to backup locally at all? Did you see anything in iTunes?

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