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I'm trying to move some pictures from my laptop to my iPad, but every time the first thing iTunes starts doing is making a backup of the iPad.

But since I already keep a backup at my desktop, I want iTunes to back off and just let me move the pictures!

So how can I prevent iTunes from making automatic backups?

Woops, missed on tiny detail: I'm using Windows 7! But feel free to leave OSX solutions as well

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Mac Answer:

You can disable device backups with this terminal command:

defaults write DeviceBackupsDisabled -bool true

More info here.

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Sorry @Nathan, forgot to add I was running Windows 7 – Ivo Flipse Jan 13 '11 at 23:51
This one is Mac-only. Just posted a Windows way. – Nathan Greenstein Jan 13 '11 at 23:53

Go to iTunes and open its Preferences window (Command ⌘+,). Select Devices from the toolbar and check the "Prevent iPads, iPods from syncing automatically" option.

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PC Answer:

You can edit the iTunesPrefs.xml file to disable backups on Windows.
This article has directions.

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With iOS 5, it is possible to back up to iCloud. You can use this to your advantage in this situation if you tell your iPad to back up to iCloud. It will then no longer back up to your computer.

This can be done either from iTunes or on your iPad itself Here's a screenshot in the General tab, visible when a device is selected. Helpful screenshot of iCloud/computer backups

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This worked for me on Windows 7.

First make sure iTunes is closed, then follow these steps:

  1. Open the command window (Start > Run > Cmd)
  2. Go to the iTunes folder using either cd C:\Program Files\iTunes or cd C:\Program Files(x86)\iTunes depending on where iTunes is installed on your PC
  3. Type this command: iTunes /setPrefInt AutomaticDeviceBackupsDisabled 1

Voila! Your iLife just got better.

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