So I have recently updated from iOS 6 to 7, but in the process, I did a clean restore. Beforehand though, I have done a backup in iTunes before the update.

Something I forgot to grab when doing the restore was a voice memo that I somewhat need. And my question is, is there a way to get the voice memo without restoring my iPhone to iOS 6 and restoring from the backup just to get the file?

1 Answer 1


I would do the restore and get the memo (or sync them all to iTunes or another program like PhoneView)

That might take 10 seconds of your brain time to get going and some waiting. I've not found a speedy way to dig amongst the backup files to locate specific memos.

The backup files are stored plainly in ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/ but there might be 8,000 files with names friendly to the backup process and not to you and I.

Perhaps if you knew the size of the file, you could narrow down the audio file or drag a few hundred of the closest sized files into iTunes to see which of them are actual sound / movie files. Scripting the file command to determine which are sound files might narrow the search.

  • Brilliant! I knew about the location of the backup but gave up with the impossibility of the filenames. But then following on with your answer, I did a voice memo of the same length and figured out the file size that it would be. Then all I did was chuck every file within 10KB of that size into iTunes and what do you know, it was the first file that played! Thanks heaps for that tip! Sep 19, 2013 at 13:53
  • Awesomesauce! Spotlight doesn't work well on those backup files, quicklook does - by a stroke of luck you had enough intuition to take advantage of the "metadata" and pluck your memo from obscurity. Well done.
    – bmike
    Sep 19, 2013 at 14:01

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