I have a 16 GB iPhone and there are a few sizable (~1 GB) games that I have not played lately, but I would like to preserve my progress in case I play them again at some future time.

These games do not store progress in iCloud or some other network service; they appear to save only to the device. If I delete them from the device, either from the springboard or with iTunes, their data is lost; it does not appear to be preserved in the iTunes backup.

What can I do to preserve data but free space on my device?


Make sure you are on iOS 11, then got to Settings>General>iPad Storage Tap the app,then tap Offload App

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  • 1
    Big thank you for showing up and editing, answering some old questions with very nice improvements. – bmike May 4 '18 at 1:13

I've found I can use iExplorer to make copies of preferences files, etc.

The (somewhat tedious) click-driven process is as follows:

  1. Start iExplorer, navigate to device, Apps.

  2. Locate the app to back up data for. (This can be tricky, as not all apps are named internally similarly to their friendly public name.)

  3. Browse the app contents. Generally, game progress is stored in Library/Preferences.

  4. Drag the appropriate files to a local disk for safekeeping.

  5. Delete the app.

  6. When the app is reinstalled later, drag the files back in their previous place and restart the app.

iExplorer also has a mode for automatically mounting one of its folders as a FUSE for OSX volume when an iOS device is connected; this allows me to connect my device and then use the command line to more efficiently back up and restore documents and preferences.

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  • i prefer iFunBox its also crossplatform and let you easily install apps without iTunes. (No jailbreak required for signed apps) – Laszlo Jan 17 '14 at 14:51
  • @TussLászló Based on some cursory investigation, it looks like the workflow is largely the same as with iExplorer? i.e. you still have to go look for the app data yourself and back up/restore it? – zigg Jan 17 '14 at 15:02
  • Yes, but it's free (with Ads). – Laszlo Jan 17 '14 at 15:17

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