When I sync my iPhone 4 with my iTunes, the latter starts to make a backup before doing the actual sync. This backup often takes a lot of time to make, which is very annoying. What is even worse (imo) is that the backup is stored on my C-partition (where my WinXP Pro sp3 is installed and running). I consider a backup being data, and I wish to store data in a different location than the one used for my operating system.

Searching the web, I found many people who were mad at the waste of time the mandatory backup caused, and I even learnt how to prevent the backup process from starting while syncing. I could not, however, find any information for how to re-direct the location of backups made by iTunes, so I could choose a different partition than the default one.

Could anyone in this forum advise how to accomplish this?

Thanks for any help.


  • I really think, because of the nature of this question, that it is better suited to SuperUser superuser.com than in StackOverflow. This is an online community geared to programming questions, not how to setup or configure non-programming related applications. :)
    – Wayne Hartman
    Apr 26, 2011 at 2:12
  • Thanks Wayne for re-directing my question to the best Forum for it. Thanks timbooo for the link to the tutorial. I will test it. Best regards Wilbour
    – user6085
    Apr 28, 2011 at 0:53

5 Answers 5


For Mac OS X, I had to use this guide: http://osxdaily.com/2011/03/05/how-to-move-the-iphoneipad-itunes-backup-folder-to-an-external-hard-drive/ and create a symbolic link to move the Backup folder, but it worked great.

The main thing is to move the Backup folder to an external drive/partition that has more space and then create a symbolic link like so:

ln -s /Volumes/YourExternalDrive/Backup/ ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup

Then execute a Backup by syncing via iTunes to try it out.


The iPhone backup is stored to he %APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup, where the %APPDATA% is typically in the C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming.

Even on Windows, you can create a symbolic link to redirect the Backup folder elsewhere.

  • Close iTunes.
  • Create a folder on another drive (e.g. D:\apple_backup) and move the contents of the above folder there.
  • Remove the (now empty) Backup folder.
  • Create a Backup symbolic link pointing to the new location:

    mklink /D "%APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup" "D:\apple_backup"

Actually, while I was doing this, I have moved whole Apple Computer folder as there are more large files other than device backups. Note that for that you need to kill some background Apple processes that use these folders (like SyncServer.exe, etc.)

For more details refer to:

  • 1
    This is the correct answer to the original question.
    – Adam Rice
    Sep 14, 2016 at 13:35
  • 1
    :) "Even on Windows"
    – GEdgar
    Oct 14, 2016 at 18:04
  • As an addition to the above, I had to change the command to make a link to a network drive as per this link: superuser.com/a/1017659 creating a directory and using the /D flag worked where /J resulted in 'Local volumes are required to complete this operation'
    – majjam
    Jun 12, 2018 at 20:50
  • For me it was enough using symlinks inside “Apple Computer” for the possibly large directories iTunes>iPhone Software Updates and for MobileSync>Backup, the rest is just 190 MB, in case that iTunes might need other data from the “Apple Computer“ directory later when my external drive is not available. Then you do not need to stop any Apple background processes. Jul 21, 2020 at 19:34

The actual backup iTunes makes stores it in this folder if you on computer

Mac OS: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup
Windows XP: %AppData%\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup
Windows Vista: %AppData%\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup
Windows 7: %AppData%\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup

There is a GUID directory under it, you may have two since you chose new iPhone, or it might have overwritten the existing one, take a look there. If you have two then maybe the other one is your old one. Youd need to go into your iPhone and delete the iTunes_control directory and reconnect it to iTunes and see if it lets you pick that backup.

If you want to transfer iphone to computer, just follow these tutorials:
For PC: How to transfer or backup iPhone contents to Windows
For Mac: How to transfer contents from iPhone to Mac OS

Taylor B.


iTunes does not have a mechanism to store it's data (your backups) outside the home folder for your user.

This is more an operating system issue than an itunes issue. On mac there are lots of options to set up a user folder elsewhere or use aliases and sym links to redirect certain folders to a different location. Most of these links don't work across volumes on a mac. Sorry to play ping pong with this question but it might get a better audience in super user as the best place to learn how to have the windows os fake a program to store files in an alternate location.

You might also look in the registry to see if iTunes has a variable for this Location that you could try to change.

The good news is that apple documents the locations of iTunes files as well as mobile backup files so you can plan and play around to see what works for you. You might just have to clean out old backups to make enough space. My backup folder for a 32g iPad and four phones (one 8, one 16 and two 32) only takes up 8 Gb on disk.

  • iTunes on Windows allows you to use symlinks as well, see the answer of @MartinPrikryl. Jul 21, 2020 at 19:22
  1. Connect iPhone to Computer
  2. Open iTunes and click the "device" icon on the top left (next to music, videos, and TV icons)
  3. Click Summary and scroll down to Options
  4. Uncheck "Automatically sync when this iPhone is connected
  5. You're done

You must log in to answer this question.