In iTunes (12.3 on Windows), clicking

Edit > Preferences... > Device tab

shows an empty list of backups even though there should be a bunch of them.

I needed to get my phone replaced, so I backed up my phone last night, took it to Apple today and got a replacement. In trying to restore the new phone from the backup, iTunes never offered the option - it would just say "Welcome to your new iPhone" with a Continue button.

No matter what I did, it would never offer the option to restore from a previous backup. So I selected Continue and it set it up as a new phone. The options to restore from a previous Backup were greyed out. I tried various suggestions from the internet with no luck - for example, doing a backup and then holding down shift when clicking the Restore button without any luck.


One of the backup folders was causing a problem.

Here is where the backups are stored:

On Windows at %AppData%\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\

On Mac it's at ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup

Here's what to do:

  1. Move all the folders in the Backup folder to a different location
  2. Move a single folder back (I did it in reverse chronological order)
  3. Click on Edit > Preferences > Device tab to see if the backups show in the list
  4. Repeat 2 and 3 until you get an empty list - you've found the bad backup folder (or at least a backup that the newer iTunes can't understand)
  5. Delete or move that bad backup

In my case, it was an old iPad 1 iOS5 backup that was causing the problem.

This can also be caused if you have your iTunes storage on a different drive. I just had this issue and when it backed up it stored to the C: drive instead of the F: drive where I have all my iTunes files. I just needed to move the folder from the path above on the C: drive to the same path on the F: drive.

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protected by Community Dec 3 '16 at 13:46

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