I found that the apps I have stored in iTunes take up more than 10GB of space on my computer. Since I have a 128GB SSD I'd like to tell iTunes not to backup apps. I can download them again for free, anyway. If I uncheck the Sync Apps box, I get the message:

Are you sure you do not want to sync apps? All existing apps and their data on the iPhone "kPhone" will be removed.

  • 1
    At the moment, you cannot. When you sync your phone, any purchases on the device that aren't located on your computer will be transferred. But with iCloud/iOS 5, this will likely be a thing of the past. So just hold out for a few weeks.
    – user10355
    Sep 18, 2011 at 19:46

2 Answers 2


Back up apps is probably a wrong wording as you don't want to store the apps at all on your iTunes, if I understood you correct.

One option could be, to disable app sync. However, all apps are then probably deleted from your device and you have to download all of the again on your device again. If your apps will be deleted from your iOS device, you also will lose all the application data. Also the application data wont be backed up then to your iTunes (but could be backed up to iCloud).

Although you can redownload apps for free, you should keep in mind, that a developer (or Apple) can also remove an app from sale. It is then no longer possible to redownload the app. If you still have the app in your iTunes you still can continue to use it.

  • Yea, I know that. I am not okay with all my apps being deleted from my device, even if they can be installed again, because I don't want to install, organize and configure dozens of apps all over again. May 6, 2012 at 5:35

To disable automatic backups in iTunes, type the following using Terminal.app

defaults write com.apple.iTunes AutomaticDeviceBackupsDisabled -bool true

However, this command disables the entire backup, not just for apps.

  • And all his apps are still needed to be stored in his iTunes to sync to the device ...
    – pre
    May 4, 2012 at 17:39

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