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I have an old iPod touch which cannot be upgraded past iOS 3.1.3 and the (currently) newest version of iTunes (12.6.0.100). iTunes does not allow me to create a backup of that iPod to my Mac (the buttons and settings in the Backup section are just grayed out). That's not terribly bad, but it got me interested: Is there a minimum iOS version or other restriction that prevents recent versions of iTunes from creating a backup of a device? Is this documented somewhere?

I think it's important to know because I may want to migrate my data to a newer device, regardless of how old the old device is.

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Yes, the latest versions of iTunes (at least going back through Spring of 2016 & possibly winter 2015; I don't quite remember) no longer support the iOS 3 and lower backup protocol. I haven't found it documented anywhere, I just know when people started emailing me about the issue.

Unfortunately, any version of iTunes that speaks BackupAgent (the old protocol) won't support an iPhone running iOS 10. I actually don't know if BackupAgent2 will handle an iOS 3 backup. If it doesn't, you would need to make a backup of the iOS 3 device using an old iTunes, restore to an iOS 9 device using that same version of iTunes, make a new backup of the iOS 9 device, then update iTunes and restore to the iOS 10 device.

Depending on what you need to migrate, there may be easier ways :)

  • Thank you for the detailed explanation of the behavior I observed. This answers my question. I think discussing an actual update strategy from iOS 3 to iOS 10 would be suitable for a separate question. – Feuermurmel Mar 28 '17 at 9:09

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