I have many apps on iTunes, some installed permanently onto the iPhone, some others not installed, and same thing for iPad.

I'd like to separate them on the computer (Windows 7) to be able to make targetted backups. So I'd like to put them in some subdirs : "iPhone/Permanent", "iphone/occasional", "iPad/permanent", "universal/occasional", ...

Can this be done without breaking iTunes ?

2 Answers 2


That depends on what else you use iTunes for. You can turn off the "automatically sort iTunes content" switch, which will allow you to spread files all over the shop, but be aware that fresh downloads, iphone purchase transfers, updates, and all sorts else may not honour your choice when doing updates and the like, resulting in potentially multiple versions of multiple apps in multiple locations, and also having potentially adverse affects on your other iTunes content such as music etc.

I'm not sure about the Windows 7 aspect of this next bit, but on Mac you could "label" your files into categories, and then make a smart fodler that searches out for apps in location X (default) with Label Y etc - I think Windows must have some similar tagging system, certainly it can handle the saved searches/smart folder equivalent ably enough to approximate the same behaviour.


Messing with iTunes' file system is generally a bad idea. I would also not worry about making targeted backups in the way that you describe, as you could just easily re-download the app from the App Store via iCloud. Backing up just the app wouldn't preserve any of your custom app data as well, so I don't think you need to worry about it.

Instead, put your focus into making sure your device itself is backed up either via iTunes or the new iCloud backup system.

  • Not a solution. I have something like 200 installed app, within a 1000 app catalog. I really don't want to write down each app I have installed.
    – Oliver
    Oct 20, 2011 at 19:47
  • That's fair, but still, messing with the iTunes file system causes problems, especially with files updated as often as apps are. I still stand by what I said, I've got a ton of apps installed too, but don't worry about backing up the app file itself because there's no reason to, and because they get updated so often the backup quickly becomes outdated. Oct 20, 2011 at 19:51

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