iTunes on PC was used before to sync and update my iPhone 3, iPhone 4, iPad, iPad 2, but recently I got an iMac 27 and started sync'ing the iPhone 4S using the iMac. But when I plug in the iPhone 4 (the old one) into the iMac, then I can't drag Music, Movies, or iTunes Univ videos into this old iPhone. (in iTunes 10.5 on the iMac, I can't drag and drop any Music to the iPhone 4 under DEVICES)

What is a proper way to start sync'ing with the iMac if it was sync'ing with the PC before? I just want the iPhone 4 "as is", but sync'ing to the iMac instead of the PC. (want to keep iOS 4.3.5 because I might do some development work and want to test on iOS 4.3.5) Are there other precautions to take note of when changing which machine to sync to?

  • Have a look at my answer to this question too, you may find it useful.
    – ocodo
    Nov 7, 2011 at 22:45

1 Answer 1


You can only sync a device to one computer, however if you can locate the backup folder, these contain lots of files which all need to be moved across to the other computer and it thinks it has always backed up this device. Locate it on your PC depending on the OS below.

  • Windows XP: %AppData%\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup
  • Windows Vista: %AppData%\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup
  • Windows 7: %AppData%\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup

and transfer this file to your Mac:

  • Mac OS: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup

You will need to authorise your new iTunes account and transfer all your music and apps.

  • is this a somewhat official or standard method? this sounds a little bit hacky... is it being blogged or documented as a common, workable way to do it? Nov 8, 2011 at 5:46
  • This isn't a hack, it is just like copying a music file from one hd to another. Thy make these files hidden so you can't delete them by accident. Nov 8, 2011 at 11:56
  • is it true that if I don't care about a certain iPod / iPad / iPhone's content, and just do a factory reset, then it can sync with any computer? Or I remember in the old days, a dialog showed up asking me if I want to sync with a new computer but need to wipe all the content on the iPod out. Nov 8, 2011 at 13:21
  • If you do not care about wiping all your data, then you can sync with another computer. You will lose all your songs, settings, emails, pictures and app data Nov 8, 2011 at 16:03
  • I'm wondering if the Mac's migration assistant might be used in some way to facilitate this. Can the Windows machine be connected to the Mac in some way for migration assistant to find the needed files and pull them over. Just a wild guess but it would be great if it worked.
    – Richard
    Nov 14, 2011 at 12:19

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