Apple has recently removed the functionality from Windows iTunes to backup apps locally. The only way they offer now is via internet - iCloud. I often have limited internet access so that option is not suitable. Also I feel much better when I can easily and reliably restore the iPad to when everything was functioning perfectly. For example, update an app to find out there's a bug or some new functionality that makes things worse in some way. With a local backup it would be easy to go back and forth between the versions, and you don't have to depend on anything.

The solution would most likely involve jail breaking and that's fine, but I couldn't find actual information on whether it is in fact possible on a jailboken iPad and if so how. Bunch of sites recommend third party software and when you go on their respective sites they say things like "manage apps, backup app data, images etc" iTunes already does all of this.


3 Answers 3


This article from OSXDaily Get iTunes 12.6.3 with App Store for Mac and Windows suggests to download the special 12.6.3 version, which restores the previous lost functionality. Do not know if works without internet in your case.

Also, the newest version 12.7, when connecting the first time a device, asks if you like to restore the old feature - this was the behaviour in my case.

Direct link to this version of iTunes download page: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT208079

  • Unfortunately newer ipads are not compatible with older versions of iTunes. They state this on the download page, but I still went ahead and tried it myself. I think the reason is the newer iOS rather than hardware, so I’m guessing that even older ipads with new iOS won’t work with this.
    – Emil
    Commented Nov 18, 2017 at 15:24
  • I use an older ipad, Air, first version and works well with iOS 11.1.2 and older/newer version of iTunes. What kind of ipad do you have? older/newer? Take into account the version 12.6.3 was released this year, while "newer" ipads are already at least one year old...
    – Yoan
    Commented Nov 18, 2017 at 15:34
  • In regards to "without internet", I meant without downloading from internet. I have iPad Pro 10.5" 64gb. I've downloaded several older versions of iTunes but looks like not this one you've recommended, because it indeed has an App Store inside (unlike the new versions). There doesn't seem to be a way to backup apps which are already on the iPad, however. Unless I'm doing something wrong? Well, I suppose if there's no way to backup I could re-download important apps, and in the future use the PC to download & install apps so that they're retained. Thanks for your solution!
    – Emil
    Commented Nov 22, 2017 at 22:07

You mention backing up apps - actually, it’s not about the iTunes version but about the iOS version: since iOS 9, apps cannot be extracted anymore, and iTunes won’t back them up (it will back up app data though, as part of the standard iOS backup). If you’re interested in the subject, here’s a details post on our blog.

Then there’s app download: iTunes dropped that in iTunes 12.7.

When iTunes did this, we at iMazing figured we could try to jump in and restore that functionality for our users. Turned out well - iMazing is now able to download your apps straight from the App Store, no hacks, legit downloads. And it keeps every version you download so you can downgrade if needed.

These new app management features are 100% available in the free version. Here is how it looks in the app: enter image description here

I won’t post a link here, but you’ll find us easily I’m sure!

Disclosure in case it isn’t clear enough: I work with the iMazing team.

  • Thanks for the reply. Well, as Yoan mentioned above, iTunes windows version 12.6.3 is able to download apps (.ipa files) which you can just copy to another folder and restore any version. You can install bunch of apps at once or uninstall several apps at once. As for backing up of data, that function is present in all versions of iTunes. Does your app add something other than this?
    – Emil
    Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 8:11
  • Hi! I'm one of the developers of iMazing, jumping in to give you more info. The way iMazing's app library works, a single IPA can be deployed to multiple Apple IDs so that saves space. It's also much easier to download apps in bulk. Installing/uninstalling is very straightforward too. And if you keep multiple versions of an app, they'll all show up in the list. Backup side, we do versioned backups so you can jump back to any snapshot easily, a bit like Time Machine. You can also browse the contents of backups. These features are available in the free version, you should have a go!
    – Gregzo
    Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 9:06

Thanks Yoan for finding a solution! This is sort of part II to the solution and more details:

To recap:
There's no proper resume functionality on iPad when downloading apps, and with limited internet (speed and/or bandwidth) downloading a 900MB out of a 1GB file and then having it display a message that it failed... well that just sucks. So with this version of iTunes on the PC, the resume works. You can pause it, and even reboot your computer and it'll still work. Plus there is checkbox to disable simultaneous download (there is none on iPad), which is super useful, because you can have 2 files fail at 50% without it, Vs one complete file with it on. Why would anyone want to download apps simultaneously anyway.

One thing you might experience with this version is, sometimes after restart of iTunes the files vanish from the download queue icon on the top right.

The files are downloaded into a temporary folder. The default location is: C:\Users__your_pc_name__\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Downloads

The Folders inside are named after the app being downloaded, for example: BeatMaker 3.tmp

Don't worry about its size as it doesn't reflect how much you've downloaded. It will be the final size of the completed file. The key thing here is to see that it's there. If the folder is not there, you can't resume (but this hasn't happened to me so far). If the folder is there, it means that you can still resume your file but need to "nudge" the iTunes a little bit. The way I found to do this is as follows:

Go to the App Store and search for some free app, click on get. As soon as the file queues into the download the list of other apps you were downloading will show up there as well. And whatever was partially done will continue resuming from where it left off. Of course you can then delete that "nudging" app. I found this very small app which is about a mb in size that I keep downloading over and over :) To delete apps from the queue highlight them and press delete button. Sometimes it deletes but after you restart iTunes suddenly shows up there. (Yeah Apple hates us PC users) So to remedy this, go back to that folder above and delete that .tmp Folder

(A) When an app download completes the *.ipa files will go here:

C:\Users__your_PC_name__\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Mobile Applications

(B) The list of local apps inside iTunes from which you click install/remove is maintained by this file:

C:\Users_your_PC_\Music\iTunes\iTunes Library.itl

(C) What to do if you've reinstalled windows or want to install a different version of an app than the one in the list, and which one is in the list anyway?

Simply copying files into the folder in (A) above, will do nothing. The list will be blank. Likewise the list will contain the version of the app you've downloaded on iTunes last. One way I found is to erase the list entirely and repopulate it. To do this delete "iTunes Library.itl" file in (B) above. Now, goes without saying you should back that folder up before doing this. (deleting/copying it back seems to restore functionality)

It's fairly easy to populate the list once it's empty, fortunately:

Start iTunes with iPad hooked up and go to the App list window. You see on the right side your Home Screens, but on the left side there are no apps in the list. Fire up the File manager and go to the folder in (A) above. Put the *.ipa files there first. Now simply double click on them or press enter, and they'll show up in the iTunes list. In fact you can highlight SEVERAL apps and hit enter to import them at once! Once they get inside the list, they come in with the "status intact". That is if the app is installed the button will say [remove], if an older version is installed it'll say [update] etc.

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