Before Catalina, I used to be able to use a simple AppleScript to open iTunes and select the menubar to back up connected iPhone/iPad; In Catalina, this function is moved to Finder and so far I haven't been able to find out how to click in the Finder's sidebar > location > iPhone. Has anyone had any luck with that?

  • temporary work round: use automator's record/watch me do; shortcoming is this approach will move the mouse pointer around – egwene sedai Sep 20 '19 at 19:38

Apple Configurator 21 has a command line utility cfgutil, which can be installed from the menubar in Apple Configurator

With cfgutil installed, you can run the command: cfgutil backup

Apple Configurator 2 includes an Automator action too, which does the same as the above command.

1Currently requires macOS version 10.14.6 or later.

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  • Thanks! It's a very nice alternative but may need usb connection, whereas the backup function in Finder (used to be itunes) can work over wifi. – egwene sedai Sep 21 '19 at 13:39
  • If the device is managed, you should be able to backup over wi-fi, I think – Harcker Sep 21 '19 at 13:41
  • thanks! I'll try that out – egwene sedai Sep 21 '19 at 14:07

Also, for when one does not wish to put the ios device in supervised mode, this appplescript works for me (set [your_ios_device_name] accordingly)

tell application "System Events" to tell application process "Finder"
    set frontmost to true
    tell front menu bar to tell menu "File" to tell menu item "New Tab"
        perform action "AXPress"
    end tell
    set uis to (first UI element of row of (outline 1 of scroll area 1 of splitter group 1 of front window) as list)
    repeat with iter in uis
        if name of iter is "[your_ios_device_name]" then
            set ux to iter
            exit repeat
        end if
    end repeat
    tell ux
        perform action "AXOpen"
    end tell
    repeat until exists (button "Back Up Now" of scroll area 1 of group 1 of group 1 of splitter group 1 of splitter group 1 of front window)
        delay 0.3
    end repeat
    set btn to (button "Back Up Now" of scroll area 1 of group 1 of group 1 of splitter group 1 of splitter group 1 of front window)
    repeat until enabled of btn
        delay 0.3
    end repeat
    click btn
end tell
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  • This works like a charm. Over wifi too. cfgutil doesn't. – Michael Rourke Jun 14 at 7:15

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