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I recently switched to a new phone. I’d like to delete the back up of my old iPhone from iCloud to save space there. However, I’m a little paranoid about backups and data loss, so I’d like to download the old backup first and retain it on my Mac or an external hard disk.

The only options I’ve found are proprietary third-party software, which (a) is pricey and (b) raises security/privacy issues, since it sounds like they (not surprisingly) need to handle your Apple ID credentials. Is there any way to download iPhone backups from iCloud to a Mac, without closed-source proprietary software?

An ideal solution would be an official Apple tool (commandline tools are fine with me); open-source third-party software would also be better than closed-source; or software provided through the App store would be OK, since that implies at least some minimal security auditing (as I understand).

  • Does restoring the backup to your new iPhone from iCloud, then backing up your new iPhone through iTunes to your local HD not work for you somehow? – IconDaemon May 27 at 21:40
  • Is your goal to reclaim iCloud storage space or save a backup copy to a local drive? – fsb May 27 at 23:23
  • @fsb: Both, really. My immediate goal was to save iCloud storage space. But I also want to know about this backup question in it’s own right; it’s always frustrating not to be able to download and back up ones own data. I usually keep my phone backed up locally as well, but I hadn’t been able to for a while because the phone had been having difficulty maintaining a cable connection. – PLL May 28 at 7:03
  • @IconDaemon: interesting idea. Unfortunately I didn’t think of this until after I’d been using my new home for a couple of months. So I guess it would go: (1) back up new phone’s current state / (2) restore old backup to new Phone / (3) back up old phone’s state from new Phone to Mac / (4) restore new phone’s current state. But again because Apple doesn’t give much control over managing your own backups, I’m not clear how to ensure it doesn’t overwrite the new phone’s own backup (from step 1) in step 3, or by an iCloud backup getting automatically initiated during 2–3. – PLL May 28 at 7:09

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