I just updated my iPod Touch to iOS 5.1. During the process, iTunes downloaded a 750MB file: ~/Library/iTunes/iPod Software Updates/iPod4,1_5.1_9B176_Restore.ipsw. I have no use for this file anymore, and it's just using up my limited disk space, so I want to get rid of it.


  1. Will this file ever get deleted automatically, or will it stay there indefinitely?

  2. Is there any GUI command in iTunes that will delete all such files?

  3. Is it safe to manually delete this file?

  4. If I manually delete it, will I be able to easily download it again if I ever do need it?

Update: Ipsw files now appear in ~/Library/MobileDevice/Software Images, and they take up 1+ GB.

2 Answers 2

  1. I think that old .ispws will eventually get deleted, depending on the quantity and version.
  2. I don't think there are any commands
  3. Yes, it shouldn't harm your computer or device in any way.
  4. Yes, by using Felix Burns or if you click restore iPhone, let iTunes download the *.ispw, but eject before it can restore (this worked for me once, but I can't be certain, so don't loose all of your data!).
  • +1 for referencing Felix Burn's iOS Firmware Library. I love that place (too bad he hasn't updated it for iOS 5, though). Apr 23, 2012 at 17:13
  • He has iOS 5? At least last time I checked he did... Apr 25, 2012 at 1:46
  • I could have sworn I just checked when you posted the link (because I remembered him not having it a few months ago when I needed it), and he didn't have it. Though he has it now, so it's all good. I could have just been blind, though. Apr 25, 2012 at 4:43

According to this website, it is recommended to get rid of all the old ipsw's, but to keep the most recent ones.

Every major iOS update for each type of device synced to your computer is retained. So if you have an iPhone 3G, a second-generation iPod touch, iPhone 4, and an iPad, you'll have all the updates for each of those devices, because the updated content for each device or generation of a device is different. Obviously, this can add up to a large amount of space over time with even a single device. So getting rid of older (but not the most recent) update files can free a lot of space.

For duplicate iOS versions (e.g. such as betas) usually searching for the build number on Google will let you know which version of the OS it is (e.g. search for 9B176 in the original example).

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