My /Users/{username}/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup is 5GB and I'd really like to reclaim that space if I can.

I back up my iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch to iCloud, so is there any reason not to simply delete the 9000+ legacy backups in this folder?

  • If you wanna save space, try the free app monolingual, which removes duplicate binaries of apps written for power pc processors… saves like 2gb
    – Alexander
    May 25 '12 at 6:47

Yes, it is safe to delete it, if you are sure you want to lose those backups.

To do so, in a more elegant way, just:

  1. Open iTunes Preferences
  2. Click Devices
  3. Locate the backup for the iOS device you want to delete, select it, and click Delete Backup.
  4. Confirm you wish to remove the selected backup by clicking Delete Backup.
  5. Click OK to close the iTunes Preferences Window.

Extracted from Apple's support document about iOs backups.

Confirmed: Deleting through iTunes will delete all the backUp files of the selected device.

  • The problem is that there are over 9000 files in that directory, and there are only TWO devices (each with one backup) listed in the iTunes Preferences panel. May 25 '12 at 7:36
  • I can't test this right now, but you could try deleting, from the iTunes preferences, the backUp for one of the devices, and see if it deletes all the backUps for it. Or just, cough delete the content of the folder.
    – Thecafremo
    May 25 '12 at 7:42
  • Judging by the dates, there are several backups in there for the one device. Maybe, if you do a "restore from backup" you would get to choose among them?
    – GEdgar
    May 25 '12 at 14:03
  • I believe the folder also includes downloaded copies of iOS updates, if you have upgraded from itunes
    – mopsyd
    May 5 '16 at 4:47

Added macOS Catalina 10.15 update below for delete backup instructions

  1. Connect the device
  2. On a Mac with macOS Catalina 10.15 or later, open the Finder. On a Mac with macOS Mojave 10.14 or earlier, or on a PC, open iTunes. Click your device.
  3. In Finder, under the General tab, click Manage Backups to see a list of your backups. From here, you can right-click on the backup that you want, then select Delete or Archive. In iTunes, choose Preferences, then click Devices. From here, you can right-click on the backup that you want, then choose Delete or Archive. Click OK when you're finished.
  4. Click Delete Backup, then confirm.

Official documentation: https://support.apple.com/en-hk/HT204215#deleteiTunes

  • 1
    Of course this won't work if you no longer have the device. Wasn't a problem in iTunes, but is now. :-( Jan 5 at 22:16
  • 1
    I just tried the 'Finder' method on Catalina, and I can see that the 'Manage Backups' dialog lists the backups for all devices, not just the one that's plugged in. So you could put any device and remove the backups for the device that you don't have any more. Jan 11 at 15:04

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