Is there a way I can delete all my encrypted iPhone backups for which I forgot the password, so that I can start backing up from fresh?

At the moment I'm stuck in this loop (below) which I can't seem to exit

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  • I've edited your question to put more focus on your issue with getting a backup going again at all. Feel free to revert the edit or change it if I got something wrong.
    – nohillside
    Apr 16, 2013 at 4:51

3 Answers 3


To delete the backups, go to iTunes>Preferences>Devices. All iPhone backups will be listed here. Highlight them, then hit Delete.

But if you're using a Mac, I would first try to see if you can find the password in your Keychain (from discussions.apple.com):

  • Go to the "keychain access " app.
  • Under "Keychains" select "Login"
  • Under "Category" select "Passwords"
  • Scroll down and look for "iPhone Backup"
  • Double click and a window opens
  • Check the box that says "Show Password"
  • A window pops up asking for your OS X account password
  • Type in that password and voila!
  • 1
    thanks, ive tried going through keychain access, with no luck, i did manage to delete the backups, but when i go back into itunes the above screen is still the same, and locked to encrypt the backup, again needed a pw to unlock it
    – sam
    Apr 17, 2013 at 11:37
  • Didn't work for me; there are no entries for iPhone backups
    – Molomby
    Oct 23, 2019 at 4:16

The password is stored on the device!

If you can’t remember the password for your encrypted backup

You can’t restore an encrypted backup without its password. With iOS 11 or later, you can make a new encrypted backup of your device by resetting the password. Here’s what to do:

  • On your iOS device, go to Settings > General > Reset.
  • Tap Reset All Settings and enter your iOS passcode.
  • Follow the steps to reset your settings. This won't affect your user data or passwords, but it will reset settings like display brightness, Home screen layout, and wallpaper. It also removes your encrypted backup password.
  • Connect your device to iTunes again and create a new encrypted backup.

You won't be able to use previous encrypted backups, but you can back up your current data using iTunes and setting a new backup password.

If you have a device with iOS 10 or earlier, you can't reset the password. In this case, try the following:

  • If someone else set up your device, ask them for the password.
  • Use an iCloud backup instead of iTunes. If you don't have an iCloud backup, you can make one.
  • Try using an older iTunes backup.


  • This is what finally worked for me. If you don't have the password and don't care about the current encrypted backups, you can create a new backup with this method. This is with iPhone 6 + iOS 11.4.
    – Cory J
    Jul 13, 2018 at 22:04

Change your iPhone backup settings and start backing up to iCloud instead. You can do that either via iTunes on your Mac or if the password window is preventing you from doing so do it from your iPhone by navigating to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup > iCloud Backup ON.

The next time you connect your iPhone to iTunes, the iTunes backups should be gone along with the message asking for your password.

Once you effectuate a full iOS backup to the iCloud, you can revert back to making backups with iTunes instead.

  • Does that delete the iCloud backups? Apr 17, 2014 at 14:55
  • Nope, reverting back to iTunes backup does not delete the iCloud backups made.
    – jDonMas
    May 9, 2014 at 14:52

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