iTunes backup error message

Solved: iTunes can’t backup iPhone because not enough free space is available on computer

We received this from a customer the other day: Using iTunes is like arguing with a fundamentalist. He is not the only one to have been taken by surprise from the way iTunes manages (or fundamentally fails to manage) iOS devices.

We’ve been receiving lots of support requests for a vague iTunes backup error message reading: “iTunes could not back up the iPhone because not enough free space is available on this computer” followed by a suggestion of little or no use: “removing files and emptying the Recycle Bin will free up additional space”.
iTunes could not back up the iPhone because not enough free space is available on this computer

If you ever came across this iTunes error message, read on, as we propose a couple of real solutions to get yourself sorted and successfully backup the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.


The easy solution – back up to another drive

We created an easy iPhone backup solution called CopyTrans Shelbee that allows you to backup iPhone wherever you want.

Why is this the easy solution?

  • Unlike iTunes, CopyTrans Shelbee allows you to back up iPhone to the location of your choice
  • Deleting files to free up space takes time and is no fun. Instead, back up directly to another drive with plenty of space
  • Back up in three clicks
  • No more system folders hiding your iPhone backups. Now you know where the backups are located

CopyTrans Shelbee is a free PC tool designed to complete full-featured iOS backup and restore for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. The program works independently of iTunes and quickly helps you forget about the iTunes error message, forever. Here’s how quick and simple it is…

NOTE: If you don’t have one already, you can easily get an inexpensive high-capacity external hard disk or a USB drive where to keep iPhone backups.

  1. Download and launch CopyTrans Shelbee on your PC, connect the iPhone or iPad and click “Backup”

    Download CopyTrans Shelbee

    backup iphone with copytrans shelbee

  2. Click “Full backup” full iphone backup in copytrans shelbee
  3. Now choose the location of the iPhone backup away from the default iTunes backup location by clicking the blue Pencil symbol change ios backup location with copytrans shelbee
  4. In this case, we’ll back up to our PC second drive E:/. Let’s create a new folder there create folder at new ios backup location
  5. Give the folder a name and click OK new folder name at new iphone backup location
  6. Once ready, click “Start” full backup with copytrans shelbee start button
  7. The iPhone backup begins. All iPhone information such as device settings, contacts, calendars, messages, app documents and Camera Roll photos are backed up copytrans shelbee in progress of backing up iphone
  8. Once the backup completes, click on “Done” backup with copytrans shelbee completed successfully

The iPhone backup is saved to the location that you selected in the exact same format as the backup made by iTunes. You can use CopyTrans Shelbee to also restore a previous backup to another device.

This is how easy it is to go around iTunes error message and back up iPhone regardless of the free space left on your primary computer drive.

Back up iPhone to another drive – YouTube tutorial

Free up some space on your PC

You can alternatively clean up your primary system drive to allow iTunes to complete the iPhone backup.

Why is this not the best solution?

  • You are never sure how much space you need to free up as iTunes does not indicate this
  • Not a long-term solution as sooner or later you’d need to free up more space
  • Freeing up space requires that you delete files or uninstall programs that you need

  • Run Disk Cleanup. The default Windows Disk Cleanup utility is a basic yet effective way to get rid of unnecessary files on your system hard disk and free up some space. check boxes in windows disk cleanup
  • Uninstall applications you no longer need. Many apps are really small in size so uninstalling the applications which take up most space is what really makes a difference. Open the Windows Programs and Features and arrange the list of installed apps by size by clicking on “Size” on top windows programs and features window
  • Clean temporary files. Disk Cleanup is a good tool for basic cleanup. However, it does not delete temporary files used by third-party apps such as Firefox or Chrome browser caches. These can really take up space in the region of several GBs. This is where CCcleaner comes to the rescue
  • Delete old iOS backups. iOS backups take up considerable space on your primary PC disk. If you already backed up your iPhone with CopyTrans Shelbee to another location, you can get rid of some of the old iOS backups made by iTunes. The iOS backup files can be found here:

    Windows Vista, Windows 7 und Windows 8: \Users\(Your username)\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\

    Windows XP: \Documents and Settings\(Your username)\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\

  • These are some of the quickest solutions to the backup error message “iTunes could not back up the iPhone because not enough free space is available on this computer”.

    If you need additional guidance, contact our support team; we are happy to help!

  • Xavier Van Sweevelt

    doesn’t help. I’ve got 400(!) GB free space and my ipad is only 32 GB — so WTF?

    • Hello Xavier, then, this means that the problem described in the above article is not really your problem. Could you get in touch with our support team at ? We’ll help you sort it out.

    • HowardBrazee

      About once per week, I get this error – with over 500 GB available.

      • CopyTrans

        Hi Howard, iTunes by default backs the device to the C: drive. Make sure that you have enough free space on that drive or use CopyTrans Shelbee to back up to any location of your choice.

  • CopyTrans

    Sorry we’re not the Mac experts…