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iTunes keeps the iOS backup folder directly on the system drive. The space on your primary Windows partition – precious and often scarce – is constantly reduced with the ever-expanding iOS backup folder. iTunes does not allow to change the backup folder location; what’s the solution? Follow the steps below in order to easily change the iTunes backup location.

Why change iTunes backup location?

iTunes backs up only certain iOS data such as app files, settings and camera roll photos from the iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch each time you sync. Nevertheless, it is often unaccounted for how quickly the iOS backup files may accumulate on the system drive and take up valuable system resources ultimately leading to a less than ideal system performance. That’s why sometimes the best solution is to relocate iTunes iOS backup folder to another drive. change ios backup location to free up system disk space

Automatically change iTunes backup location

Use CopyTrans Shelbee to automatically change the location of your iTunes backup folder and move its contents wherever you like. Begin by downloading CopyTrans Shelbee from the following page: Download CopyTrans Shelbee

(CopyTrans Shelbee runs on Windows 10, 8 and 7)

  1. Close iTunes and start CopyTrans Shelbee. Click on “Toolbox”. Change iTunes backup location – CopyTrans Shelbee toolbox

  2. Click on the Pencil symbol to choose a new location for your iTunes backup folder. Change iTunes backup location in CopyTrans Shelbee

  3. Select the folder and click OK. Select iTunes backup location new folder

  4. Tap on “Start”.

    Start changing iTunes backup location

  5. Stand by until CopyTrans Shelbee changes the iTunes backup folder to the destination of your choice and moves all folder contents to the new location. Moving iTunes backup location

  6. That’s all! The iTunes location was changed and its contents were successfully moved. iTunes backup folder moved

Manually move the iTunes backup folder (advanced users)

The steps below are intended for advanced Windows users who would like to change the default iTunes backup location.

  • We recommend using the automatic method as the manual method below involves the use of advanced Windows utilities including Command Prompt

  • Please note that the instructions do not work for Windows XP.

  1. Locate your current iTunes backup folder. If you are using Windows 10, 8 or 7, use the Windows Start Menu to locate the iTunes backup folder and enter the following in the Search box:

    • for classic iTunes: %APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync
    • for Microsoft Store iTunes: %USERPROFILE%\Apple\MobileSync\Backup

    access ios backup directory location

  2. Move the current iTunes iOS backup folder to the new desired destination via simple drag-and-drop: itunes backup folder move to external drive
    NOTE: Make sure that you have the “Backup” folder fully copied to the new destination drive. Once you do so, you can either delete the “Backup” folder from the original location or rename it to “Backup_OLD”. At the end of this guide, you can delete the “Backup_OLD” folder

  3. At the original folder location, press the SHIFT key, right-click and select “Open command window here”:

    Important: For Windows 10 users choose “Open Powershell window here”.

    run command prompt in ios backup directory
    This will open a command window adjusted for that folder: command prompt focused on ios backup directory

  4. In the command prompt window, manually type in the following command where E:\ is the new drive location (drive letter may vary) and “Backup” is the name of the iOS backup directory you just moved:

    • for classic iTunes: mklink /J “%APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup” “E:\Backup”
    • for Microsoft Store iTunes: mklink /J “%USERPROFILE%\Apple\MobileSync\Backup” “E:\Backup”

    add directory junction for ios backup folder

    Info: “mklink” is the Windows shell command for adding a symbolic link. The “/J” switch refers to a specific kind of symbolic link called directory junction. Refer to this article to learn more about symbolic links.

  5. You will now see the command prompt window return a success in creating a junction symbolic link created for itunes backup directory

  6. A new folder shortcut called “Backup” will appear in the original location: new itunes backup location added

  7. Double click on the “Backup” folder shortcut and while it may seem you are still within the MobileSync folder on the C: drive, what you actually see is the contents of the “Backup” folder you previously moved to the new location. You can think of it as a virtual tunnel created through your computer directory space: itunes backup folder junction directory explained

  8. That’s it. You have now learned how to move iOS backup folder from the primary partition to another drive and, in the process, freed up valuable system space: ios backup folder location changed

How to relocate iTunes backup folder YouTube guide

This was how to move the iTunes backup folder from the original system drive to a new location.

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By krasimir

Krasimir is an avid marketing aficionado and a tech-support specialist in charge of the English-speaking market. He grew up in Bulgaria and on the island of Mauritius where he became passionate about windsurfing and photography.