Backups of your iPhone and other iOS devices (iPod Touch, iPad) can take up more disk space than you think. If you are in a tight spot thanks to your small Mac hard drive and need to clear out files to make space, consider deleting older backups of iOS devices.
Backups can go back quite a while, and together, they might take up a few GBs of space (yes, GB). For most users, deleting all but the most recent backup(s) will suffice. Let’s look at a list of items backed up, so you can get an idea of how bulky the backups could get:
- App Store data and In-app purchases, app settings/preferences, and saved data.
- Call history
- Camera data ie. images and videos
- Keychain data
- Address book
- Calendar data
- Location service preferences
- Map data
- Network settings
- Offline webapp data
- Bokmarks, cookies, history, offline data, and currently open pages, YouTube bookmarks and history
- SMS and MMS
- …and many more
The location of backup files are different for each OS:
Windows XP: \Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup
Windows 7/Vista: \Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup
Mac: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup
How to remove a backup
Below are steps to delete the backups, note that the device does not have to be connected. Assumes that you use iTunes 7 or later.
- Open iTunes Preferences:
- Go to Edit > Preferences (Mac users go to iTunes > Preferences).
- Hit Devices.
- Locate the backup to be deleted. Select it and hit Delete Backup.
- Confirm deletion and hit OK.