Cleaning and Moving iTunes Backup To Free Up Storage Space

If you have iTunes installed on your computer to back up your iOS devices, you may want to check out how much spaces the backup files are taking. It could be a big deal if you are running your Windows on a smaller SSD drive.

For example, my iTunes backup folder eats up over 10GB of space on my 128GB SSD drive. When the total free space is shrinking to under 30GB as of now, I really hope I can get this 10GB back.

iTunes Backup folder size

There are 2 choices I can go with.

I could just delete the backup file for my iPhone and either don’t bother backing it up or just let iCloud to take care of this backup business for me. By deleting backup files on my iTunes, I immediately get 10GB of space back to my main C drive on SSD.

In your iTunes, click the icon at the top left corner and select Preferences. Go to the Devices tab, highlight the device and click Delete Backup.

2014-12-03 22_28_30-Devices Preferences

Then you may want to disable the Auto Sync on your iTunes so next time when you connect your device to your computer iTunes won’t back it up automatically.

The better option is to relocate the Backup folder which by default is located at below.

%appdata%\Apple Computer\MobileSync

iTunes doesn’t offer an official way to change this setting but we can use the symbolic link to make a link between the folder iTunes expects to find and the folder that holds the real data. Here is how you can do it.

1. Close iTunes, make sure it’s not running.

2. Move or create a folder that you want to store your backup files on your preferred location. Mine was d:\data\itunes\mobilesync. Make sure there is no MobileSync folder under Apple Computer after the data was moved.

3. Start a Command Prompt as Administrator, then run the following command to make the link.

mklink /J "%appdata%\Apple Computer\MobileSync" "d:\data\itunes\mobilesync"

command prompt - mklink mobilesync

Double-check the folder list in Apple Computer folder, you will see a link icon appeared on the folder MobileSync indicating this is a symbolic link.

2014-12-03 22_46_33-Apple Computer

You can also verify it with a dir from the command line. Note the <JUNCTION> from the screenshot below?

2014-12-03 22_50_52-Command Prompt

Furthermore, also check the iPhone Software Updates folder (%appdata%\Apple Computer\iTunes\iPhone Software Updates). If you see it takes a lot of space, you are safe to delete them all. Those are the update files downloaded to update your iOS devices.

Kent Chen

Microsoft MVP, IT Professional, Developer, Geek, and the co-founder of Next of Windows.

Last updated: 12/11/2014

Posted in: Tips & Tricks
Discover more: , , ,