ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to move the iTunes iOS backup location to external drive

Updated on July 24, 2014
Windows drive C:\ lacking ample free space due to growing iOS Backup folder
Windows drive C:\ lacking ample free space due to growing iOS Backup folder

Why move the iOS backup folder to another drive?

The default location where iTunes stores iOS backups made for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod is the main drive on your computer - in most cases, also known as drive C:\ .

iTunes does not allow to change the place where iOS backups are stored and many users over time suffer from limited amount of free space due to the accumulating data in the iOS Backup folder.

There's a neat workaround on how to move the iOS Backup folder from the main computer drive to another drive with plenty of space. Here's how to do so.

Note for Mac users:

The following tutorial is only intended for Windows users. Mac users, there's unfortunately no equivalent method.

1. Open the location where your Backup folder is currently found

The location of the iOS Backup folder varies slightly with each Windows version.

Windows XP stores the iPhone backup files here:

  • C:\Documents and Settings\user\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup

Windows Vista and Windows 7 stores the files here:

  • C:\Users\user\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup

Useful tips:

  • If your main drive is not C: then simply use the correct letter at the beginning, same goes for ‘user’.
  • If you are on Windows 7 or 8, you can access the folder location directly by typing in the following in the Start Menu search bar: %APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync

Windows Start Menu displaying text in the search box
Windows Start Menu displaying text in the search box

2. Open the new location where you want to move the folder to

Cut the Backup folder from the original location and paste it to the new location. Don't get excited just yet, we are far from finished moving the folder.

iTunes does not yet know about the change and will re-create a new Backup folder at the original location. We don't want that to happen.

Move folder from original location to the new drive
Move folder from original location to the new drive
Open Command Prompt from original folder location
Open Command Prompt from original folder location

3. Open a Command Prompt window from the original location

To open a Command Prompt window, press and hold the SHIFT key and right-click anywhere within the now empty original location.

From the right-click menu, select "Open command window here". This will open a new command window adjusted to the MobileSync folder (i.e. the original location).

Command Prompt window adjusted to original backup location
Command Prompt window adjusted to original backup location

4. Manually type and execute the following command:

mklink /J “%APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup” “E:\Backup”

  • replace E:\ with the letter of the drive where you moved the Backup folder
  • don't copy/paste the command as it won't work - manually type it in the command window

This is a standard command for creating a directory junction. A junction is a symbolic link to the Backup directory which works in much the same way as creating a shortcut would. However, in this case the "shortcut" behaves as the actual folder. Read more about directory junctions here.

Limitation for Windows XP:

  • If you are on Windows XP, you need to install the Microsoft Junction application before trying to execute the command as Windows XP does not per default lacks this feature

Command in window before being executed
Command in window before being executed

5. Watch the command execute

Upon successful execution, the directory junction for your Backup folder is created and Windows will return the text as from the below screenshot.

Executed directory junction command
Executed directory junction command

6. Verify whether the junction functions

You should see a new folder appear at the original location which looks identical to a shortcut folder. Double-click on that folder. It will take you directly to the folder that you previously moved.

While it may appear this is a simple shortcut to the new location, it is much more than that. Windows treats the "shortcut" as the original Backup folder and therefore, iTunes cannot notice it is a shortcut and not the actual Backup folder.

Directory junction at original Backup location
Directory junction at original Backup location

This is it. You moved your iOS backup location!

That's all. iTunes is fooled into thinking that the Backup folder in the original location is the actual folder while it practice, the folder is moved to another drive.

Ensure that if you moved the folder to an external drive, it is always connected to the PC when you sync your iDevice with iTunes.

The effect is more free space on your principal computer drive - where you need it the most!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • imake profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago

      You are welcome!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)