Backing up Apps
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: I have yet to read anywhere about a program that will backup music, videos, photos AND apps. Is there such a program? Having to remember all the apps you’ve acquired is a pain especially when the iTunes Store only shows the most recent purchases and you have to do a search for the ones not currently displayed. I would prefer a program that allows for the backup to be stored on a selected hard drive so that formatting my hard drive or restoring the iPod would be quick and painless, just like backing up your e-mail contacts. Any such program?
A: There’s actually not really any magic to backing up your applications from iTunes, and unlike music and other media content, the iTunes library database doesn’t store any extra metadata for apps. Unless you’re using an iTunes-specific backup application that deliberately excludes apps, these should get backed up automatically along with everything else in your library.
All of your apps should be located in one of two places depending on whether you are using the new iTunes 9 “Media organization” or have upgraded from an older version of iTunes and not yet converted to the new storage layout. The key folder is “Mobile Applications” and will be located either directly under your “iTunes” folder or within your “iTunes Media” folder, as set under your iTunes Advanced Preferences.
This folder contains all of your apps that are stored by iTunes, as a series of files with .IPA extensions, one app to a file. Backing up everything in this folder is all you need to do in order to backup your apps, and any normal backup utility should be able to do this for you on a scheduled basis as easily as backing up your word processing and spreadsheet files.
Note that if you’re already backing up your entire “iTunes” and “iTunes Media” folders on your computer then you will pick up all of your apps as part of this process without any further effort on your part. This is the easiest way to backup your information from iTunes, as this will include the iTunes library database and other media content, and restoring is simply a matter of putting everything back into those folders on your main hard drive.
Note that if you are backing up your apps separately and need to restore them to a new iTunes library, or perhaps copy or move them to a second iTunes library, this is simply a matter of adding the IPA files back in by either dragging-and-dropping them into the iTunes window or using the Add to Library option on the iTunes File menu.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Universal calls an end to exclusives amid criticisms that Apple Music is hurting the industry
- Apple reveals some of its upcoming AI advancements for the iPhone
- Apple Music’s royalty rates complicate Spotify’s contract negotiations
- iFixit highlights ‘Touch Disease’ affecting many iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models
- Rebranded Nike+ Run Club app adds new tracking abilities
- Apple Music Festival set for Sept. 18-30
- Report: Apple planning three iPhone models for 2017, one with curved OLED display
- Apple investigating after two Foxconn employees died last week
- Apple buys health data startup Gliimpse
- Report: Apple passes on Lyft acquisition
- Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected Bluetooth Toothbrush
- Audeze EL-8 Titanium Over-Ear Headphones
- Defined Corp Dome Stand for Apple Watch and iPhone
- Speck StyleFolio Pencil for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Audeze Sine On-Ear Headphone
- First Alert Onelink Wi-Fi Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm
- Logitech Create 9.7” iPad Pro Keyboard Case
- iDevices Outdoor Switch Power Outlet
- 808 Audio Canz XL Bluetooth Speaker
- Standzout Helix Dock for Apple Watch
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app