Managing iPhone Backups
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 a bunch of applications on my iPhone 3G. My iPhone backup folder on my computer is now 3.4 GB. It has 8 files ranging from about 350 to 700 megs created over the last month since I got the phone. Is there anyway to reduce this file size or can the older files be deleted? I use a Macbook Air with the SSD, which has a rather small hard drive.
A: In this case it would appear that you have additional backups for your iPhone that iTunes is still keeping around. As of iTunes 7.7, an additional backup of your iPhone is retained each time you do a full restore or update the firmware on your iPhone. With four firmware versions released since the original iPhone 3G release, this means that you likely have at least four backups lying around that you may no longer require.
You can see the list of backups that iTunes is storing by selecting the Devices tab in your iTunes 8 preferences (this tab called Syncing in iTunes 7.x):
The date and time each backup was taken is shown, and the backup with the same name as your device is the most current one. Other backups will have the date and time that they were saved appended to the end of the device name.
If your iPhone has been working fine and these backups are more than a couple of days old, you most likely do not require them. You can remove them simply by highlighting the backup in question and clicking the “Delete Backup” button (iTunes 8) or “Remove Backup” button (iTunes 7). The backup folder and files for any backups you remove will be deleted from your computer as soon as you hit the OK button.
You should also consider upgrading to the latest iPhone v2.1 OS, as this now backs up only data from your iPhone, and does not store redundant copies of the applications themselves. This should resulting in significantly smaller backups—in our testing our largest backups shrunk from 565 MB down to 32 MB after applying the iPhone v2.1 firmware, and ran significantly faster as well. Be sure to check out our Instant Expert: Secrets and Features of iPhone 2.1 for more information.
- 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?
- Report: Apple pursuing studio agreements for early movie rentals
- Apple releases seventh beta of iOS 10.2 to developers
- Apple makes its picks for best iPhone, iPad and Apple TV apps of 2016
- Apple acknowledges Apple Music now includes ‘all the benefits of iTunes Match’
- Apple Music tops 20 million subscribers
- Apple blames ‘external factors’ for iPhone fires in China
- Rumor: 2017 iPhones won’t include glass chassis or wireless charging; will add red color
- Top Apple supplier Foxconn planning U.S. investment
- Apple enables Single Sign-On across all iOS 10 and tvOS 10 devices
- Apple releases fifth beta for tvOS 10.1 to developers
- Brydge 12.9 iPad Pro Keyboard
- Sen.se GuardPeanut
- iHome iZBT10 Zenergy Bedside Sleep Therapy Speaker
- Twelve South HiRise Duet for Apple Watch and iPhone
- IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitor
- JBL Under Armour Sport Wireless Heart Rate Headphones
- Edifier e235 Luna E Speaker System
- Clamcase ClamCase+ for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Scosche BoomBottle H2O+ Waterproof Wireless Speaker
- Thermos Connected Hydration Bottle with Smart Lid
- Top Five: The Best Products for Building a Smart Home with HomeKit
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- 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