While iCloud backups provide a certain degree of convenience, many users will quickly go beyond the free 5GB of storage that Apple provides. Unless you’re already paying for more iCloud storage, or willing to shell out for a larger plan just for backups, you’ll be happy to know that iTunes still provides a handy alternative to keep your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch backed up to your Mac or PC, and in fact even has a key advantage over iCloud for transferring data to a new device.

Managing iOS device backups in iTunes

Recent versions of iTunes have added a couple of useful tricks for managing your iOS device backups in iTunes. You can see a list of all of the device backups that are currently stored on your computer by going into your iTunes Preferences and choosing the Devices tab. As before, you can get more information on each of the listed backups by hovering the mouse pointer over them, and you can remove individual backups from here. Right-clicking on a backup reveals that iTunes has a couple of other useful tricks up its sleeve, however: you can open the backup folder in Finder or Windows Explorer — useful if you wanted to copy it somewhere else or transfer it to a new computer, for instance — and you can also choose to mark a backup as “Archived.” This second feature freezes and saves the current backup so that iTunes will make an entirely new, second backup the next time around. Should you need to later restore your device, you’ll be able to choose from any of the available backups, archived or current. This can be particularly useful for taking a “snapshot” of your device’s state before making any big changes.


Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.