Change location of iPhone/iPod backups?

Discussion in 'OS X' started by Nihaochan, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2005
    I just installed a small 30GB SSD into my macbook (for the boot drive - holds OS and applications) and then I have an optibay with a larger harddrive in place of the superdrive. However I'm running into a problem with the SSD because I have a 32GB iPhone that iTunes is trying to backup. This uses basically 100% of the space on the SSD.

    Is there any way for me to change where iTunes backs up the iPhone? Or some script to redirect it so I can have it backup on my second hard drive?
  2. macrumors member


    Jan 10, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Ran into this issue myself after converting to SSD, and after some web-searching, these are the steps to follow:-

    Firstly, the iTunes backup location is here:-
    /Users/<YourNameHere>/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/

    1. Move the ENTIRE Backup folder to your location of choice (external HDD etc).
    2. The MobileSync folder should now be empty.
    3. Open up Terminal and type in the following command:
    ln -s /Volumes/<HDD>/MobileSync/Backup/ ~/Library/Application\ Support/MobileSync/Backup
    4. You should now see an icon called Backup with an arrow in the MobileSync folder which indicates that the ln command has worked.

    Note: <HDD> indicates the Volume Name of your desired HD where you moved the Backups folder; and for simplicity's sake, I created the MobileSync/Backup folder(s) on the external HD - you can use whatever name you want.

    Hope that helps - I managed to save approximately 20GB+ of space by doing this, and now have about slightly more than 50% of my SSD free.
  3. macrumors newbie

    Jul 10, 2008
    I had the exact same issue. This worked perfectly. With my iPad and two iPhones this saved me some serious space.
  4. macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2012
    Awesome little code... thanks!

    It took me a couple of attempts to get it to work, but eventually it did, and now I'm happily backing up my 64GB iPad2 and my 32GB iPhone 4 to my WD Passport 1TB external HDD. Just as a note to coding newbies like myself, the "\" is required before the space if there is a space between words within the folder or volume name. For example, OldMacUser's code shows "Application\ Support/MobileSync...etc". My external HDD is named "My Passport", so I had to enter it in code as "My\ Passport". Also, as the instructions indicate, it's best to create a new MobileSync folder in the root directory of your external HDD or whatever volume you plan to point the backup to. Move or delete the "Backup" folder out of the MobileSync folder that is in your User/Library/Application Support folder, otherwise you will get an error in Terminal that says the file exists, and it won't create the alias that points to your new Backup folder.
  5. macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2012
    Thanks for the tip!

    Worked like a charm for me. I was a little anxious as a noob that it might not work over NAS but no problem at all. I'm grateful to have cleared up 13 GB of space on my local drive.
  6. macrumors newbie

    Sep 22, 2012
    Guys, I'm having some problems. I'm following the posts, trying to redirect my iPhone's backup to an external, which I named 500 GIGs. When I type in the command in Terminal, I get the message /Volumes/500 GIGs/MobileSync/Backup: is a directory. What am I doing wrong?

    Any help out there.
  7. macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2012
    I followed the instructions but now I get a backup to both hard drives instead of one. What did I do wrong?
  8. macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2009
    Did you ever get this to work?
  9. macrumors newbie

    May 7, 2012
    deletion of backups


    recently I've changed my backup type on iPhone and iPad from "back to Mac" to "back to iCloud".

    And I wonder now, can I delete the contents of the /Users/<username>/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup folder? Or will iTunes :apple: do it on its own? It takes up 6GB of space.

  10. macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2013
    Not working - moving back to internal HDD

    I recently installed an external Thunderbolt SSD which is now my boot drive, everything from my internal drive was cloned to it. I want to move my iPhone backups back to the internal HDD so they don't eat up space on my external SSD. I tried the code listed here but it's not working. When I entered the code, Terminal said "The file exists", but it's still writing backups to the external drive. Here's the code I used:
    ln -s /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD/Backup/ ~/Library/Application\ Support/MobileSync/Backup

    Where am I going wrong?
  11. macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2010
    I tried this and it created the icon and everything, but then when I went to backup it said that the backup was corrupt?! I tried erasing the old backups in the app and in the directory, but still didnt work. :)
  12. macrumors newbie

    Oct 31, 2013
    Anyone find a solution to the error about not being able to backup to the Capsule? I have everything configured as described but I consistently get an error message stating-
    "iTunes could not backup the iPhone because the backup was corrupt or not compatible with the phone. delete the backup for this phone then try again"

    I have deleted all back ups on the local hard drive and the time capsule and still get the same error message.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  13. macrumors newbie

    Oct 31, 2013
    Perhaps i'm wrong in assuming this can work over wifi? I am trying to backup to an external drive connected to my Airport Time Capsule.
  14. macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2006
    Hi. I also need help please.
    I am trying to mov it to my second internal HD ( called Macintosh HD 2 ) on my iMac with the of;;owing command:

    ln -s/Volumes/Macintosh\ HD\ 2/MobileSync/Backup/ ~/Library/Application\ Support/MobileSync.

    I receive the following error:

    ln: illegal option -- /
    usage: ln [-Ffhinsv] source_file [target_file]
    ln [-Ffhinsv] source_file ... target_dir
    link source_file target_file
  15. lva
    macrumors member


    Nov 18, 2013
    Please have a look between the -s and /Volumes. You've forgotten a blank space. And please remove the dot at the end of the symlink command.
  16. macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2006
    Thank you!
    It no longer gives me the error message, but it tells me that the file exists.
    I don't know what I am doing wrong. I deleted the back up folder on the original drive.
  17. lva
    macrumors member


    Nov 18, 2013
    Please take care that there is no MobileSync folder in ~/Library/Application Support/

    When system wants to create the symlink MobileSync at your choosen point ~/Library/Application Support/ where a folder or file with the same name exists, it will give you an error message.
  18. macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2006
    Found the problem. My Library folder was hidden.
    Now everything is working.
    Thank you very much Iva !
  19. macrumors 6502a


    Oct 8, 2011
    I went through all the steps but I get an error code in iTunes saying - "iPhone cannot be backed up due to corrupted file..etc etc."

    I checked the Library/Application Support/MobileSync folder on my internal HDD and have a little black arrow on the Backup folder.

    Am I missing something?

    Also, when I delete that file in MobileSync - I'm able to backup again.
  20. macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    I know this thread is old....

    Hi folks,

    I know this thread is old, but I'm trying to move my backups. They take up way too much space.

    I keep getting errors such as:

    ln -s /Volumes/KeebMedia/MobileSync/Backup/ ~library/Application\ Support MobileSync
    ln: MobileSync: No such file or directory

    I'm close. I can feel it.

    Any help for a schmuck who can't figure this out? :)

  21. .X.
    macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2014
    Try this:

    ln -s /Volumes/KeebMedia/MobileSync/Backup/ ~/Library/Application\ Support/MobileSync
  22. macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2014
    a little frustrated. just did a dual drive setup using a new SSD and my old HDD with my iTunes files. want it to redirect my iPhone backup to the HDD with no luck

    my steps:

    1. backed up the phone - goes to SSD-->User-->Application Support-->MobileSync-->Backup Folder
    2. copied that backup folder to the HDD in User-->Application Support-->MobileSync
    3. Delete the Backup folder in SSD
    3. Open up Terminal and type command: ln -s /Volumes/MyHDDnamewhereIwantittogo/MobileSync/Backup/ ~/Library/Application\ Support/MobileSync/Backup

    says sile exists
  23. macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2014
    got it to work by copying/dragging the path to Terminal instead

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