Extra iPhone and iPad Backups Waste Hard Drive Space

Your Mac may be storing extra iPhone and iPad backups. If so, they are wasting hard drive storage space. Here are instructions on how you can easily view a list of all iPad and iPhone backups and remove the extras.

  • Open iTunes.
  • Click on the iTunes menu and select Preferences.
  • Click the Devices icon.
  • Below Device Backups you’ll see a list of all backups stored on your Mac.
  • If you want to delete a backup, click on it, then click the Delete Backup button.
  • When you’re done click the OK button.

You may be surprised by the number of backups that are listed and you might wonder why all of these backups are kept. Each time your iPhone or iPad is connected to your Mac it is usually backed up. Typically, only the most recent backup is stored. However, when you update the iOS software on your iPhone or iPad, iTunes holds onto the last backup just prior to the upgrade. Additionally, when you transition from one device to a newer device, iTunes will store the last backup of the older device. This explains why backups can accumulate. Depending upon the storage capacity of your device each backup can range from a few gigabytes (GB) to dozens of gigabytes in size. Thus these backups can consume an inordinate amount of hard drive storage space. When I use Omni Disksweeper to clean up a hard drive, I frequently free up gobs of space by deleting iPhone and iPad backups.

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