There are dozens of people on dozens of forums offering ideas about how to make an old iPhone work with a new computer, but most of them are incomplete or incorrect. Indeed, by far the easiest way to sync an iPhone to a new Windows PC or Mac is to transfer all iPhone files and backups from the older computer to the new one. The necessary data is stored in several different locations, and here in this article we will cover what files and where they go for both Windows and Mac OS X.
By far the easiest way to sync an iPhone to a new Mac or Windows PC is to transfer all iPhone files and backups from the old computer to the new one. The necessary data is stored in several different locations, and we’ll cover what files and where they go for both Mac OS X and Windows.
Something you need to know:
- If you only want to sync and not worry about content, the /MobileSync/Backup/ directory is all you need to copy over
- If you want to preserve all other iTunes content, music, video and preferences, you will need to transfer over the potentially large iTunes folder
- Using a local network is the generally quickest way to move the necessary files over, but copying them to a USB drive, DVD, hard drive, etc, is fine too
This guide is aimed for iPhone users, but it would work with an iPod touch and iPad too.
Steps to Sync an iPhone with a new Mac by copying sync data
Quit iTunes on both Macs and disconnect the iPhone from both Macs
Open the Home folder and copy the iTunes directory from the old computer to the new one, located at:
Now open the user library directory and copy the backups from the old computer to the new one, located at:
To be certain everything is in order, copy over iTunes Preferences files as well:
Connect the iPhone to the new Mac, launch iTunes, confirm that everything is in order, and authorize the new computer
Steps to sync an iPhone with a new Windows PC
For a Windows 7 PC, directories from the following locations would be copied and transferred to the desired location in the new computer:
Replace “USERNAME” with the users account name. Older versions of Windows have iPhone backups located at the following location instead:
C: Documents and SettingsUSERApplication DataApple ComputerMobileSyncBackup
Now launch iTunes and connect the iPhone and it should sync as normal. Go ahead and authorize iTunes with the new computer as well. (Play WMV, MKV, AVI, TiVo and MTS videos on the new iPhone 5)