Where does Windows' iTunes save (backup) app content?

Discussion in 'iPad Help' started by Commodore, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. Commodore
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    Commodore iPad Fan

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    I've checked my iTunes folder on my Windows computer. There's ...iTunes\Mobile Applications\ which contains all apps' *.ipa files. I took a peek into one of them (i.e. added .zip extension and opened in Total Commander ;) ), but wasn't able to find any "content files" there (e.g. no PDF or RTF files in GoodReader), just the app. So when I synchronize or backup apps from my iPad to my desktop computer, where does the content go?
  2. Mickey330
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    Mickey330 Administrator Staff Member

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    Here's some generic addresses for where iTunes puts backup files (you may have to do a bit of modifying to get to it exactly on your own computer):

    Mac: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/
    Windows XP: \Documents and Settings\(username)\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\
    Windows Vista and Windows 7: \Users\(username)\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\

    To access it, I use a computer program called iBackupBot. It's a free trial, the about $40 (USD), if I remember correctly. I used it with Windows machine, though I am pretty sure it'll work on a Mac.

    Hope this helps.

    Marilyn
  3. Commodore
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    Thanks, the stuff is there. This also answered my hypothetical question "where did 15 GB of the free space on my system drive go" (well, at least this location accounts for 4.5 GB :) so I still need to find out where the other 10 GB went).
  4. jkitc
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    jkitc iPF Noob

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    Can I move the "Backup" folder to another drive on my computer?
  5. Mickey330
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    Mickey330 Administrator Staff Member

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    As far as I can tell (cause I didn't actually do it) - yes.

    In iTunes, navigate to advanced preferences (Edit > Preferences > Advanced). You should see a picture like this:

    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1365163449.569960.jpg

    If you click on the "Browse" button next to your current location, you will open a Windows Explorer window to browse for an alternate location in which to save your backups. Note this does not change your iTunes location - only where your backup is stored.

    Hope this helps.

    Marilyn

    P.S. Though I don't know for sure, I would think the process is the same if you are using a Mac versus a Windows PC. Just the names would change...
  6. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    Sorry. This only changes the location of the media folders (your music, app, ect. libraries). The backup location can not be changed. At least not easily. It might be possible to create a redirect, a file that points to another file location; but I'm not familiar enough with the technique to offer help on either OS X or Windows.
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  7. Mickey330
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    Mickey330 Administrator Staff Member

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    Oh, doh! I didn't realize that! You'd think I'd learn to read better (or follow through on an action to make sure it works).

    Thanks for the catch, twerppoet.

    Marilyn
  8. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    No problem. The first time the question came up I looked in the media library for the backups. Took me a while to figure out they were not there, and then some more to research where they actually reside.
  9. Commodore
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    I did that a while ago. You need to use a workaround with junction points/links. If you're using Windows, Junction Link Magic is a great tool for these things. But you must be careful when tinkering with things like that.

    - First I created a new empty folder where I wanted the backup to reside (e.g. d:\Backups\SomeOtherFolderForIpadBackup).
    - Then I moved the content from the original backup folder to the new one (e.g. from c:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync to d:\Backups\SomeOtherFolderForIpadBackup). The original folder needs to be empty at the end.
    - I started Junction Link Magic. With the Create button you make a new junction link:
    ~Junction Point (host folder) you point to the original (empty) location (e.g. c:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync)
    ~Destination (target folder) you point to the folder you created, i.e. where you also moved the original backup files (e.g. d:\Backups\SomeOtherFolderForIpadBackup)
    It only takes a few moments to establish the link. After that, the original folder will actually be a link to the new folder, so you'll see the content on both sides (but physically the content will reside in the new folder).

    And before doing any of these, make sure no iDevices are connected, iTunes is shut down, and (just in case...) none of its services are running (Apple Mobile Device, Bonjour Service, iPod Service).
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