How you can backup your iPhone / Ipad/iPod to external drives on Mac OS X

This is a valuable tutorial for those who are using MacBook with SSD Drives mine came with just a 128gb drive and am having more than 45gb worth of data on my iPhone. Obviously, this is not going to be enough for my needs as I will need to store some other files on my mac. I also have windows installed on my mac which consumes additional space. On the good side, i have a 1tb external hard drive which is having more than 400gb of free spae. I searched online and come up with how to backup your iPhone to and external drive in order to free some space on your mac. I did this and I was able to save 4.5gb of disk space

how to backup mac to external drive

This works the same with all versions of Mac OS X, all types of iOS devices irrespective of the versions of iOS, and all versions of iTunes, since the location of the iOS backup files has stayed the same on the Mac. Technically you could do this with a network volume or an SD card as well, However, a traditional external hard disk is the focus here. You need to perform the following prerequisites:

  1. Quit iTunes if you haven’t done so already
  2. Connect the external hard drive to the Mac and make sure it is detected by mac. If you haven’t done so already, then make sure you take not of all existing folders in the drive. We will create our backup here.
  3. Now open any folder or finder on your mac>>selectGO>>then copy the codes below into the space provided.. the pictures below explains more:




copy backup to ext drive

code to copy ios backup on mac








then copy the following codes as shown in the picture above and paste it into the space provided:

~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/

4. Locate the folder in this directory called “Backup” and copy that to the root of your external drive. In my case, the name of my external drive is called “Seagate” folder you just made on the external drive

5. Go back to the original location of the Backup folder (at ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/), rename “Backup” to “Backup-Old”, or simply delete it (Please do not delete if you have not copied it to the external drive

6. Launch Terminal Applications/Utilities/Terminal(you can also use the search app on Mac to search for terminal) and type in the following command line:

ln -s /Volumes/seagate/Backup/ ~/Library/Application\ Support/MobileSync/Backup



    In the above example, ‘DriveName’ would be the name of the new backup location. In this example, the external hard drive is named “seagate”, and the iTunes backup folder on that volume is ‘Backup’, so adjust those as needed for your situation

    8. Quit Terminal, then confirm the symbolic link was created by returning to “~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/” in the Finder, the “Backup” folder should now be a generic file with an arrow on it, signifying there is now a direct link between that “Backup” and the location specified on the external hard disk as shown below:


9. Open iTunes and connect the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to the computer, as usual, select the device within iTunes, select ‘This Computer’ as the backup location (optionally encrypting the backup), and then choose “Back Up Now” to start the device backup to the external drive

10. When the backup has completed in iTunes, double-check everything is in order by going to the folder on the external drive and confirming there is a “Backup” folder containing a hexadecimal named subdirectory – this is the backup made from iTunes of the device as shown below:

confirm external bckup on Mac

That is all. One you have confirmed that the files have been linked for backup on your external drives, you can delete the backup folder from the mac drive


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