iTunes: About iOS backups
iTunes can back up your settings, Messages, Camera Roll, documents, saved games, and other data. Backups do not contain content synced to the device, such as movies, music, podcasts, and apps.
iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, iTunes, iTunes 10 for Mac, iTunes 10 for Windows
For information about how to create and restore from a backup, see iOS: How to back up.
iTunes and passcode-protected iOS devices
If an iOS device is protected with a passcode, iTunes prompts you to enter the passcode when you connect to your computer. Once you successfully enter the passcode, iTunes will recognize that device as authorized and you will not need your passcode to back up or sync. When restoring from an iOS 4 (or later) backup, if the device had a passcode set, iTunes will ask if you want to set a passcode (and remind you that you had protected your device with a passcode). iTunes will not ask you to set a passcode when restoring from iOS 3.x and prior backups.
iTunes and encrypted backups
In the iTunes Summary screen, select "Encrypt iPhone backup" if you want to encrypt the information stored on your computer when iTunes makes a backup. Encrypted backups are indicated by a padlock icon, and a password is required to restore the information to iPhone. You may want to write down the password for your backup and store it in a safe place. If you use a Mac, when you set a password you can select to store the password in the keychain. With iOS 4 and later, you can transfer the iOS keychain backup to a new device if you encrypt the backup.
Warning: If you encrypt an iPhone backup in iTunes and then forget your password, you will not be able to restore from backup and your data will be unrecoverable. If you forget the password, you can continue to back up and use the device, however you will not be able to restore the encrypted backup to any device without the password. You do not need to enter the password for your backup each time you back up or sync.
If you cannot remember the password and want to start again, you must perform a full software restore and when iTunes prompts you to select the backup from which to restore, choose set up as a new device.
Where iTunes backups are stored on your computer
The folder where your backup data are stored varies depending on the computer's operating system. Make sure the backup folder is included in your periodic data-backup routine.
iTunes places the backup files in the following places:
- Mac: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/
- Windows XP: \Documents and Settings\(username)\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\
Note: To quickly access the Application Data folder, click Start, and choose Run. Type %appdata% and click OK.
- Windows Vista and Windows 7: \Users\(username)\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\
Note: To quickly access the AppData folder, click Start. In the search bar, type %appdata% and press the Return key.
Deleting a backup in iTunes
If you want to delete a backup created by iTunes, follow these steps:
- Open iTunes Preferences:
- Windows: Choose Edit > Preferences
- Mac: Choose iTunes > Preferences
- Click Devices (the iOS device does not need to be connected).
- iTunes will show the phone number, IMEI, and serial number of the backed up iPhone when you position your mouse pointer over a backup (iTunes shows only the serial number for iPad and iPod touch). Use this to locate the backup for the iOS device you want to delete. Select the backup you want to remove and click Delete Backup.
- Confirm you wish to remove the selected backup by clicking Delete Backup.
- Click OK to close the iTunes Preferences Window.
iTunes will back up the following information
- Contacts* and Contact Favorites (regularly sync contacts to a computer or cloud service such as iCloud to back them up).
- App Store Application data including in-app purchases (except the Application itself, its tmp and Caches folder).
- Application settings, preferences, and data, including documents.
- Autofill for webpages.
- CalDAV and subscribed calendar accounts.
- Calendar accounts.
- Calendar events.
- Call history.
- Camera Roll (Photos, screenshots, images saved, and videos taken. Videos greater than 2 GB are backed up with iOS 4.0 and later.)
Note: For devices without a camera, Camera Roll is called Saved Photos.
- Game Center account.
- Home screen arrangement.
- In-app purchases.
- Keychain (this includes email account passwords, Wi-Fi passwords, and passwords you enter into websites and some other applications. If you encrypt the backup with iOS 4 and later, you can transfer the keychain information to the new device. With an unencrypted backup, you can restore the keychain only to the same iOS device. If you are restoring to a new device with an unencrypted backup, you will need to enter these passwords again.)
- List of External Sync Sources (MobileMe, Exchange ActiveSync).
- Location service preferences for apps and websites you have allowed to use your location.
- Mail accounts (mail messages are not backed up).
- Installed Profiles. When restoring a backup to a different device, installed configuration profiles are not restored (such as accounts, restrictions, or anything which can be specified through an installed profile.) Any accounts or settings that are not associated with an installed profile will still be restored.
- Map bookmarks, recent searches, and the current location displayed in Maps.
- Microsoft Exchange account configurations.
- Network settings (saved Wi-Fi hotspots, VPN settings, network preferences).
- Nike + iPod saved workouts and settings.
- Offline web application cache/database.
- Paired Bluetooth devices (which can only be used if restored to the same phone that did the backup).
- Safari bookmarks, cookies, history, offline data, and currently open pages.
- Saved suggestion corrections (these are saved automatically as you reject suggested corrections).
- Messages (iMessage and carrier SMS or MMS pictures and videos).
- Trusted hosts that have certificates that cannot be verified.
- Voice memos.
- Voicemail token. (This is not the voicemail password, but is used for validation when connecting. This is only restored to a phone with the same phone number on the SIM card).
- Web clips.
- YouTube bookmarks and history.
* Your contacts are part of the backup to preserve recent calls and favorites lists. Back up your contacts to a supported personal information manager (PIM), iCloud, or another cloud-based service to avoid any potential contact data loss.
For information about backups in iCloud, see iCloud: Backup and restore overview.
The Camera Roll will not be restored to your device in the following circumstances:
- You are attempting to restore an iPad, but the Camera Roll backup was made with an iPhone or iPod touch
- You are attempting to restore an iPhone or iPod touch, but the Camera Roll backup was made with an iPad
With iOS 1.1 and later
- Safari bookmarks, cookies, history, and currently open pages
- Map bookmarks, recent searches, and the current location displayed in Maps
- Application settings, preferences, and data
- Address Book and Address Book favorites
- Calendar accounts
- Call history
- Mail accounts
- YouTube bookmarks
- SMS messages
- Saved suggestion corrections (these are saved automatically as you reject suggested corrections)
- Camera Roll (photos and screenshots taken by the iPhone)
- Voicemail token (This is not the voicemail password, but is used for validation when connecting. This is only restored to a phone with the same phone number on the SIM card.)
- Web clips
- Network settings (saved Wi-Fi hotspots, VPN settings, network preferences)
- Paired Bluetooth devices (which can only be used if restored to the same phone that created the backup)
- Keychain (This includes email account passwords, Wi-Fi passwords, and passwords you enter into websites and some other applications. The keychain can only be restored from backup to the same iPhone or iPod touch. If you are restoring to a new device, you will need to fill in these passwords again.)
With iOS 2.0 and later (in addition to the above)
- Managed Configurations/Profiles
- List of External Sync Sources (Mobile Me, Exchange ActiveSync)
- Microsoft Exchange account configurations
- Nike + iPod saved workouts and settings
- App Store application data (except the application itself, its tmp and caches folder).
With iOS 3.0 and later (in addition to the above)
- Videos in Camera Roll
- Per-app preferences allowing use of Location Services
- Offline web application cache/database
- Voice Memos
- Autofill for webpages
- Trusted hosts having certificates that cannot be verified
- Websites approved to get the location of the device
- In-app purchases
New with iOS 3.1: Videos in the Camera Roll that are 2 GB or larger are not backed up (iOS 4 and later will back up videos 2 GB and larger)