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I realised I was running drastically low on disk space today, and after some poking around found I had 40GB (!) of apps in iTunes.

Now that Apple have sorted out their store so you can re-download without paying etc, can I safely delete this entire folder without losing all my apps? And will the apps currently on my devices (iPad and iPhone) stay there following a sync?

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Apple's Stackexchange site would probably work pretty well for this question, but this site fits the categories as well. – cutrightjm Apr 10 '12 at 2:37
up vote 7 down vote accepted

I had a similiar problem when I just bought my new iPad and downloaded a ton load of apps to it.

iTunes saves the downloaded apps as .ipa files on your harddrive, and when I found them I just deleted them, and I've been synchronizing my iPad multiple times after, and havent lost any of my apps on the iPad.

The .ipa's is placed here if you're using windows:

C:\Users\<username>\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Mobile Applications

And here if you are using OS X:

User/Music/iTunes/Mobile Applications

Alternatively you can just do this: For windows:

  1. Open iTunes

  2. Go to Library, and press Apps menu

  3. Here you can see all your apps, right click just any if 'em

  4. Press "Show in Windows Explore"

For OS X:

  1. Open iTunes

  2. Go to Library, and press Apps menu

  3. Here you can see all your apps, right click just any if 'em

  4. Click "Show in Finder"

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What I do:

Delete all, then plug your phone in and right click it. Hit transfer purchases.

This will copy all apps from your phone (currently installed) to your pc.

Other apps that you deleted won't come back but you can always get them back via itunes (as they are not installed on your phone).

Then you can safely sync.

If you have another device - ipad - plug it in and transfer again.

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This works although syncing all your apps from your device back to your computer can be really slow. It's unfortunate that Apple doesn't add an option to automate this in iTunes since they could make it a lot faster, although I'm not sure how it would work with multiple devices. – Craig W Sep 30 '12 at 7:04
And the fact that iTunes keeps back ups of old versions of apps that have been upgraded is simply stunningly bad. Do I really need to have Gigabytes of old versions of mobile Keynote, Pages, Numbers taking up space on my Mac? – jwd630 2 days ago

Manipulating the iTunes folder structure manually is a VERY bad idea. If you didn't redownload the apps that were on your iDevice, it would likely clobber the apps on the device the next time you sync'd.

A better solution would be to go through the "Apps" section in iTunes itself and delete ones that aren't currently on any devices, thus getting rid of the copies on the computer without clobbering ones on the device. You can still redownload them from iCloud, should the need arise.

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