iTunes creates quite a big backup directory on my C: drive whenever I back up my iPhone.

Is there a way to tell iTunes to back up the iPhone data to another location?

9 Answers 9


According to this article you can't change the iTunes behavior. However, you can use a feature of NTFS to point that folder to another drive. This feature is typically called a "junction".

You can use this tool to create a junction: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896768.aspx

For example, let's say you want your iPhone backup to be D:\backup. You would do this:

  1. close iTunes
  2. Move the folder "C:\Documents and Settings\User\Application Data\Apple Computer\Mobile Sync\Backup" to D:\
  3. Extract the junction.zip to Desktop
  4. Open a command prompt and enter these commands:

    cd Desktop
    junction "C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Apple Computer\Mobile Sync\Backup" D:\backup

NOTE 1: Change "username" to match your current username, of course.

NOTE 2: I did not test the above! In general, junction points work OK, but only if programs don't mess with the linked directory (like rename or remove it). For example, if iTunes does something like delete the ...\Mobile Sync\Backup directory and then recreate it, it will no longer go to the D:\backups folder.

NOTE 3: If you installed iTunes from the Windows Store, the path to the backup files will be: C:\Users\username\Apple\MobileSync\Backup

  • 18
    +1 - but you don't need to download/install extra software for this on Windows Vista and 7. You can just use mklink from an elevated command prompt.
    – DMA57361
    Aug 25, 2010 at 10:19
  • Tanx for your help because I am MBP user I just use XP in old times and don't know features of vista and 7.
    – Am1rr3zA
    Aug 25, 2010 at 12:25
  • 2
    Or you could move the whole directory and just type: junction.exe "%APPDATA%\Apple Computer" D:\iTunes
    – Parsa
    Sep 26, 2011 at 10:05
  • 2
    This also works for mklink: mklink /J "%APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup" "M:\iTunesMobileSync\Backup"
    – Soviut
    Sep 20, 2012 at 8:10
  • Works with mklink/D too Jun 21, 2017 at 22:32

I finally managed it - the above steps were only half right for my Windows XP Professional system but thanks a lot anyway. Junction would not work from the desktop using those commands. To get it working I had to put the junction program file (junction.exe) into the c:\Documents and Settings\<username> folder.

The correct sequence is to close iTunes then:

  1. Download Junction from Sysinternals and unzip Junction.exe to your username folder, usually in here: c:\Documents and Settings\(USERNAME)

  2. Create a folder for the backups in the desired new location. Move the existing iPhone "Backup" folder from its default location (C:\Documents and Setting\username\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync) to your new location. In my example this is H:\Backups\Iphone Backup.

  3. Open a Command Prompt: Start > Run > cmd

  4. In the Command Prompt, type the following:

    junction "C:\Documents and Setting\<username>\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup" "H:\Backups\Iphone Backup"

    (Replace your own file path where I have "H:\Backups\Iphone Backup")

  5. Close the Command Prompt. Open iTunes and start the backup.

You can move any of the other iPhone folders from their default locations using this approach.


Instead of using junction you can use the Windows command line as follows:

  1. Move the backup directory wherever you want (e.g. from C:.....Backup to D:\bu)
  2. Completely remove the Backup directory from C:
  3. Run the following command from Backup's previous location:

    mklink /J Backup d:\bu

It only took one HDD movie on my iPad to gobble up all the available space on my C: drive when the next sync occurred. Thanks to Paul and Wolfgang, I saved myself from buying a bigger SSD with one easy command:

junction "%appdata%\Apple Computer\MobileSync\backup" F:\Temp\backup

For what it's worth, here are instructions for Windows Vista, 7 and Mac OS X as well: http://aaltonen.us/2011/01/03/change-the-location-of-your-iphone-backup/

  • Link now points to a blank page; answer contains no information. Oct 1, 2015 at 8:40

instead of "C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\" you may use "%appdata%" which makes it easier do to copy and paste. E.g.: %appdata%\Apple Computer\MobileSync\backup


Wrong Command Line:

junction creates the link named after the first parameter and lets it point to the second.

The correct command line would be:

junction "C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup" C:\Backup

iTunes now looks at "C:\Documents ...." which is a link to C:\Backup


Here is part of the help displayed by the program itself:

usage: junction <junction directory> <junction target>
       example: junction d:\link c:\windows

The junction directory is the 'fake' location, where you go to access the file/directory The junction target is where the file/directory actually resides (disk:\folder\file)

  • 1
    While I was able to make the junction work, iTunes still throws an error message about c:\ has only 5GB available and it needs 20GB (which IS available on L:\Backup - the target of the junction) I don't understand why it's not working (XP SP2, 1 drive, several NTFS partitions)
    – OUM
    Oct 16, 2011 at 4:55

So, actually it should be:

junction I:\iTunesBackup "C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup"

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