If you’ve looking for the location of your iPhone Backup files in the file system of a computer, then you’ll be pleased to know they’re easy to find even if a bit hidden. Whether you use Mac OS X or Windows, the iPhone backup process is basically the same; iTunes backs up all of your iPhone files, pictures, media, and identifier information to a specific directory on the computer, which iTunes then uses in the future to restore and sync the iOS device.
We’ll point you to the proper directory locations of iPhone and iPad backup files on a Mac or Windows… but do note that you should not mess with these iPhone backup files unless you know what you’re doing and why.
Keep in mind the backup directory will have a name that is gibberish looking name of hexadecimal, do not change the backup names or they may fail in iTunes.
iPhone Backup Location for Mac OS X
In all versions of Mac OS X, your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch backup files are backed up and stored at the following location:
The () symbol signifies your home directory, which is the same place all your other personal documents are stored. The easiest way to go there in OS X is by hitting the Command+Shift+G keyboard shortcut and pasting that directory path in the Go To Folder screen.
Here is what the backup directory looks like on a Mac:
iPhone Backup Location for Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, XP, and Vista
Different versions of Windows store the iPhone and iPad locations in slightly different locations, though the version of iTunes does not matter.
Windows 7 and Windows Vista backs up the iPhone files to here:
Windows 8, Windows 10 stores the iPhone and iPad backup files at the following directory path:
Windows XP stores all of your iPhone backup files in this location:
C:\Documents and Settings\user\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup
Obviously if your main drive is not C: then you’ll have to change that, same goes for ‘user’, be sure to replace with the username of your login in Windows.
Here is what the iOS backup directory looks like in Windows:
Note to Windows users: the Application Data and AppData directories and their contents (iPhone backups included) are considered ‘hidden’ so you will need to enable ‘Show hidden files’ within Windows Explorer before you will be able to see the files.
iPhone Backup Files & Directory Notes
There’s various reasons you’d need (or want) access to the iPhone Backup files, but generally speaking you should be able to rely on iTunes to handle all your iPhone restoration and backup needs. If you’re interested in keeping your own backup copies though, say for Jailbreaking purposes, knowing the location of the iPhone backup is handy. You can also make a back up of your backups by copying this folder.
You’ll notice that the files in the directory are almost all unusual and randomized names, directory names are typically hexadecimal and random, looking like “97AAAA051fBBBBBff2b1f906577cbAAAAAef7112” or ffb541c48e97051fff2b1f906577cbef71123c4fb.mdbackup, these are all automatically generated. Multiple devices will have multiple backup directories with unique files in each. There’s also a few xml files in the directory that have unique identifier information about your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Again, don’t modify these files if you don’t know what you’re doing as you can damage the backup.
This probably goes without saying, but unless you know what you’re doing you should NOT edit any of these iPhone backup files! Editing or deleting any of these files could result in improper, malformed, or otherwise unreliable backups, and any other number of problems with your iPhone.
If you’re looking for a way to access your iPhone files through some kind of browser application rather than the Finder or Windows Explorer, you could try some of the apps out there, but many of them are poorly made in my experience.
This article was updated on April 8, 2015 by Paul Horowitz. If you have any questions or comments about where iTunes backs up your iOS devices locally, let us know!