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How to remove iOS device backups in iTunes and Finder

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How to delete iOS device backups from computer

Creating regular backups of your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch is important to keep your data safe. However, these backups can take up loads of storage space - so you may want to delete old and unnecessary backups occasionally to clear space on your computer.

Before permanently deleting a backup, make sure to extract any important information from it to save it safely on your computer.

1. Extract content from a backup before deleting it

Deleting your iPhone, iPod or iPad backups is permanent, so before you go ahead, make sure that you have everything you need from the backup.

If your backup contains important contacts, call logs, or files; or precious photos, videos and messages; iBackup Extractor extract only those files to save them safely to your computer. Once your chosen content is safe, you can delete the rest of the backup to reclaim your storage space!

How to save content from an iPhone backup to your computer:

  1. Launch iBackup Extractor on your PC or Mac.
  2. Select the iPhone backup you want to explore.
  3. Use the categories (Backup Media, Messages, Contacts etc.) to access your data.
  4. Select the data in a category that you want to save.
  5. Click the Save button and choose the folder on your computer to save to.
Download iBackup Extractor Now
Extract files from an iPhone backup
Extracting photos from an iOS backup using iBackup Extractor

2. Delete device backups from iTunes (Windows and macOS 10.14 and lower)

If you use a Windows computer or a Mac running macOS Mojave 10.14 or lower, iTunes creates the backups of your devices.

Here's how to find your iTunes backups and delete them:

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Open iTunes Preferences
    • PC: In the menu bar, click Edit > Preferences.
    • Mac: In the menu bar, click iTunes > Preferences.
  3. Click the Device tab.
  4. Choose the Backup you wish to remove and click on Delete Backup, as shown on the screenshot below.
  5. Repeat the process for any other listed backups of your iPhone.

Delete device backup in iTunes

3. Manually remove device backups without iTunes (Windows and macOS 10.14 and lower)

If you don't want to use iTunes to remove your device backups, you can find the backup files on your computer and delete them manually.

Check out our guide to locate where your backups are stored the steps to access your device backups are slightly different depending on your operating system, but all systems are covered in the guide.

Once you've located your Backups folder, you'll see your backups within. Each folder in the Backups folder is an individual backup. These folders are named with a unique identifier (a string of random characters). Simply select one such backup folder, right-click it and choose Delete.

4. Delete device backups from Finder (macOS Catalina 10.15 and higher)

Apple discontinued iTunes in macOS Catalina and replaced it with the Music app. As such, to manage your iOS device's backups in macOS Catalina or higher, you'll need to use Finder.

  1. Open Finder.
  2. Connect your iPhone and click it from the list on the left.
  3. Click "Manage Backups"
  4. Choose the Backup you wish to remove and click "Delete Backup", as shown on the screenshot below.
  5. Repeat the process for any other listed backups of your iPhone.
Delete iPhone backups in Mac Finder

5. How to remove iOS device backups in iCloud

If you back up your devices using iCloud, you can delete these backups easily from any of your devices from which you can access your account.

Delete iOS device backups on your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad

  1. Open Settings on your device and go to [your name] > iCloud.
  2. Access your backups:
    • iOS/iPadOS 16 or later: Tap "iCloud Backup".
    • iOS/iPadOS 15 or earlier: Tap "Manage Storage" > "Backups".
  3. Tap the device you wish to delete the iCloud backup for, then tap "Delete & Turn off Backup".

Delete iOS device backups on your Windows PC

  1. Ensure you have iCloud for Windows installed and that you are signed in with your Apple ID.
  2. Open iCloud for Windows and click "Storage".
  3. Click "Backups" to see your devices which are set to back up to iCloud.
  4. To remove a backup, select it and click "Delete".

Delete iOS device backups on your Mac

  1. In your Mac toolbar at the top of your screen, hit the Apple icon, and select System Settings (or System Preferences on macOS 12 or earlier).
  2. Click on the iCloud icon from the list.
  3. Here you'll see all of your iCloud settings. Click Manage...
  4. You'll see all of your iCloud content here. Click on the Backups tab on the left-hand side to see all of your backups from devices which are linked with your iTunes account.
  5. Select the backups you wish to delete, and click Delete.
Delete device backup in iCloud
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