About the iPhone backup

Important data is saved into various files within the backup folder of a computer when using the software dino iTunes to backup your iThing.

Btw, I hate this bloated tool combining the work of DJs with that of users who just want to manage their iOS devices. Developers, isn’t it possible for you to give us a clean UI focused on backup, file management, and restoring app specific content without restoring the whole device?

The filenames are encoded so they appear as strings of letters and numbersThe known as a hex-encoded SHA-1 hash of their real filenames. In many versions of the iPhone operating system the same names are used.

Here are some of the core SQLite database files found in the iTunes backup folder. The file names are the same for both iTunes and iCloud backups.

Contents Real filename
Backup filename

SMS sms.db
3d0d7e5fb2ce288813306e4d4636395e047a3d28

Contacts addressbook.sqlitedb
31bb7ba8914766d4ba40d6dfb6113c8b614be442

Calendar calendar.sqlitedb
2041457d5fe04d39d0ab481178355df6781e6858

Notes notes.sqlite
ca3bc056d4da0bbf88b5fb3be254f3b7147e639c

Photos photos.sqlite
12b144c0bd44f2b3dffd9186d3f9c05b917cee25

The backup of my iPhone 6s Plus (64 GB, 12 GB free) is 16.9 GB large and contains 26,500 files.

This all seems to be quite complicated and it hopefully works for you without bugs if you once need to restore your beloved iThing. If your device contains a lot of vital information you should follow the “Better safe than sorry” – strategy. Do an iTunes AND an iCloud backup. Do it always with a password otherwise essential sensitive data will not be restored. Don’t forget your password. Nobody can help you to restore it.

Location of the backup files …

Windows 10
\Users\[USERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup

macOS
/Users/[USERNAME]/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup

Running out of disk space …

Some users have large backups or backups from a number of iOS devices, and as a consequence they find themselves running low on disk space.

It is possible to configure a computer such that iTunes backs up to a secondary hard-disk, or to an external HDD or NAS.

Here’s how to do it:

Change iTunes backup location

Want to dive a bit deeper?

Apple about iOS backups

The iPhoneWiKi about backups

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