heredago's blog

October 15, 2011

Managing multiple iPhone backups through iTunes

Filed under: Uncategorized — heredago @ 08:21

One thing I found slightly irritating about the way iTunes backs up iPhones is the fact that it only keeps the most recent backup. This means that if you accidently delete a text, photo, or something else that’s backed up and only realise after you’ve backed up again, it’s too late.

Also, the fact that iTunes backs up as soon as you plug the phone in is annoying. If you plug in to restore something you’ve removed and aren’t quick enough to ‘slide to cancel’, a new backup will be created and overwrite your old one.

It’s actually fairly easy to keep old backups – it’s not something you can do automatically, but is worth knowing. All you need to do is make a copy of your current back up, and rename it to something else in the filesystem. You can also change the description of it so that it shows a more friendly name when you attempt a restore.

First, browse to the folder containing the most recent backup:

Windows XP:
C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup

Windows 7 and Vista:
C:\Users\YOURUSERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup

Mac OSX:
~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/

Inside this folder, you will see another folder with a long string of numbers and letters, something like…

To keep this backup, all you need to do is make a copy of the folder, and rename it to something like ’20100311 – 8deabb43……’.

Next, enter this folder, and open the file ‘Info.plist’ in your favourite text editor. To give the backup a meaningful name, you need to find the key ‘Display Name’ and change the <string> tag to anything you want.

Once this is done, open up iTunes and plug your phone in. Now, in the future when you want to restore one of your previously saved backups, just right click the iPhone in iTunes and click ‘Restore from Backup’.
Now you will notice that you have multiple backups to choose from, and can restore back to any of the backups which you’ve saved. Note that the display name I edited above is the one which shows in the drop down list.

Apologies for this last one being a photo rather than a screenshot, but I’m writing this on a macbook pro (running windows 7!) and there’s no print screen key, and when trying to use snipping tool, the drop down box closes when it loses focus.

There you go, that’s all you need to be able to manage multiple backups on an iPhone. I assume this will work for iPods as well but I don’t have one to test it on.



1 Comment »

  1. Thanks. Works like a charm.

    No need to find Display Name and change. When restoring from backup, have choice of date/time for multiple backups.

    Would be clearer if you said something like: “Copy this folder to your desktop. Rename it anything you want. Move it back to the Backup folder.”

    Works on iPad backups also.

    Comment by Kumar — May 10, 2012 @ 21:13

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: