iTunes allows us to backup important data from iPhone, iPad and iPod touch to PC and Mac computers. A copy of your personal data will be saved from iOS device to laptop or desktop computer via iTunes. Sometimes you may need to copy iTunes backup files to another computer. You might want to transfer iTunes backup files when you copy data from an old computer to a new computer, like from Windows to Windows, from Mac to Mac, from PC to Mac, from Mac to PC. You should always keep a back up of your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch on an external storage, like a computer, a flash drive or a portable hard drive, in order to keep your important data safe.
Prerequisites for iTunes backup transfer between computers:
USB drive (Flash drive, thumb drive, portable hard drive or other storage media)
Alternatively you can also follow this guide to copy iTunes backup files from PC to Mac wirelessly through SMB.
How to transfer iTunes backups from PC to Mac computer through USB?
Step 1. Find iTunes backup files on PC
By default iTunes will back up iPhone iPad or iPod touch to the system drive as your Windows OS. It is the C drive by default. You can find iTunes backup folder on Windows computers following below locations and path, or refer to this guide to see where iPhone backups are saved in Windows 10.
- Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10: \Users\(username)\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\
- Windows XP: \Documents and Settings\(username)\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\
If you can’t find iTunes backup folder or files on Windows computer, the files could have been moved, deleted or you have not backed up your iOS device in iTunes yet. If you can’t see ‘AppData’ folder in your system drive, most likely you have not enabled the display of hidden folders and files on PC. This is a system folder which is hidden by default. You need to change the file explorer settings to show them. Check this guide to show hidden files and folders on Windows 10 PC. It is similar to show hidden content on Windows 8, Windows 7 and Vista.
Step 2. Copy iTunes backup files from PC to USB drive
Insert the Flash drive or other storage media into the USB port of your PC, make sure it has enough free storage space for the iTunes backup files. You can right click on the iTunes backup file to view its properties and size. Then copy the iTunes backup files from computer to the flash drive.
Step 3. Copy iTunes backup files from USB drive to Mac
Go to download and install iTunes on Mac if not yet. You can get it from Apple website for free. Then browse to this iTunes backup folder location on Mac: Mac: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/. The “~” represents your Home folder. If you don’t see Library in your Home folder, hold Option and click the Go menu. You can also find more details from following post about where to find iPhone backups on Mac OS X.
Once you have open the iTunes backup folder in Finder on Mac, insert the USB drive to Mac, copy iTunes backup folder and files from USB to iTunes backup folder on Mac.
How to transfer iTunes backups from Mac to PC computer through USB?
Got a new PC and now want to copy iTunes backup files from your old Mac computer to the new Windows PC? Transferring iTunes backup files from Mac to PC is just like how we copy iTunes backup from PC to Mac with the steps above. Following are the steps for sending iTunes backups from Mac to PC.
- Locate your iTunes backup files on Mac;
- Insert your USB drive into your Mac and copy the whole iTunes “Backup” folder to the USB drive;
- Remove the USB drive from Mac and insert it into the PC;
- Download and install iTunes on Windows PC if not yet;
- Locate your iTunes backup folder on Windows computer;
- Copy the iTunes “Backup” folder to the iTunes backup location on your Windows computer.
How to view files in iTunes backups before transfer them to new computer?
Sometimes you may like to view files and data in iTunes backups on computer before you copy them to another computer, so you can verify what file and documents are included in iTunes backup file. iTunes does not have the option to do that. You need to use a third party software for this job, such as this iPhone data recovery. You can use this tool to scan iTunes backup files on PC or Mac, then select and view and export content and files in iTunes backups.
How to delete iTunes backups from old computer?
Once you moved iTunes backup files to new PC or Mac computer, you can go to delete the files from the iTunes backup folder directly or delete them within iTunes. Check out this guide to delete iTunes backup files on computer.
How to move iTunes backups to another drive?
Sometimes when you have multiple hard drive on the computer and your system drive is running slow in storage, you may want to move iTunes backups to another hard drive. You can refer to this guide move iTunes backup files to another hard drive on Windows computer. The most important step is not to find the iPhone backup folder on system drive, but change iTunes backup directory location as iTunes does not allow you to do that.
Update Jul 2018: this article was originally published in Dec 2015 and has since been updated. in this update, the new method to copy iTunes backups from Windows to Mac wirelessly through SMB was added.