My C: drive (SSD) was short on space and one of the culprits is iTunes Backups. So this article is how to change iTunes backup location on Windows 10.
Obviously using an SSD for performance on a desktop is great, but not so great when you find that it is almost full.
Using WinDirStat, a long time favourite utility, I confirmed that aside from the ever disk hungry Windows 10 install, the next highest consumer of my precious SSD disk space was iTunes Backups directory.
So I could rid myself of some of the older iPhone and iPad backups on my drive, but I thought I would simply relocate it to my slower, but much larger D: drive where the capacity is not an issue.
This article from CopyTrans was relating to Windows 7 and selling their products, but it gave me the pointers on what to do.
The key points are:
- create a new location on the alternative drive, D: in my case
- copy your existing backups to the new location
- rename the old backup directory
- create a symbolic link to the new location from the old
- remove the old backup directory after testing
The main pain points were mklink not being recognised as a command and the need to use case sensitive path names.
Covering the process in detail:
- Create a new location on D:
- I was already using a path copy from c: for my music copy and I just needed to create the
- d:\Users\thowden\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup
- Copy existing backup files to the new directory – straight forward
- Rename the old backups directory as backup-old just in case of accidents
- Create a symbolic link
- This is where it went pear-shaped as the mklink command in powershell gave me an error
- mklink : The term ‘mklink’ is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, function, script file, or operable program.
- This is easily fixed by prefixing the mklink command with cmd /c
- so the command syntax is:
cmd /c mklink /J <linked path> <target path>
- Which gave me a new symbolic link but an error when I tried to use it:
“Location is not available”
- Which I confirmed was an issue with the command because I used all lower case characters and not the case-sensitive version.
- Making those two changes the corrected syntax for Windows 10 powershell is:
cmd /c mklink /J “%APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup2” “D:\Users\thowden\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup”
- (Swap the target path for whatever you want to use)
- Next I tested by running a backup from iTunes and checking that it was stored in the D: drive.
- Finally I deleted the old backups directory from the C: drive.
Side note: The symbolic link directory is created in the standard path and redirects to the alternative path. The directory (or folder) is created with a Windows shortcut symbol. If you get it wrong, just delete the shortcut, it will not delete the target folder.
So my how to change iTunes backup location on Windows 10 was successful.