iTunes: Delete Old Device Backups to Save Space

If you’ve ever backed up your devices to iTunes, it’s important to know that those old backups may still live on your computer, and they could be taking up a ton of space. Wanna check and see if you have any? Sure you do, and here’s how. Open iTunes, and then choose iTunes > Preferences from the menus at the top. 

When the Preferences window opens, choose the “Devices” tab.

I’ve only got one backup in there (and it’s of my current iPhone), but if you have a bunch and some aren’t relevant anymore, you can get rid of them. To do so, select one and click the “Delete Backup” button I’ve called out in red above.

There are a few more cool things you can do within this dialog box, though. If you right- or Control-click on a certain backup, you’ll see some handy options.

That “Show in Finder” choice, for example, can be used along with Finder’s Get Info command to determine how big the backup in question is. 

That’s actually pretty large considering how cleaned off I keep my iPhone.

Alternatively, you can use the “Archive” option within that contextual menu to create date-stamped snapshots, as Dave Hamilton explained a while back.

And finally, one more nifty thing you can do within Preferences > Devices is hover your cursor over any of the backups, and you’ll see some information about the device it was made from (like, say, the serial number).

I’ve found that info useful when I needed to identify a piece of equipment I no longer own, like when I recently got a refund for the unused portion of AppleCare I had on my old iPhone 6 Plus. I mean, you’d think that I would keep records of that kind of thing as an efficient businessperson, but you couldn’t be more wrong.