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Like this article? We recommend Backing Up Your iDevice

Backing Up Your iDevice

At this point you understand the distinction between the synchronization and backup processes.

We configure data synchronization in iTunes by navigating to the tabs that appear across the top of the interface when you connect an iDevice. For instance, in Figure 1 you can see that I'm syncing photos between my iPhone 4S and iPhoto on my iMac. Moreover, I'm sharing only my Keepers iPhoto folder with my iPhone.

Figure 1 iTunes synchronization

To perform a manual sync, select your iDevice in the iTunes Device list and click Sync; this button is located in the lower-right corner of the iTunes user interface (see Figure 2).

Figure 2 Performing a manual sync in iTunes

We don't have to configure anything specifically for the iTunes backup process. To perform a manual backup, right-click your device in the iTunes Devices list and select Backup from the shortcut menu (see Figure 3).

Figure 3 Initiating a manual iDevice backup in iTunes

You may be surprised to learn that Apple provides the user with no built-in mechanism to verify the integrity of iDevice backups. Furthermore, Apple formats the backup folders and contents in an extremely cryptic manner.

For example, browse to the default iTunes backup location on your computer; these paths are given in the following list:

  • Mac OS X: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup
  • Windows 7: ~\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup

Take a look at my iDevice backup directory contents in Figure 4. Can you make any sense of what you see?

Figure 4 iTunes backup contents

The good news is that third-party developers have taken the initiative in providing us with iTunes backup-extraction software. Check out the following utilities for more information:

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