How to Backup iPad to External Hard Drive with/without iTunes

Your iPad data needs to be backed up. If you prefer to saving data to externa storage, follow this passage to know how to backup iPad to external hard drive on windows computer.


By Lena / Updated on June 9, 2023

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Backup iPad to external hard drive Windows 10

I want to save my iPad Pro to my Seagate external hard drive but when I backup iPad in iTunes on my HP laptop, I find that the backups are always saved in C drive and also there seem no clues to change the default backup location. I have Windows 10 and how can I save the data from iPad to external drive.

- Question from Apple Community

iPad is a powerful gadget for recreation. It is lighter than a laptop. You could lie down and watch your favorite shows on it for a whole afternoon. Save the showings, films, music, etc. on your iPad and then you could easily enjoy them next time without the Internet.


The high-quality videos and music would quickly take up your iPad and you could not download new apps or other data. A good way to let your iPad be fresh again is to transfer files from iPad to external hard drive and then safely delete the data on iPad.

You could backup your iPad just in iTunes, where you buy music and videos.

Steps to backup iPad with iTunes on Windows:
1. Connect iPad to computer with lightning cable.
2. Click the Device Icon in the Window of iTunes.
3. Click Back Up Now to make a backup. It might take 15 minutes or longer.

After you make an iPad backup, you could find it in C Drive. The question is that your iPad backups would also gradually take up your system drive. If you have a large external hard drive, you could use it to save your iPad backup.

There are no options in iTunes settings to change the iTunes backup location, but you could have another way to save your iPad backup to external hard drive on Windows computer.

Section 1. Backup iPad to External Hard Drive without iTunes

Before you know the way to change the default iTunes backup location, you could try the easy way to backup your iPad with professional iOS backup software.

FoneTool is created for backing up iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch on Windows 11/10/8/7. You could easily change the storage path of your backup files on the interface.

It helps you to save your photos, videos, music, contacts, and messages on your iPad. iTunes doesn’t tell what iTunes backup includes, but FoneTool would always let you preview and select data before you perform a backup. It supports all kinds of external hard drive like Seagate, Western Digital, Toshiba, Hitachi, etc. also all the iPad including the latest iPad Pro 12.6-inch 6th 11-inch 4th, and iPad 10th generation.

Steps to backup iPad to external hard drive with FoneTool

Step 1. Download FoneTool to computer for free. Connect iPhone to computer with USB cable. Keep iPhone screen on and tap Trust on it. Plug your external hard drive into computer.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7
Secure Download

Step 2. On the home screen of FoneTool, select Phone Backup. Go to Selective Backup and click Get Started.

Selective Backup

Step 3. Click the icons of the apps to save the related data.

Backup iPad

Step 4. Preview the items on your iPhone and select the needed data. Click OK then.

Select Files

Step 5. Click the Backup Storage Path to select the external hard drive as the destination. Click Start Backup.


When the backup is complete, you can go to Backup History to find the backup task. Here you can view the backup files, restore backup to device, delete the backups, etc.


If you want to edit your photos on computer, you can click go to Phone Transfer > iPhone to PC to transfer photos from iPad to external hard drive.

Section 2. Backup iPad to External Hard Drive with iTunes

The simplest method of moving iTunes backup to external hard drive is copying the backup files of your iPad in C drive and then paste them into your external HDD but there is a problem that when you move the folder back and are ready to restore iPad in iTunes, it might not appear in iTunes.

You know Apple is famous for protecting user privacy. If you cut or edit the backup files, it might be regarded as violating privacy so that they can’t be used anymore.

Your iPad backup is stored in C:\Users\[PC name]\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\ MobileSync. The folder AppData is hidden. If you use Windows 10, enter %appdata% in the search bar on desktop to open it.

Since there is no option to change the default iTunes backup location, how can you safely save your iPad backup to external hard drive? You should know that iTunes is but a Windows program. It works on Windows so it follows the rule of Windows so you could build a virtual link between computer and external HDD.

Steps to change default iTunes backup location:

1. Plug your external hard drive into computer. Delete the folder Backup or you just save the files to another partition for future use. Create an empty folder called MobileSync in external hard drive.

2. Open Command Prompt, enter mklink /J “C:\Users\[user name]\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup” “E:\MobileSync”, and then press Enter. You should enter the right user name and driver letter.

CMD Change iTunes Backup Location

If you also want to know how to move your backup to external drive on Mac, refer to this guide: How to Backup iPhone to External Drive on Mac


You could definitely backup iPad to external hard drive on Windows computer, no matter you choose to use FoneTool or iTunes but FoneTool is obviously much easier to use than iTunes.

Share this guide and it would help more people.

Lena · Editor
Lena is an editor of FoneTool, she covers backup & restore, and phone data management and so on. She enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She takes most of time with her family when she is not working.