By Dylan / Last update May 31, 2022

 

How to backup iPhone to external hard drive on Mac

I’m running out of the storage on my iPhone, so I would like to transfer everything to my Mac. Anyone could let me know how to do that?

- Question from Apple community

Your iPhone backup could eat lots of storage on Mac. If you think the massive backup files are affecting the performance of your Mac, would you stop backing up your iPhone? It would never be wise to stop saving your important iPhone data because the data means memory and fortune to you. You could read a lot about your past by view photos and messages. Contacts and other data could be useful if you want to keep in contact with your business partner.

If you find it is hard for your Mac to carry more backup copy, you could backup iPhone to external hard drive. It could be a little bit complicated to use symlink to change iPhone backup location to external hard drive. If you want backup iPhone to external hard drive in a more convenient way, you should try the method at the end of this passage.

Backup iPhone to External Mac

I. Backup iPhone to external hard drive with iTunes on Mac

iTunes would let you save the necessary data on iPhone and you should know what iTunes backup includes. The advantage of iTunes is that you could save your iPhone by one click, but you would find it could also be a disadvantage because you could not save only what you want. To find iTunes backup on Mac, you could use Spotlight or iTunes itself, but you still could not view what’s in it without a tool. You need the help of iPhone backup browser.

To backup iPhone to external hard drive with iTunes, you need to create a destination in external hard drive and use symlink to tell iTunes to save iPhone backup to external hard drive. Follow the steps:

Step 1. Connect iPhone and external hard drive to Mac. Create a folder named MobileSync in external hard drive.

Step 2. Find your old iPhone backup on Mac. You could open iTunes > click iTunes > select Preferences > select Devices > select a backup > click Show in Finder.

iTunes Devices Mac

Step 3. Move the whole folder, Backup, to the folder MobileSync in external hard drive. If you don’t need these old backups, you could delete them and then create a folder named Backup in external hard drive.

Step 4. Open Terminal on Mac. Enter ln-s/Volumes/External/Backup~/Library/Application\Support/MobileSync/Backup. You should know that “External” should be the name of your external hard drive.

Terminal

Step 5. Select your iPhone in the sidebar of iTunes. Click Back Up Now. After the process has been finished, you could check whether your iPhone backup has been saved to external hard drive.

II. Backup iPhone to external drive with Finder on Mac OS Catalina

If you use Mac OS Catalina, you could not find iTunes on Mac, because it has been divided into 3 parts, Podcasts, TV and, Music. You could directly backup your iPhone to external hard drive with Finder. Follow the steps:

Step 1. Connect iPhone and external hard drive to Mac.

Step 2. Modify iPhone backup location using symlink in method 1.

Step 3. Open Finder and select your device in the sidebar.

Step 4. Click Back Up Now and check your iPhone backup in external hard drive.

Finder Backup iPhone On Mac OS Catalina

Conclusion

If you want to backup iPhone to external hard drive on Mac, you need to use symlink to tell iTunes to save iPhone backup to external hard drive. Finder could also be used to backup iPhone to external drive like iTunes on Mac OS Catalina. If you have a Windows computer, you could try an easier way to backup iPhone to external hard drive. Does this passage solve your problem? You could share it to help more people.