How to Backup iPhone to Portable Hard Drive on Windows 11/10

This guide will show you how to backup iPhone to portable hard drive on Windows 11, 10, 8, 7. Whether you want to backup all content or only selected files, you can find a way to do it here.

Lena

By Lena / Published on May 31, 2024

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Can I backup my iPhone to a portable hard drive?

The answer is Yes! You know the importance of data backup so you want to backup iPhone external hard drive or flash drive. After all, the storage space of computer is limited. However, you cannot find an option in iTunes that allows you to backup iPhone to your portable hard drive.

Backup iPhone  to portable  hard drive

Well, Apple does not offer a direct way to help you backup iPhone to portable hard drive. You need to create a link between iTunes and the portable hard drive, which is kind of troublesome. In addition, you can rely on third-party backup tools to backup iPhone to portable hard drive directly. Just keep reading to learn more!

This guide will focus on how to backup iPhone to portable hard drive on Windows PC. If you are using a Mac, you can refer to this guide: How to backup iPhone to external hard drive on Mac.

Part 1. How to backup iPhone to portable hard drive via iTunes

iTunes does not allow you to change the default path. If you want to backup iPhone to portable hard drive, you need to create a virtual link between iTunes backup and the portable hard drive. Below is an example to save iTunes backup to external hard drive.

Step 1. Change iTunes backup solution

1. Download and install the latest version of iTunes on your PC.

2. Connect your external hard drive to computer.

3. Go to the Backup folder of iTunes and delete everything in the folder.

  • If you downloaded iTunes from Microsoft Store, you can go to C:\Users\[user name]\Apple\MobileSync to find the Backup folder.
  • If you downloaded iTunes from the website: you can go to C:\Users\[PC name]\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync to find the Backup folder.

iTunes backup location

4. Then create an empty folder called MobileSync in your external drive.

5. Press Win + R key and input “cmd” in the box > Press Enter.

6. In the Command Prompt, enter mklink /J “C:\Users\[PC name]\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup” “E:\MobileSync” (E is the drive letter of your external drive) > Press Enter to set your hard drive as the backup destination.

Change iTunes backup location via CMD

Step 2. Backup iPhone to portable hard drive

After you have set your portable hard drive as the storage path, you can plug in your iPhone to create the backup.

1. In iTunes, click the Device tab.

2. Choose Summary > In the Backups section, click This Computer.

3. Then click Back Up Now to backup iPhone to portable hard drive. You can choose to encrypt the backup.

Back Up Now

When it’s done, you can go to the default iTunes backup location or your portable hard drive to check the backup files. However, the backups are actually stored in your external hard drive.

Maybe you're considering copying iTunes backup to portable hard drive. However, after you move iTunes backup to a new location, they may not be available.

Part 2. How to backup iPhone to portable hard drive via FoneTool

If you think it's too much trouble to change the iTunes backup path, you can use FoneTool to help you backup iPhone to portable hard drive. FoneTool is one professional iPhone data management tool for Windows users. You can click the download button to get the tool and follow the steps below to backup your iPhone.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7
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Option 1. Backup iPhone to portable hard drive - selective backup

If you just want to backup some important on your iPhone, then Selective Backup is the way to go. You can preview and select the photos, videos, songs, contacts, and messages you want to backup.

The backup files are readable and you can view them at any time. In addition, it supports selective restoration - you can restore selected files to iPhone and it will not erase existing data on iPhone.

1. Launch FoneTool and connect your iPhone to computer via USB flash drive.

2. Choose Phone Backup > Go to Selective Backup and click Get Started.

Slective Transfer

3. Select the files you want to backup > Click OK to continue.

Select songs

4. Choose your portable hard drive as the destination > Click Start Backup.

Start Backup

Option 2. Backup iPhone to portable hard drive - full backup

With Full Backup, you can backup all content and settings, including photos, contacts, call history, text messages, apps, system settings, etc.

1. Open FoneTool and plug in your iPhone.

2. Choose Phone Backup and go to Full Backup.

Full Backup

3. Enable backup encryption > Set your portable hard drive as the storage path > Click Start Backup to backup iPhone to portable hard drive.

Start Backup

When the backup is complete, you can go to Backup History to manage your backup files, from there you can view the details of the backup, restore the backup or delete the backup.

Backup History

FoneTool also supports data transfer. If needed, you can go to Phone Transfer > iPhone to PC to transfer photos, videos, songs, contacts, etc. to portable hard drive as backup.

iPhone to PC

Part 3. How to backup iPhone photos to portable hard drive

Photos can take up a lot of storage space. Therefore, you can move iPhone photos to portable hard drive and then delete them to free up space. Let’s see how to backup iPhone photos to portable hard drive.

Option 1. Backup iPhone photos to portable hard drive via Windows Explorer

Usually, you can access the DCIM folder of iPhone via Windows Explorer, from there you can view all your photos saved in the camera roll.

1. Plug in your iPhone and trust the computer.

2. Open This PC/Computer > Find your iPhone and double-click it.

3. Go to Internal Storage> DCIM > Now you can open the subfolders to find the photos you need and copy them to your portable hard drive.

DCIM subfolders

Windows Explorer will not display your photo albums. If you do not want to spend time finding photos, you can move on to the next method.

Option 2. Backup iPhone photos to portable hard drive via FoneTool

If you want to quickly transfer photos saved in different albums, then you can use FoneTool. It will list all your photo albums on iPhone including the ones you created yourself. It’s a good choice if you want to transfer photo albums from iPhone to PC or portable hard drive.

1. Launch FoneTool and plug in your iPhone.

2. Choose Phone Transfer and go to iPhone to PC.

iPhone to PC

3. Choose Photos > Go to the album to select the photos you want to backup. You can also select the entire album you want to backup.

Choose photos

4. Click Start Transfer > Select your portable hard drive as the destination > Click Transfer.

Transfer

Option 3. Backup iPhone photos to portable hard drive directly

If have updated to iOS 13 and later, you can connect your portable hard drive to iPhone and backup iPhone photos. This may require the use of a Lightning to USB adapter.

1. Connect your hard drive to iPhone with the Lightning to USB adapter.

2. Go to Photos app and select the photos you need > Tap Share and choose Save to Files.

3. Choose your portable hard drive and tap Save.

Save to flash drive

Final words

That’s all about how to backup iPhone to portable hard drive. By default, iTunes backups are saved in C drive and you cannot select the storage path. If you want to backup iPhone to portable hard drive, you need to change iTunes backup location with CMD.

To make things simple, you can rely on FoneTool to help you backup iPhone to portable hard drive directly. It allows you to choose the storage location so you can easily backup iPhone to flash drive, external hard drive, SD card.

Lena
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.