How To Make iTunes Automatically Backup To External Hard Drive
Now that I have a 128 gb phone, I was having my laptop’s drive fill up with backups. Apple doesn’t offer a way for you to chose the location of where your backups are saved, but fortunately, there is a way to create a link between that folder and a similarly named folder on an external hard drive.
It is called a symbolic link and the iTunes is none the wiser. To do this you need to run a few commands in the terminal. If you are an expert go down below, but if you have never used terminal or are not exactly sure then read the next paragraph.
To open the terminal press “command + spacebar” to open Spotlight, then type “terminal” in there). The first thing you need to do is to create a folder (must be named “Backup”). To do this you’ll need to know the name of your hard drive. You can type into your terminal “cd /Volumes” and it will take you do that folder (cd means change directory). Then type ls to list everything in the folder you are in. It should show the name of the hard drive (if it is connected :P). You can actually go in there manually to make the folder, but if you are going to need to use the terminal anyway, so might as well get started.
In the next line you’ll need to replace <ExternalDrive> with your actual drive’s name you found out above. You can copy that text, put it into somewhere like the browser URL bar then replace <ExternalDrive> with your computer’s name (remember that capitalization needs to match), and copy it from there into your terminal.
- mkdir /Volumes/<ExternalDrive>/Backup
Now we are going to change the name of the existing folder that could contain backups, so that we don’t lose any of those and they are not overwritten. (You may need to move some of these files into your new folder to recover from them later on.) The default folder is located at: “~/Library/Application\ Support/MobileSync/Backup” and we are going to just rename the folder Backup2 using the command below:
- mv ~/Library/Application\ Support/MobileSync/Backup ~/Library/Application\ Support/MobileSync/Backup2
Here is where we are doing the real magic. We are going to create a symbolic link from the default folder to the folder we created on the external hard drive earlier. This is similar to creating a forwarding address with the postal service and will easily fool iTunes to thinking that folder is the same as the original one.
- Create symlink:ln -s /Volumes/<EternalDrive>/Backup ~/Library/Application\ Support/MobileSync/
You’ll need to make sure you external hard drive is plugged in while you are syncing or you may experience some issues. One thing you will experience now though is increased free disk space.