By default when you connect your iPhone or Touch to your Windows PC the device will sync with your iTunes. The sync not only synchronizes certain data as described below but it also does a backup of data stored on the iDevice as well. This backup will allow you to restore most items back to your iPhone or iPod Touch if something happens to the data located on that device. Knowing the location of this data can be important in case you want to also take that data and make another backup off of your computer.
iPhone/iPod Touch Default Backup Locations:
- Windows XP Backup Location:\Documents and Settings\(username)\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\
- Windows Vista Backup Location:\Users\(username)\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\
- OS X Backup Location:~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/
The folder located inside the “Backup” folder on any of the above OS’s (Operating Systems) will have a long name identifying the iDevice such as “1c402ee39a0143b36eeeb03416d9cabc47f47ece”. Inside the folder with the long string of numbers and characters will be numerous files because of how iTunes backs up your device in chunks. Below is an image showing a partial list of files from a backup of an iPod Touch.
Files backed up by iTunes MobileSync are listed below. The list includes what data is included in iDevice OS 1.1+ as well as extra data that was included in the iDevice OS 2.0+. So the second set of data is not backed up unless you have one of the newest releases of the iPhone/iPod Touch operating system installed.
iPhone/iPod Touch 1.1+
- Safari bookmarks, cookies, history, and currently open pages
- Map bookmarks, recent searches, and the current location displayed in Maps
- Application settings, preferences, and data
- Address Book and Address Book favorites
- Calendar data
- Call history
- Mail accounts
- YouTube bookmarks
- SMS messages
- Saved suggestion corrections (these are saved automatically as you reject suggested corrections)
- Camera roll (photos and screen shots taken by the iPhone)
- Voicemail token (this is not the Voicemail password, but is used for validation when connecting. This is only restored to a phone with the same phone number on the SIM card.)
- Web clips
- Network settings (saved wifi spots, VPN settings, network preferences)
- Paired Bluetooth devices (which can only be used if restored to the same phone that did the backup)
- Keychain (this includes email account passwords, Wi-Fi passwords, and passwords you enter into websites and some other applications. The keychain can only be restored from backup to the same iPhone or iPod touch. If you are restoring to a new device, you will need to fill in these passwords again.)
iPhone/iPod Touch 2.0+
- Managed Configurations/Profiles
- List of External Sync Sources (Mobile Me, Exchange ActiveSync)
- Microsoft Exchange account configurations
- Nike+iPod saved workouts and settings
- App Store Application data (except the Application itself, its tmp and Caches folder).
Please also note that the backup does not include all of the media files. Media files such as music, video, applications, etc. are synced with iTunes and stored in a different location as noted below for Windows XP.
Windows XP iTunes Sync Storage Location:C:\Documents and Settings\(username)\My Documents\My Music\iTunes
Don’t have an iPod Touch yet? I suggest you look into buying one. I have typically been a PC guy however when I was looking for a mini computer such as a Dell Mini 9 I decided the iPod Touch would provide just as much in 1/10th the size and at a lower cost.