How to Delete iPhone Backups From Your Computer

Clear up space by deleting data you no longer need

It's important to back up your iPhone in case the worst happens and it fails. However, those backup files can take up a lot of space on your computer. For those times when you need to delete data on your computer and make some space for something else, it's useful to know how to delete an iPhone backup, as well as what to do when it comes to iCloud backups. 

iTunes is being phased out by Apple and replaced by individual apps for specific services. This method relates to Mac systems using Mojave and earlier, as well as Windows computers with iTunes still installed. 

How to Delete iPhone Backup on Mac and Windows Using iTunes 

It's simple enough to delete your old iPhone backups manually, provided you know where to look. Here's what to do.

These steps also work for iPad backups.

  1. Open iTunes. 

  2. Click iTunes > Preferences.

    iTunes with Preferences highlighted

    PC users should select File > Preferences.

  3. Click Devices.

    iTunes Preferences with devices highlighted
  4. Click the name of the backup you want to delete.

    iTunes devices backup prompt

    Multiple backups may be listed. If it's hard to know which one you want, check the date and timestamp next to them to assist you.

  5. Click Delete Backup.

    iTunes preferences window - Delete Backup highlighted for iPhone
  6. Click Delete.

    iTunes Device backup screen with the option to delete a backup highlighted
  7. Click OK.

How to Delete iPhone Backups Manually

If you don't want to use iTunes, it's still possible to delete your old iPhone backups by finding it manually on your computer. Here's where to look.

This method works on both Windows computers and Macs, including Macs running macOS Catalina

  1. On a Mac, click the magnifying glass icon in the menu bar.

    Mac home screen with magnifier glass icon highlighted
  2. Copy and paste the following into the search bar: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/

    Windows users can find the relevant folder under \Users\(username)\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\

  3. Press Enter.

  4. Click Backup.

    Mac Finder app with iPhone backup folder highlighted
  5. Hold CMD+Delete to delete the folder.

How to Delete Backups on Mac Running macOS Catalina

macOS Catalina no longer uses iTunes, meaning the process is slightly different. Here's what to do when you want to delete your iPhone backup while running Catalina.

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac.

  2. Open Finder

  3. Click your iPhone's device name.

    You may need to scroll down depending on how many favorite folders you have set up, and how many external devices are connected.

  4. Click General > Manage Backups.

  5. Click the backup you want to delete.

  6. Click Delete Backup > OK.

How to Delete iPhone Backup From iCloud

It's also possible to remove iPhone backups from iCloud, but there's a different process involved for how to delete iCloud backups. You'll need to have access to your iCloud account. This applies to all devices.