iTunes Tip: Save Old iOS Backups in as a Safeguard

If you have your iOS device set up exactly how you want it right now, back it up and archive it in iTunes so you can always restore to it if you need to.

Every time we back up our iOS devices, we are saving those settings and apps as a backup. These are useful in case something should go horribly wrong. However, let’s pretend that right now your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad is set up perfectly. Everything is just the way you want it, and you really don’t want it messed with. You can archive that backup. This will tell iTunes to use that backup instead of defaulting to the latest one.

Set Your iOS Backup in iTunes

It’s very easy to set this up. First, just launch iTunes on your Mac or PC and go to the Preferences.

iTunes Preferences

Next select the devices tab. After that, right-click and select archive for the backup you want to keep. Make sure you’re selecting the most recent one that you want to always have archived when you back up in the future.

archive iOS backup

Now, when you perform a backup, you will have a new backup, but you will have an archive of the one you would like to restore to in case the need should arise. This will save you a lot of time in having to reconfigure you device after restoring it from a back up.

If things get really bad, you might be able to restore your iPhone or iPad to factory defaults, then restore your archived backups. Let us know if you’ve ever had to do this and your experience!

Credit: CultofMac



  1. Winter Chick

    Thank you! This was an easy to understand and very timely tip, at least for me. I was actually looking for this yesterday. Your explanation is so much easier to understand than what I found from Apple Support.

    Will this process back up my music and apps and everything that is on my device, in this case my iPhone?

    • 8bitjay

      Right. And your settings, phone numbers and everything else. It’s good to back up regularly. However, this makes it so that you can choose a specific copy you want to back up from. Usually, this is just something you do when you buy a new iPhone and want to make it yours again, or if you send it in for repairs and it’s completely wiped. Things like that.

      • Winter Chick

        In my case I missed a few iOS upgrades, I know….shame on me. I don’t sync to iTunes on any regular basis.

        I’m still operating under iOS 4.2.10 and am looking to upgrade (finally) to the latest, I think that’s iOS 6. I know that I’ll need to backup before I can upgrade or I’ll lose a bunch of stuff. I’m assuming that the method that you’ve outlined here will work in my situation. Correct? If not can you point me to an easy to read guide on what I need to do?

        Thank you.

        • 8bitjay

          To be honest, you should be able to perform a regular backup. Plug directly into your computer, and iTunes should allow you to perform that backup. This will save all of your settings, apps, configurations, etc.

          You likely won’t have to do any of the stuff from this guide, actually. :)

          After that, you should click on the “check for new software” icon under your iPhone’s settings in iTunes. It will likely say something along the lines of “New software is available for this device iOS 6.XX)” or something like that. From there, you can update.

          One thing to know, though, is that if you do restore to this backup, you will still be on iOS 6, but your settings and numbers, etc. will be kept as you have them now. Hope that helps. :) Keep in mind some apps may need to be updated to work with system 6.

          • Winter Chick

            Thank you!! I hope it is as easy as that :-)

  2. jay

    hey there i m using latest vesion of itunes tht is 12.2.1. in that i have windows so as i m doing the process u said thts nt working in windows so plz give me suggestion as soon as possible its urgent

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