My iphone 4 doesn't appear to be backing up to the backup folder
February 8, 2012 3:50 PM   Subscribe

Dumb iphone backup question. Got an iphone 4 (not 4s) in December. Have sync'd and backed up via itunes several times since then, but when I browse to the folder where the backups are stored, only the initial one from December shows up. Buh?

  • Windows Vista 64.
  • Backing up via itunes because I'm one of the few people who doesn't have ready, constant access to wifi.
  • itunes is installed in the default location, so it should be backing stuff up to the default locations.
  • I do not get any errors when syncing or backing up. Everything appears to run smoothly.
  • I'm looking in \Users\(username)\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\ which is where Apple tells me to look.
What I am doing wrong? If I ever do have to restore from backup, I don't want to use an old out of date backup.

I plug the iphone into the computer, it and itunes do its sync thing, and then because I am paranoid, I right click on "misanthropic sarah's iphone" and click backup. This all appears to work fine and without issue.

So...where is this stuff backing up to if not where it's supposed to or what am I doing wrong?
posted by misanthropicsarah to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is it backing up to the cloud, rather than to you local HD (see tick box on first page of your iPhone settings when you plug it in)? I think that may be the default on iOS 5.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 3:55 PM on February 8, 2012

Have you looked in the directory inside the Backup directory and confirmed there are no files with time stamps more recent than December?
posted by Lazlo at 4:48 PM on February 8, 2012

Response by poster: Admiral: nope, set to back up to/with itunes
Lazlo: nope, only files are from december

I know i must be doing something dumb and wrong i just dont know what.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 6:42 PM on February 8, 2012

Is the December timestamp "created" or "modified"? Unless things are different for modern iPhones (mine's a 3G), backups through iTunes overwrite old ones; as a person who has learnt to worry that things might go wrong and leave me with a corrupt or incomplete backup, I try to remember to run a backup of the whole computer or at least take a copy of the existing iPhone backup before I plug the iPhone in.

You could try taking a copy, running the backup, and then comparing the two to see if there's been any change.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 11:21 PM on February 8, 2012

I always thought syncing was different than backing up. You can force iTunes to make a new backup in the main iTunes window by right-clicking on the device under "Devices" and clicking "Back Up". Does that add an additional backup in that directory?
posted by FreezBoy at 3:03 AM on February 9, 2012

Response by poster: "right-clicking on the device under "Devices" and clicking "Back Up". Does that add an additional backup in that directory?"

posted by misanthropicsarah at 1:28 PM on February 9, 2012

Best answer: There will be only one backup as there is no versioning-iTunes just keeps the most recent backup. The folder modification date for the backup folder will not correspond to the latest backup as the backup process will modify files in there, not generate an entire new backup folder for each backup. If you open iTunes preferences and click on the devices tab it will show the date of your most recent backup. If you want versioning of your iOS device backups (to roll back to a previous state) you need to have a program to backup your computer.
posted by ridogi at 9:05 AM on February 11, 2012

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