iPhone and iPad backups contain nearly all your mobile data. They are a great way to make sure that your data is safe - lose your phone, and you'll be up and running in no time on a new one if you have a recent backup at hand.
But what if you need to access data from a backup quickly, without restoring it to a device? Or access and export data that is only available in backups, like Messages? Apple's iOS backup format is not human readable, and you'll need a dedicated software to do just that. Browsing backups in iMazing is 100% free, so there's no reason not to give it a go!
And if you've made your backups with iMazing, you'll have the option to choose between multiple snapshots of your devices (unlike iTunes, which only keeps one backup per device.)
Download and install iMazing on your Mac or PC computer
If your device is not connected to your computer by USB or Wi-Fi, you'll still be able to browse its backup.
The following datasets are available when browsing a backup:
When browsing a backup, you can browse your device's File System - even if it's encrypted. And there's no need to jailbreak your device!
For more information, see:
To browse a device's backup:
To switch back to a device's current state:
💡Tip: You can quickly switch to the current state by right-clicking your device in the sidebar and selecting Switch to Connected Device
With macOS 10.14 Mojave, Apple made your data even more secure by adding new security features which guard against malware and spyware accessing your private information. You must now explicitly authorise apps to access specific data, including iTunes backups.
Once you've authorised iMazing to access iTunes backups, the backups will appear in iMazing's left sidebar along with devices, in a section labelled Old Backups.
💡 iMazing needs to be whitelisted for Full Disk Access in order to access your iTunes backups because there is no finer grained setting available. It does not take advantage of that privilege to access any other protected data, and can work perfectly well even if you don't grant access. You can simply move or copy your iTunes backups to a location to which macOS does not restrict access to, and then open them with iMazing.
💡 Tip: You can of course rescind permissions at any time: launch the macOS System Preferences app, select Security & Privacy -> Privacy tab -> Full Disk Access, and remove iMazing from the list.
In the sidebar, devices listed under the Available Devices section are currently connected, or can potentially be connected to via Wi-Fi.
All other devices listed in the sidebar are not connected. When you select one of those devices, iMazing displays the contents of its most recent backup. To view a different backup for that device, choose one from the Backups List.
When browsing a backup from the backup list, you'll notice changes in iMazing's interface:
a. Sidebar - device is greyed out with a backup connection icon
b. Backup lists - button indicates the date and time of backup
c. Backup actions are available
d. Backups details - device thumbnail is in black and white
e. Disk usage - bar is full and shows how much space is being used by the backup.