Manage your backups with iMazing

What is a backup?

A backup is a snapshot of the current state of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Apple restricts direct access to the data stored on your iPhone, iPad or iPod. This is meant as a safeguard to protect your privacy. Because of this, quite a bit of your data can only be accessed via a backup, not directly from the device itself. In short, backups keep your data safe on your computer, and let you access data which isn't directly available when you connect your iPhone or iPad to your computer.

Backing up an Apple iOS device is not equivalent to copying your files. Apple's iOS backup format is 'flattened': each file is assigned an ID which will be used as a a file name on the computer, and all files go to the same backup folder. The files do not have human friendly filenames, or file extensions. In short, it's impossible to know what a file is by looking at it's name.

This is where tools like iMazing are needed. iMazing creates a virtual reconstruction of your backup. From there, you can easily preview the files, or extract them to your computer.

What's in a backup?

An iOS backup contains the following datasets and settings:

DatasetsAccounts, settings and other data
MessagesPhoneAddressBookNotesAppsCameraPhotosVoiceMemosAccountsSettingsCalendarSafariKeychainHomeHealthDataAppleWatch

For more information, see What data is included in an iOS backup?

What are iMazing Backups?

The device 'decides' itself what is backed up and what isn't (well, Apple does via iOS). iMazing cannot control the backup process itself, but it brings several key enhancements to the table:

  • The ability to browse backups, extract data from them, and edit them
  • Automatic Backup archiving (described below)
  • Disk Usage break down of each backup
  • Control over what data and which apps are restored when restoring a backup

Backup Archiving

iTunes maintains only one backup per device. Every time you back up your device, your last backup is overwritten, potentially resulting in data loss.

iMazing 2 archives your backups automatically, a unique solution that is comparable to Time Machine, but for your iOS device.

How does it work?

iMazing makes a 'shallow' copy of your current backups, so that the next time you backup, you still have access to your previous backup, and only the files which have changed take up disk space.

How much space will I save?

Precise numbers depends on the frequency of backups and on how much new data you generate. But, on average you'll be able to keep dozens of backups for about twice the disk space of a normal backup.

For more information, see Backup Options in iMazing.

How to backup your device?

For instructions on how to back up your device, see How to backup an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to your Mac or PC computer?

How to change your backup location to another drive?

Backup locations are set per device. You can back up your iPhone locally on your hard drive, and your iPad on an external drive or NAS.

You can change your device's backup location from the Device Options Window.

For more information, see How to backup an iPhone or iPad to an external drive, or another location?

View, browse and load backups

Some datasets can be accessed directly from your device, whilst others can only be accessed via a backup. In order to access and display all of your data, iMazing needs to backup your device.

requires a backupcan be accessed without a backup
MessagesPhoneAddressBookNotesAppsCameraPhotosBooksMusicVideosFile System

By default, iMazing will display the current state of your device. To view the contents of an earlier backup, open the Backup List from the upper toolbar.

iMazing Backups Window Screenshot

For more information, see How to view the contents of an iPhone or iPad's backup?

Restore a backup

When you restore a backup, you can:

  • Return your device to the state it was in when that backup was made.
  • Move your data to a new device.

With iMazing, you can restore the entirety of your backup, or choose what datasets and/or apps you would like to restore. You can also restore a backup to multiple devices in one go.

For more information, see How to restore an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch from an iTunes backup?

Export a backup

You can export an iPhone or iPad backup from iMazing and choose a location where you want to save it.

Export the latest backup:

  1. Right click your device in iMazing's left sidebar and click Export Backup as Folder.
  2. Choose a location on your hard drive or any external drive where you want to export this backup. The exported backup folder name will be the name of your device.

💡 Tip: You can also drag out any device from iMazing's sidebar to export the latest backup

Export a particular backup version:

  1. In the sidebar, select your device.
  2. In the upper toolbar, click the Backups button. This will open the Backup List.
  3. Click the "Export" icon (square with arrow) on the backup of your choice.
  4. Choose a location on your hard drive or any external drive where you want to export this backup. The exported backup folder name will be the name of your device.

Import a backup

You can import an iPhone or iPad backup in iMazing to browse its content, restore or edit it.

  1. Click the + button at the bottom of iMazing's left sidebar.
  2. Click Add Backup Folder or Add Backup Disk (if you want to import multiple backups).
  3. Select the backup folder on your hard drive or external drive.
  4. iMazing will ask you if you want to copy this backup to the default backup location configured in iMazing's Preferences or just open it. If you click "Copy" this backup will be imported in the default location definitively. If you just click "Open", iMazing will open it temporarily.

💡 Tip: You can also drag in a backup folder to iMazing's sidebar to import it in iMazing

Delete backups

Since iMazing maintains multiple backups of your device, you have the option to delete a single backup, or all backups of that device.

To delete a single backup:

  1. In the sidebar, select your device.
  2. In the upper toolbar, click the Backups button. This will open the Backup List.
  3. In the Backup list, select the backup you want to delete.
  4. Click Delete and confirm.

To delete all backups:

  1. In the sidebar, right-click your device's name.
  2. In the contextual menu, select Delete Backup.
  3. In the confirmation dialog box, click Delete.

Important: Deleting all backups, does not remove the pairing between your device and your computer. To remove all traces of your device, you'll want to Forget your device.

Edit a backup

Backups are read-only by default. Clicking the Edit button creates a ‘shallow’ copy of your backup which barely uses any disk space and keeps your original backup safe.

Editable backups appear in the sidebar, tagged with the Edit icon:

iMazing Editable Backup Screenshot

For more information, see How to edit an iPhone or iPad's backup?

Important: Backup editing is an advanced feature only recommended for advanced users.