While setting up a new iPhone for my wife, I began to wonder why tons of space was rapidly disappearing from my computer’s hard drive. It turned out one culprit was a huge backup of old device backups in iTunes. The digital ghosts of old iPads, iPhones and iPod Touch devices left behind full backups in iTunes dating back to 2009.
Deleting them freed up 65 gigabytes of hard drive space. If you’re an iOS user and you backup your device to your computer — or online to iCloud — deleting old backup files can be a way to free up a lot of hard drive space or save some iCloud storage you may be paying for. Backups tend to include photos and videos from a device, data files and settings, but not necessarily music libraries, apps or email from online services such as Gmail or Yahoo.
Still, if you’ve got backups from old devices you no longer use or duplicate backups going back several years for the same phone or tablet, it wouldn’t hurt to keep the latest ones and delete the rest. You can find them in iTunes under Preferences, then Devices, which shows you all backups, the dates they were created and the option to delete.
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