If you are a Mac user like me, you must be familiar with the storage problem. Most of the MacBooks have SSD which is a costly affair, so the disk space you get in the base models is either 128GB or 256GB. Thus, space becomes a very important resource while dealing with Macbooks. Honestly, this is the only complain I have about Mac. The 512GB-and-above models are very costly and I can’t really afford it so I have to make do with that 128GB. Luckily, I have an external Hard Disk as well, so storage is not a big problem for me. I am just too lazy to connect my HD to Mac. Now, this storage issue leads to more issues e.g if you also own an iPhone and want to backup your device…Good Luck..

I recently tried to update my iPhone to iOS 12 using iTunes for the first time. As it was a big update, I decided to ditch the OTA update. When I tried to install the IPSW, iTunes started backing up the iPhone to the default backup location on the Mac. As expected, the process got terminated telling me that there was not enough space.

So for people like me, who do not have a lot of space on their mac but have an External HD with a lot of space, there is a solution. You can use your external Hard Disk as a backup location for your iPhone. So once you set it up, iTunes will start using your HD as the backup location instead of the default path. We will be using Symbolic Links to achieve this functionality.

What ARE Symbolic Links AKA Symlinks?

A Symbolic link is basically a reference to a file or directory. If you have worked with UNIX, you must be familiar with how to create these links. You use the ln command. These links are created to save space and yet have multiple copies of a file on your file system. These are not real copies but references to the original file.

apple macbook pro

How to use Symbolic Links to Backup iPhone to your Hard Disk

It is very simple, really. The default iPhone backup location on the Mac is ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync. So all of your iPhone backups are inside this directory by default. We will create a symlink in this directory pointing to the original location on your Hard Disk. Just follow the steps.

1 – Create a folder on your Hard Disk where all of your Backups will go. I am using the name iPhoneBackups for this purpose. It is better to not create this folder within another folder. So the path to this folder is – HDName/iPhoneBackups

2 – Open Finder, click on Go – Go to folder. Then paste the following phrase and hit Go –

~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync

3 – Here you will see a Backup folder.

4 – Copy this Backup folder and paste it inside the iPhoneBackups directory on your HD. So the path will look like this – HDName/iPhoneBackups/Backup

5 – Go back to ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync using Finder-Go-Go to Folder and rename the Backup folder to something like Backup-Old. So the MobileSync directory will now have a folder named Backup-Old.

6 – Open Spotlight and type Terminal to bring up the Terminal window.

7 – Type the following command to create the Symlink.

ln -s /Volumes/RayalHD/iPhoneBackups/Backup ~/Library/Application\ Support/MobileSync/

You will need to replace RayalHD with your HD name. Also, if the name of your directory is different, you will need to use that after Hard Disk Name.

8 – Once done, press enter and it should not show any error.

9 – Go back to ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync and you will see the new Backup folder with an arrow on the bottom (symlink icon).

10 – You are done. From now on, all of your backups will be on your HD. Make sure you restart iTunes for these changes to take effect.



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