Q. I prefer to keep my backups on the ground and out of the cloud, but where does my iPad backup file live on the computer when I back it up with iTunes?
A. When you connect your iOS device to the Mac or PC and back up its data with Apple’s iTunes software, the resulting file is deposited in a Backup folder on the hard drive. On a Mac, you can usually find this folder by selecting your user folder and following the file path of /Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/ to see the contents.
On a PC running Windows 7 or later the path to follow is Users[your user name]AppDataRoamingApple ComputerMobileSyncBackup. You can also use the search bar next to the Start menu: Enter “%appdata%” (without the quotation marks), press the Enter key and then click through the folders labeled Apple Computer, then MobileSync to Backup.
While following these steps reveals the physical location of the Backup folder on your computer’s hard drive, checking iTunes for the list of backup files of your various iOS devices is a little easier. To see your backups that way, open the iTunes Preferences box by going to the iTunes menu and choosing Preferences on the Mac, or by going to the Edit menu and selecting Preferences in the Windows version of the program.
In the Preferences box, click the Devices tab to see a list of backups and when they were made. If you see multiple backup files for the same iOS gadget, or backups from devices you no longer use, you can delete them here. Select the unwanted file and click Delete Backup.