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Disable backups to speed iPhone/iPod touch syncing iOS devices
I have several (more than 30) applications installed in my iPhone 2.0 (some of them are over 10MB). I've been a bit disappointed with the oh-so-slow syncs in iTunes due to the required backup process. Searching a bit, I found that I could disable the backups by setting a hidden iTunes preference. Quit iTunes, open Terminal, and enter this command:
defaults write com.apple.itunes DeviceBackupsDisabled -bool YES
Whe you next sync, your iPhone won't be backed up, so the actual sync will go quickly. If you feel the need to back up your data again at some point, simply change YES to NO and sync your device (quit iTunes before changing the setting). After the backup is done, you can then disable backups again. If you want to restore a previous backup, you must set this value to NO before trying the restore.

[robg adds: The long backup times with iPhone 2.0 software are a real pain -- while sometimes they seem speedy, my current "record" is 4.5 hours to back up about 500MB of data! (I wrote about long backup times in a recent piece for Macworld.) However, these backups are also important, as they store all of your application-specific data. So if you've added notes to a note-taking app, or made it through 20 levels of your favorite game, that data is part of what's being backed up. Without a backup, if you have to restore your iPhone, you'll lose all such data.

The other problem is that if you ever cancel a backup (by clicking the 'x' next to the progress bar), it apparently corrupts the existing backup -- so if you do then go to restore your iPhone, the backup won't be usable -- I've experienced this twice already myself. Because of this, a reasonable strategy would be to let one good backup run, then use this command to disable backups, use your phone as usual for a day (or whatever period of time you're comfortable with), re-enable backups, and then make sure the full backup is allowed to run, and repeat the process. Hopefully Apple can fix the abysmally slow backup speed in a future iPhone and/or iTunes update, so that such workarounds aren't needed. The recently-release iTunes 7.7.1 update may have improved things, but I need to do more testing before I can confirm that.]
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Disable backups to speed iPhone/iPod touch syncing | 9 comments | Create New Account
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Disable backups to speed iPhone/iPod touch syncing
Authored by: cdfmrl on Jul 31, '08 08:11:30AM
Also check out the free Backup Disabler, which is probably just a GUI for this hint:
http://www.twelvepin.com/twelvepin/backupdisabler.html

ArsTechnica has an article about this problem, here:
http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2008/07/30/afew-tricks-apps-for-disabling-lengthy-iphone-backups


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Disable backups to speed iPhone/iPod touch syncing
Authored by: frijole on Jul 31, '08 08:36:04AM

Whoa, I read this in Net News Wire and came over to post a link to my app (Backup Disabler), and you beat me to it! Thanks so much!

I like not having to click the (x) every time, and this makes it easier to toggle the backups on and off.



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Disable backups to speed iPhone/iPod touch syncing
Authored by: asmeurer on Jul 31, '08 09:30:48AM
iTunes 7.7.1 is supposed to speed up backups. See http://db.tidbits.com/article/9718

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Disable backups to speed iPhone/iPod touch syncing
Authored by: astrosmash on Jul 31, '08 11:09:07AM

Navigate to ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/...DeviceID.../Backup to see your iPod/iPhone backup.

Each file in that folder represents a single file in your iPod's home directory, which includes all applications you've installed. If you sort by date in Finder you can see the files that were actually copied over during the last backup.

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Disable backups to speed iPhone/iPod touch syncing
Authored by: Fofer on Aug 01, '08 11:09:12PM

Yes, but they have names like "17b4b541ddc772e8c8a792cbf84462c5e9813652.mdbackup"

How is that helpful?



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Disable backups to speed iPhone/iPod touch syncing
Authored by: 2stepper on Aug 02, '08 06:15:29PM

If your backup is corrupted, could you start deleting the most recent files starting from the latest until it works? I've had this same problem with the dotMac Backup program. Apple needs to find a way to verify the backup or let you return to the last known good one.



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Disable automatic backups but retain manual backups
Authored by: owaters on Aug 04, '08 08:48:07AM
To disable automatic backups, but keep the ability to manually backup via the contextual menu (presented when right clicking the iPhone icon in iTunes) follow the steps below:

1. Quit iTunes.
2. Open Terminal and enter the following command:
defaults write com.apple.iTunes AutomaticDeviceBackupsDisabled -bool true
3. Then enter this next command:
defaults write com.apple.iTunes DeviceBackupsDisabled -bool false
4. Relaunch iTunes

The AutomaticDeviceBackupsDisabled hidden pref is only available in iTunes v7.7.1+

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Disable automatic backups but retain manual backups
Authored by: PizzaCake on Jul 16, '09 10:23:32AM

great! these commands seem to still work with v8.2.1. for some reason my ipod touch takes hours to back up 500MB of data



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Shell script
Authored by: luigi193 on Aug 09, '08 04:55:59PM
I wrote a basic shell script to make a CLI for the commands, so you don't have to remember them.. put it in /usr/bin and make sure to make it executable...

#!/bin/sh

echo "Enable or Disable Backups (e , d or quit)"

backup () {
	read CHOICE
	case $CHOICE in

		e|E)
			defaults write com.apple.itunes DeviceBackupsDisabled -bool NO
			echo "Backups Enabled"
			exit 0 
			;;
		d|D)
			defaults write com.apple.itunes DeviceBackupsDisabled -bool YES
			echo "Backups Disabled"
			exit 0
			;;
		quit)
			exit 0
			;;
		*)
			echo "Please only enter: e, d, or quit"
		backup
		;;
	esac
}

backup



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