Regularly creating iCloud or iTunes backups should be routine for every iOS user, but if you want to upgrade to a beta version of iOS or if you think you might want to downgrade shortly after installing a new iOS update, you'll want to make sure create an archived iTunes backup beforehand.

An archived iTunes backup is essential because it saves the current state of your iOS device and prevents it from being accidentally overwritten by subsequent backups. Apple recommends all public beta testers create an archived backup before installing a beta in case something goes wrong and a restore is needed. Here's how to do it.

Create an Encrypted Backup

encryptedbackup

  1. Connect your iPhone or iPad to a Mac with the latest version of iTunes installed and click on the device icon in iTunes.
  2. Under backups, choose "This computer." Select "Encrypt iPhone backup" and set a password. An encrypted backup includes account passwords, Health, and HomeKit data. A non-encrypted backup will wipe all of this data if it's used for a restore.
  3. Click "Back Up Now" and wait for the backup process to finish. It will take approximately five minutes to complete depending on what's installed on your iPhone.

Archive the Backup

archivedbackup

  1. To archive the backup, choose "Preferences" from the iTunes menu and select the "Devices" tab. Choose the fresh backup and right click to bring up the "Archive" option.
  2. Once archived, a backup will be marked with the date and the exact time that it was archived.

Your archived backups are always visible in the Preferences section of iTunes, even when a device is not plugged in. Deleting one of your archived backups can be done from the same menu, by selecting a backup and choosing the "Delete Backup" option.

This guide is applicable to iTunes users on the Mac. Windows iTunes users are not able to create archived iTunes backups using the same method and will instead need to rename their iTunes backup folder or move it to another location to prevent it from being overwritten.

Creating an archived backup is one of the key steps in our how to that walks users through installing a beta version of iOS, which is available here.

Top Rated Comments

jclo Avatar
71 months ago
I realize this how to may be something that a lot of people already know and creating an archived backup is nothing new, but we're publishing it now to fill in some gaps in our existing how to coverage.

It'll be useful to people who aren't familiar with creating archived backups and it's specifically being added for future use in other how tos where an archived backup is a requirement, like this one: https://www.macrumors.com/how-to/how-to-download-ios-beta/

You'll see a few other how tos like this here and there with the same disclaimer.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jack daniels Avatar
71 months ago
Thanks for clarifying that the instructions don't work on a PC. However, at the beginning of the article it mentions that the instructions are for Mac adn PC, so could you please clear this up.

Could you please also give us more complete instructions on how to archive a backup on a PC? For example, the location of the backup folder and/or how to rename it (e.g. do you just rename the folder or change a setting in iTunes)?

I'm not entirely sure that archived backups aren't possible on a PC. I have an archived backup on my PC together with a date and time, and some non archived backups. Perhaps this happens automatically if you restore your device to an earlier state then back up (e.g. if you back up a new iPhone, then restore it from an older iPhone, does the new iPhone backup gets archived).
iTunes for Windows doesn't contain anything in the UI for archiving iTunes backups, which is why it's not included in this guide. You can manually archive backups on Windows by moving the backup itself to somewhere other than the default directory. Depending on your version of Windows, this varies.

Find and Manage your iTunes backups
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204215

The backups in the default directory will be named the UDID of the device that created them. Simply drag the folder to an external drive or wherever you back up your files, and when it's time to restore, move them back into the default directory and it will be available in iTunes to restore from.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
naeS1Sean Avatar
71 months ago
I realize this how to may be something that a lot of people already know and creating an archived backup is nothing new, but we're publishing it now to fill in some gaps in our existing how to coverage.

It'll be useful to people who aren't familiar with creating archived backups and it's specifically being added for future use in other how tos where an archived backup is a requirement, like this one: https://www.macrumors.com/how-to/how-to-download-ios-beta/

You'll see a few other how tos like this here and there with the same disclaimer.
I love this article and all the articles you do like it. Even though it's often basic stuff, it's nice to affirm and also see if I missed some obvious things. Thank you!
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jclo Avatar
71 months ago
Is this something that can be used to revert back to the iOS version you archived at if you're subsequently unhappy with an upgrade?

e.g. My iPad 2 is on iOS 6. Can I archive backup now, upgrade to iOS 9, and then if I find the performance hit unacceptable revert back to iOS 6 via the archived backup?
Only so long as Apple is signing the update. Apple doesn't sign software for very long following a new version of iOS so the window for downgrading is pretty small.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lironl Avatar
71 months ago
Thanks for clarifying that the instructions don't work on a PC. However, at the beginning of the article it mentions that the instructions are for Mac adn PC, so could you please clear this up.

Could you please also give us more complete instructions on how to archive a backup on a PC? For example, the location of the backup folder and/or how to rename it (e.g. do you just rename the folder or change a setting in iTunes)?

I'm not entirely sure that archived backups aren't possible on a PC. I have an archived backup on my PC together with a date and time, and some non archived backups. Perhaps this happens automatically if you restore your device to an earlier state then back up (e.g. if you back up a new iPhone, then restore it from an older iPhone, does the new iPhone backup gets archived).
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Carvensno Avatar
71 months ago
Is this something that can be used to revert back to the iOS version you archived at if you're subsequently unhappy with an upgrade?

e.g. My iPad 2 is on iOS 6. Can I archive backup now, upgrade to iOS 9, and then if I find the performance hit unacceptable revert back to iOS 6 via the archived backup?
Nope because Apple isn't signing iOS 6 anymore. Backup is only for your stuff on the phone, ie... Texting, contacts, music, pics, apps, and etc...not the OS.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 13 to Bring Over a Major Feature From the Apple Watch

Wednesday July 28, 2021 2:21 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will feature an always-on display akin to the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6, according to recent reports. In his weekly Power On newsletter, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman, who often reveals accurate insights into Apple's plans, said that the iPhone 13 may feature an Apple Watch-inspired always-on mode. The Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch...
REC ASA CODE2016 20160601 205816 2745

Elon Musk Reportedly Demanded to Become Apple CEO as Part of Potential Tesla Acquisition [Update: Musk Denies]

Friday July 30, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reportedly once demanded that he be made Apple CEO in a brief discussion of a potential acquisition with Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook. The claim comes in a new book titled "Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century," as reviewed by The Los Angeles Times. According to the book, during a 2016 phone call between Musk and Cook that touched on the possibility of ...
duracell battery bitter coating

Apple Says Don't Buy AirTag Replacement Batteries With Bitter Coating

Wednesday July 28, 2021 11:08 am PDT by
Since AirTags were just released earlier this year and are expected to have a year-long battery life, it may be some time yet before AirTag users need a replacement battery, but when the time comes for a refresh, Apple is warning customers not to buy batteries with a bitter coating. AirTags use coin-shaped CR2032 batteries, which happen to be a size that's easy to swallow. Some battery...
nothing ear 1 buds 1

Nothing 'Ear (1)' True Wireless Earbuds Launch to Take on AirPods Pro With ANC and Unusual Design for $99

Tuesday July 27, 2021 7:57 am PDT by
Nothing, a new brand from OnePlus founder Carl Pei, has today officially launched the "Ear (1)" true wireless earbuds after months of anticipation around the company's AirPods Pro rival. The Ear (1) features an in-ear design, Active Noise Cancelation, Bluetooth 5.2, IPX4 water resistance, and a charging case with Qi-compatible wireless charging and a USB-C port. Fast pairing is supported on...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
Apple Leak Feature

Apple Demands Leaker Reveals Sources Under Threat of Being Reported to Police

Wednesday July 28, 2021 6:53 am PDT by
Apple has sent a cease and desist letter to a leaker based in China as part of its continuing attempts to curtail leaks of unreleased products, according to Vice. A Chinese citizen who shared images of stolen Apple prototypes on social media was sent a warning letter from Fangda Partners, Apple's law firm in China, on June 18, 2021. An extract from the letter read:You have disclosed without ...
apple rtp land

Apple Preparing to Occupy 200,000 Square Feet of Temporary Space Ahead of New $1 Billion North Carolina Campus

Thursday July 29, 2021 9:14 am PDT by
Back in April, Apple announced a $430 billion investment over the next five years to create more than 20,000 new jobs as the company continues to expand. One significant piece of that plan is a new engineering and research center in North Carolina where Apple will be investing over $1 billion and hiring at least 3,000 employees. Assemblage of seven properties in Research Triangle Park owned by ...
iOS 15 General Feature Purple

Everything New in iOS 15 Beta 4: Safari Tweaks, MagSafe Battery Pack Support, Notification Updates and More

Tuesday July 27, 2021 11:47 am PDT by
Apple today released the fourth betas of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, introducing additional refinements to the new features that are coming in the software updates. In these betas, Apple has introduced changes for Safari, Notifications, Focus mode, and more. Safari Updates Apple is continuing to refine the design of Safari on the iPhone, and in iOS 15, there are tweaks to improve usability. ...
new m1 chip

Tim Cook on Apple Deciding to Manufacture Components: 'We Ask Ourselves If We Can Do Something Better'

Tuesday July 27, 2021 3:04 pm PDT by
During today's earnings call for the third fiscal quarter of 2021 (second calendar quarter), Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked how Apple decides what components to purchase and what components to develop, and Cook said that Apple asks if it can be done better. We ask ourselves if we can do something better. If we can deliver a better product. If we can buy something in the market and it's great...
a15 chip

iPhone 13 and Redesigned MacBook Pro Chip Production Hit With Gas Contamination

Friday July 30, 2021 5:44 am PDT by
The most important TSMC factory that manufactures Apple's chips destined for next-generation iPhone and Mac models has been hit by a gas contamination, according to Nikkei Asia. The factory, known as "Fab 18," is TSMC's most advanced chipmaking facility. TSMC is Apple's sole chip supplier, making all of the processors used in every Apple device with a custom silicon chip. Industry...