How to Access iTunes Backups on External Drives to Extract iPhone Photos

I recently formatted my PC hard drives and reinstalled my Windows system to improve the performance. Before the format, I moved the iTunes backups for my iPhone onto an external drive. Now I want to retrieve an important photo from the backup but I can’t seem to view the backup file. Is there any easy way to access iTunes backup on an external hard drive and recover my photo?

By default, your computer saves backups made in iTunes to the Backup folder in your Users folder. The location of the Backup folder varies by operating system. Though you can copy the Backup folder, you should never move it to a different folder, external drive, or network drive. Any action of edit, relocate, or rename of your iTunes backup files might ruin the files. To restore from a relocated backup file, you need to move it back to the default location or the file won’t work. Backups serve as a safe copy of your entire device. So while you might be able to view or access a backup file’s contents, the contents usually aren’t stored in a format that you can read.

To restore photo from iTunes backups, you must transfer your backup from the external drive to your computer under the folder MobileSync. Normally in Windows operating system, you can find the MobileSync folder by clicking these folders: AppData>Roaming>Apple Computer>MobileSync>Backup. Then you can use iTunes to restore your iPhone and get your lost photo back. Please notice that restore from backup will revert your iPhone to a previous state, which means the files newer than the backup will be removed.

Step 1. Install the latest version of iTunes if you don’t have it. Launch iTunes and connect your device to your computer. If a message asks to Trust This Computer, follow the onscreen steps and click Trust.

Step 2. Select your iPhone when it appears in iTunes. On the left panel, select Summary and go to the Backups section. Select Restore Backups… to restore files from your iTunes backups.


If you don’t want to move the backup or you haven’t set up the iTunes yet, here is an easier way. You can use H Data iPhone Data Recovery Software, which is an iOS data recovery tool that could find and access the iTunes backups on the external drive and extract data. You will be able to preview the photos in backups and selectively recover them without restoring your iPhone.

Step 1 Install and launch H Data iPhone Recovery on a computer.

Step 2. Connect iPhone to computer, select View and Restore Files from iTunes Backups. Choose an iTunes backup file and click SCAN.

If you can’t access your iPhone for the moment, you can also click Browse for iTunes Backups to manually select an iTunes backup file.

1_browse for itunes

Step 3. When the scanning process is done, you will be able to see all the recoverable files neatly categorized. H Data iPhone Recover can recover contacts, messages, WeChat conversations, reminders, notes, Safari history and more. Click on the categories on the left and freely check for details. If you want any of these files to be extracted to your computer, simply select them and click on the Export Selected Records.

1_pics itunes


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