Jul 27

Hendrik of eidac has figured out a way to stop iTunes from backing up your iPhone on a Windows machine. It’s actually pretty easy to do. Instructions inside.

All you do is copy the snippet of text and paste it. Be sure to backup the iTunesPrefs.xml file and kill iTunes before starting. The instructions are as followed:

1. Locate your iTunesPrefs.xml file. It’s usually located in C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes or C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes.

Hint: If the folder Application Data does not show up, make sure that hidden files are visible in the Windows Explorer

2.Backup your iTunesPrefs.xml file

3.Open iTunesPrefs.xml using a capable text-editor (e.g. Notepad++, Ultraedit, but not MS Notepad)

4.Search for a section called User Preferences and paste the following snipped into the User Preferences Section after the first <dict>:


5. Save the file and restart iTunes. Backups should now be disabled. To enable backups again delete the XML Snippet from iTunesPrefs.xml file.

When you’re done, it should look like this:

I’ve tested it myself and can say that it works. Thanks Hendrik!

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    29 Responses to “Windows Users: Disable iTunes backup for faster sync”

    1. Esmandau Says:

      What about Mac User’s?

    2. Braden Says:

      Refer to my previous post here:

    3. iphoneinator Says:

      i couldnt find anything in step one… i searched for C:\Documents and it wouldnt even find that! so i finally found them on my own and i went into it and settings wasnt there.. any help?

    4. david Says:

      Are you on Vista?

    5. sjdvda Says:

      For Vista it is in C:\Users\username\AppData\Apple Computer\iTunes\

    6. Carlos Martins Says:

      AT LAST!

      Was waiting for this one… :)

    7. iphoneinator Says:

      C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Apple Computer\iTunes\

      i found it :lol:

    8. ABG Says:

      I don’t see a “User Preferences” in my iTunesPrefs.xml file… :(

    9. saiyam Says:

      Hey I found the file and opened it with notepad ++, i could never find the part with user preferences, I found machine preferences twice :shock: . Any help will be greatly appreciated :razz:

    10. Braden Says:

      It’s in the middle of tons of code and random letters. Notepad++ has a search feature at the top (binoculars) use that and search User Preferences. It’s there, just really hard to find.

    11. saiyam Says:

      Yea I had already tried the search option and I still didnt find it, I pretty much went through all the lines to look for it…but no luck, if you can give me your email, ill send you my file and let me know if you can take a look at it, my email is saiyamvora13@gmail.com

    12. ABG Says:

      yea i’ll email it to someone too… I used the search before posting here first and had no luck

    13. Braden Says:

      My email is bhdude76@yahoo.com
      Email it to me and I’ll see what I can do.

    14. Matt Says:

      Located iTunesPrefs.xml file and used Notepad++ to look for DeviceBackupsDisabled in iTunesPrefs.xml.

      It’s not there. iTunes version is OS is Windows XP.

    15. scudsone Says:

      for everyone who can’t find the “User Preferences” string, i may be able to help:

      On my computer there are two files named “iTunesPrefs.xml”, one in the …\Application Data\… folder and one in the …\Local Settings\… folder. Only the file in the …\Application Data\… folder has a “User Preferences” string. I don’t know why there are 2 preference files in two locations, but thy are not the same, so make sure you edit the correct one.

    16. ABG Says:

      you’re looking for a “User Preferences Section” and adding the DeviceBackupsDisabled key.

    17. Matt Says:

      “you’re looking for a “User Preferences Section” and adding the DeviceBackupsDisabled key.”

      oh ok. thanks. I have tried and it works.

    18. ABG Says:


      C:\Users\USER NAME\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\iTunes

    19. Ten bug fixes we would like to see in iPhone firmware 2.1 » iPhone System » iPhoneFreakz Says:

      […] Also, we would like an iTunes update that gives us the choice to enable or disable iPhone backups, since they are dreadfully slow. But there are ways to do this now with a little effort. For Mac, go here, and for Windows, go here. […]

    20. Dennis Nederlof Says:

      I have written a small Windows program called “iPhone Backup Switch”. The program will allow you to enable and disable the iPhone backup feature in iTunes. I have tested it pretty well in Windows XP and VISTA. There is a backup feature that will backup the iTunes configuration and let you restore a previous version, if something goes wrong. Comes complete with installer and uninstaller.

      Get it here:

      Spread the word please!

    21. Scubaman99 Says:

      Hey I found the file, opened it up with Notepad++ found the user prefs section… made the edits and SAVED the file.

      I reopened the file JUST to be sure my edits were saved and they were. My problem is that when i open up iTunes it seems to overwrite my edits! :evil: :evil: :evil:

      how the heck do i get iTunes to STOP overwriting my changes???

    22. Annihilater Says:

      Thanks man i was one hour into the back up and not even half way, so i decieded to take action and thankfully found this site THANKS ALOT :grin:

    23. fatalkickback Says:

      It works!!!! Awesome… Itunes sucks…shitty software i ever seen.

    24. White Dane Says:

      Hi there.
      I am running iTunes on a Windows 7 OS (my iPhone is running OS 2.2.1)
      I did everything you explained before. However, when I run iTunes, it re-writes the iTunesPrefs.xml, deleting the modification (the command after the 1st on User Preference). Is there any other workaround?


      White Dane
      SP – Brazil

    25. kate Says:

      AWESOME!!!!!! i was so sick of how slow itunes syncing is. i’m stoked this worked perfectly.

    26. chrigu56 Says:

      Realy awesome! It worked perfectly :-))
      Thank you very much indeed.

    27. Martin Says:

      THANK YOU! I’ve been standing by my com for six hours to update my i3GS to iOS4 cause of the backup, and then oops, “an unidentified error occured”. Hooray.
      Thank you so much, really.

    28. Jezh42 Says:

      OMFG I found something exactly like this but couldn’t find the right file because there are two but THANK YOU SO MUCH ABG for telling me its in Roaming.

      I use windows 7 so for all the awesome people

      WINDOWS 7
      Correct iTunesPrefs.xml location

      C:\Users\Jeremy\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\iTunes


    29. AJ Says:

      Does not work with 5.0

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