Skip navigation
This discussion is archived

Why does "backup" take so long?

18787 Views 16 Replies Latest reply: Jan 5, 2009 9:37 AM by needleman_mark RSS
1 2 Previous Next
daihard Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jul 26, 2008 8:08 PM
When I plug in my iPhone to my MacBook to sync it, iTunes almost always goes into the "backup" mode. Every time it does, it take a long, long time to complete. I am talking about 15-20 minutes just for the backup process. Why is that?

I would understand it if it was the very first time that iTunes backed up my iPhone. That's not the case; every backup operation seems to take a long time. Does iTunes not have the concept of "incremental backup?
MacBook (Black 2.16 GHz Core 2 Duo), Mac OS X (10.4.11), iPhone 3G (16GB white)
  • drkdaedvn Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 26, 2008 8:14 PM (in response to daihard)
    Because iTunes is backing up "every-single" change you made in application(s) you used since the last back-up. So, in-case you need to do a restore if you lose you phone, it gets lost, etc... you will be back at the same state you were in last since your last back-up.

    Tip: Hit the "x" to the right of the progress bar to skip the back-up, if your in a hurry.

    Message was edited by: drkdaedvn
    Macbook, Mac OS X (10.4.9)
  • drkdaedvn Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 26, 2008 8:23 PM (in response to daihard)

    Your back-up shouldn't take that long...
    Because I use several of my apps (5+) and my back-ups take roughly 3-5 minutes.

    I would suggest doing a restore but that may or may not fix your issue. Rather then that I don't know what it could be.
    Macbook, Mac OS X (10.4.9)
  • Kevin808 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 27, 2008 12:11 PM (in response to daihard)
    Mine takes a long time as well (Like 15-20 minutes) I'm guessing this is the norm. Although I have no idea why it take so long either, especially when I've only changed a couple small things. I looked at my back up folder at: User/Library/app support/MobileSync/backup and it is only a 350mb folder which the iPhone, file-size wise should be able to transfer in the blink of a eye. At first it took so long I thought it was transferring all my music back to my computer, but this was not the case.
    IMac 24, Mac OS X (10.4.10)
  • neuroanatomist Level 7 Level 7 (31,685 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 27, 2008 1:19 PM (in response to daihard)
    The main determinant is the apps themselves - some apps work well with the backup, others seem to be very slow. You can try selectively removing apps to identify the culprits, if you're willing to put in the time. Personally, my backups take <5 minutes.

    Hope this helps...
    17" CD MBP, iPhone 3G, iPodTouch, Mac OS X (10.4.11),  since the ][e
  • Brady Cabe Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 31, 2008 4:54 PM (in response to daihard)
    mine took about hour and a half this some points the status bar was moving so slow I took screen shots to compare the progress after 15 minutes or so. I just left it while I was working and it eventually finished,,,pretty crazy. Previous to today it had been taking anywhere from 5-30 minutes.
  • Lee Hobart Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 2, 2008 3:33 PM (in response to daihard)
    I would love if mine took 15 or 20 minutes. Mine takes over 2 hours and I have less then 2 gigs of data on it.
  • Brock Gunter-Smith Level 1 Level 1 (45 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 13, 2008 10:40 AM (in response to daihard)
    My backup takes between 2 to 3 hours every time I plug in my iPhone. I have a couple gigs of music, and about 1 gig of apps...but still, that's ridiculous. I agree with others that I hope Apple soon figures out a way to more efficiently handle backups...or give more fine grained control over what gets backed up to a restore image to help save time.
    MacBook Pro 15", Mac OS X (10.5.4), iPhone 2.5G/2.0.1
  • jmbehrens Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 14, 2008 5:25 AM (in response to Brock Gunter-Smith)
    Mine does the same, particularly since I loaded some music and video onto it... does anyone know exactly what it is thats being backed up? I'm hesitant to cancel it because I want it to back up my contacts, apps, etc., but is it copying my music and video into some backup file somewhere? That seems like an awful waste of hard drive space (my phone syncs to my Macbook Pro so space is somewhat of an issue for me).

    Also, do users have any options for backup (e.g. can I disable parts of it?)
    MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.4.11)
  • Will62981 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 14, 2008 7:12 AM (in response to daihard)
    I was having this same issue where my backup would take 3-4 hours. It seems that this issue is due to apps on the phone. I had close to 50. Here's how I've solved it.

    This sounds like a pain (and it is), but now my backup takes 5-10 minutes if that.

    -First, I removed all of the apps (not by choice, but because I had to restore my phone).

    -Second, I began to add the apps back on one by one. My reasoning behind this is one of the apps was probably causing an issue so I wanted to see if I could isolate which one (or ones)

    Once I would add an app, I'd backup the phone. Then, I would unplug, use the phone for a few minutes and back up it up again. the first time you back it up with a new app, it's going to take a few seconds. The second time it should be a lot faster. The more apps you add, the longer that first backup will take, but the 2nd backup should be significantly faster.

    Now I haven't had any issues and I've got most of my apps back on my phone. The larger apps like Apple's Hold 'Em and a few other take a few minutes to install just because they're pretty big apps.

    I hope this helps. Like I said, I know it's a pain (and with my luck 2.0.2 will come out tomorrow and fix this issue and I will have wasted time), but it's worth it to have a phone that's reliable, doesn't crash and the backup only takes a few minutes.
    Mac Book Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.4)
  • campadk Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 25, 2008 10:49 AM (in response to daihard)
    I had the same problem... several hours to backup... think I had to leave it over night the last time.

    I just connected my iTouch and got fed up with it stuck backing up for hours... disconnected the iTouch and then voila! I decided that maybe I should try to delete all the backup data I had saved on the iTouch via AirShare. I deleted the data and reconnected the iTouch. How backup only takes a bit over a minute!

    Think I had less than a GB of data saved on the iTouch via AirShare, maybe less.

    Anyways thats it for using AirShare for me. It causes too much aggravation. Think I'll just backup data to a USB key instead.
    Mac Pro Dual 2.8 Quad Core Xeon 6GB GeForce 8800GT, Mac OS X (10.5.5), iTouch (Gen2)
  • misskimberly Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 4, 2008 5:26 PM (in response to campadk)
    I am having similar problem with my original iphone. I've been having some computer issues so I haven't had the chance to update/backup my iphone. Therefore, I am still on 2.0 version. It's been about 2 hours now and the "backup" bar seems like it's stopped but I still see my phone is still updating on the right side bar. Does that mean it's still backing up?
    Toshiba, Windows XP
  • Heavenshme Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 30, 2008 10:29 AM (in response to Will62981)
    Do we have a "known" list of applications that cause a problem with the backup? I have only six (?) applications and really only "want" two of them. The other four are just games to occupy me when I'm bored.

    1) Facebook
    2) Urbanspoon
    3) Darts
    4) iBowl
    5) Labyrinth Lite Edition
    6) Toople

    Does anyone know if these have a tendency to be problematic with the backup?
    Dell Inspiron 1150, Windows XP, I know- I'll get a new one soon...
  • Jim VanLeeuwen Level 6 Level 6 (18,820 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 30, 2008 10:40 AM (in response to Heavenshme)
    Facebook app tends to cache a lot of data. There are lots of reports on this forum of backup times going from hours to minutes when the facebook app is deleted.
    24" iMac 2.8GHz Intel Core Duo, Mac OS X (10.5.6), iPhone 3G - 5 iPods
1 2 Previous Next


More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (0)


  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.