What Are iOS Files on Mac? How to View and Delete Them

Clare Phang
Last updated: Jun 5, 2023
Summary: This post will introduce everything you want to know about iOS files on Mac. Learn practical ways to view and delete them below. Extra ways to free up space are also included. Just keep reading.

iOS files are taking up more and more space on your Mac. But you are confused about what are iOS files and whether there is a way to delete them.

Don't worry. In this post, you will get to know what are iOS files on Mac and practical ways to view and delete them. Just keep reading!

iOS Files on Mac

What Are iOS Files on Mac?

Apple Official explains that iOS files contain iOS backups and firmware. That is to say, each time you use Finder/iTunes to back up your iPhone/iPad, the backup files will leave on your Mac as one part of the iOS files. So does the firmware.

Now that you know what are iOS files on Mac, let's check how much space they take up. Just follow the steps:

System SettingsGeneralStorageiOS Files.

Or you can also get to the iOS files by:

About This MacMore InfoStorage SettingsiOS Files.

Files below Device Backups are files generated by your iPhone/iPad backup. Files below iOS Installers are the update firmware generated by your iPhone/iPad update.

View iOS Files on Mac
The way to iOS Files may vary from different macOS versions.

Do You Need to Delete iOS Files?

Is it OK to delete iOS files? In fact, it depends on whether you need the backup files and firmware or not.

In the case that you back up your iPhone/iPad on your Mac with iTunes/Finder and you restore it later, it's OK to delete them since you already restored your data.

In the case that you haven't restored the backup to your iPhone/iPad, you'd better keep these iOS files on your Mac.

It's worth noting that if you back up your iPhone/iPad to your Mac in iTunes/Finder several times, there may be several backup files.

So if you don't make great changes in your iPhone/iPad, it is recommended that you delete the old backups and firmware and just keep the most recent one. Each backup has a Last Accessed date so that you can know which is old and determine which you want to delete.

How to Delete iOS Files on Mac

In addition, iOS files may take up a lot of space. And every time you back up or update, it accumulates. With time, you may receive Your startup disk is almost full pop-up message. So it's necessary to delete them.

And here is how to delete iOS files on Mac:

  1. Click the Apple MenuSystem SettingsGeneral.
  2. Click StorageInfo button next to iOS Files.
  3. Select the backup or update files you want to delete>Delete.
  4. Click Delete button in the pop-up to confirm.
Delete iOS Files on Mac

However, if you want to move iOS files to an external hard drive, etc rather than delete them, just find them in Finder and copy or cut them to the external hard drive.

And here is how to find iOS files in Finder:

  1. Open FinderGo MenuGo to Folder.
  2. Enter ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup.
    View iOS Files in Finder
  3. Drag the Backup files to your external hard drive.
    Move iOS Files
  4. Once you copy the backup to your external hard drive, you can delete the backup files on your Mac.

Also, you can access iOS files via Spotlight. Just enter ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup into Spotlight, and double-click the Backup below Folders.

In addition, moving iOS files to iCloud is also achievable. Just perform the above actions to find iOS files in Finder and then click the update icon>CollaborateOpen iCloud Drive>move Backup to iCloud.

Extra Ways to Free Up Space on Mac

Besides deleting iOS files, there are many other ways to free up space on Mac. The color bar in Storage shows that there are many other categories that take up space on your Mac.

So you can deal with them one by one to free up space, such as deleting apps, documents, etc. Both manual and automatic deleting are achievable.

1. Do What Recommendations List

When you check the storage on your Mac, you may notice that there is a recommendations list below the color bar.

And the recommendations list may cover several options - store in iCloud, empty bin automatically, etc, which are effective to optimize your storage space. Following it may be of great help to save Mac space.

2. Free Up Space Using BuhoCleaner

Since Mac cleaning is time-consuming and effort-costing. You may want to find a time-saving and effort-saving way to free up space. Here we recommend you a powerful and professional Mac cleaner - Buhocleaner.

It is designed to help Mac users better clean, manage, and monitor their Mac. With it, you can delete large files, duplicate files, junk files, and uninstall several unused apps at once, etc.

Using it to do a thorough cleaning for your Mac, which can free up a lot of space on your Mac and make your Mac run like a new one!

DownloadFor macOS 10.10 and above
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Final Words

In this post, the overall guide to viewing, moving, and deleting iOS files on Mac is introduced in detail. Hoping it covers everything you want to know and solves your problems. In addition, you can also back up the iOS files to iCloud so that you can save more space on your Mac.


  1. Can I Delete iOS Files on Mac?

    The answer depends on your actual situation. Since you already know that iOS files on Mac contain backup files and update files. If you no longer need these backups and updates, you can delete them.

    While if you never restore the backup to your iPhone/iPad, and it contains important data, it is recommended that you restore the backup to your iPhone/iPad or move the backups to an external hard drive, etc before you delete them.

  2. Can I Access iOS Files on Mac?

    The answer is yes. In the case that you just want to view the space they take and delete them, go to System SettingsGeneralStorageiOS Files. In the case that you want to move or delete them, go to FinderGo MenuGo to Folder~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup.

  3. Why Are iOS Files So Big?

    For many users, the iOS files occupy the main distribution on the colorful storage bar. Each time you use iTunes/Finder to back up or update your iPhone/iPad, these backup/update files will leave on your Mac. As we all know, the whole iPhone/iPad backup is so big, and that is why your iOS files are so big.

Clare Phang has been captivated by the world of Apple products since the launch of the iconic iPhone in 2007. With a wealth of experience, Clare is your go-to source for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and all things Apple.