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How to Move iOS Files to External Hard Drive In-built/Third-party Apps?

by | Jul 1, 2021 | Phone Data Transfer Tips And Solutions, Phone to External Hard Drive

Moving your iPhone files and existing backup to an external hard drive will be very helpful whenever you wish to free up space on your Mac. You will be able to back up more than one device on your same computer. Even with the 128GB model, managing the storage on your Mac can be tricky. Thus, you need a pretty convenient way to keep some extra space on your Mac. But, how can you move iOS files to an external hard drive without data loss? To give you the solution, we have recommended methods so that you can transfer your iOS content with 100% security.

Part 1: How to move iOS files to an external hard drive in-built?

In-built ways help you complete your transferring process most effectively, however, with some drawbacks. Let’s know about the effective two in-built methods in detail so that you can use them properly and get your desire result quickly.

1. Using USB Adapter

iOS 13 and iPad OS 13 have the option for external hard drives as well as flash drives. When your device has no enough storage space, it can be a great way to free up space on your device. Let’s see how to move iOS files to an external hard drive without using a computer.

Step 1: Connect external storage to iOS device

Depending on your drive, connect any Lightning-to-USB 3 or Apple’s Lightning-to-USB camera adapters.

Then, connect external storage to your iOS device, open the Files app on your device, and tap the Browse button. Next, tap the New Folder button and create a name.

create a new folder

Step 2: Move files from iOS to external drive

If the files are in the Files app, use the drag and drop option to transfer files selectively or entirely quickly. Go to Files app>Browse menu>Tap the storage service name >Tap Select>Select files that you want to move> Click the Move.

move files

Tap on the Location, select the external drive, tap on the folder where you want to store, and the Copy to reach the destination folder.

Your selected files will get copied to the external drive storage. You can also move files to your external drive in much the same way.

select folder

2. Via iTunes

Whenever you back up files using your computer, the backup will store on your Mac. The location of the backups will be in the folder named MobileSync. So, how can you choose which iCloud storage plan you should get? First, let’s check out how to move files to an external hard drive.

Step 1: Locate your backup

On your Mac’s Dock, click Finder>Click on your device found on the left side of the Finder window> Tap on Manage Backups on the General tab.

manage backup

Choose a specific device> Click on the Control key>Select Show in Finder.

select show in folder

Step 2: Move your backups

Connect the external HD to your Mac to open it. Then, go back to the Finder with your iOS backups, choose the device backup folder, an drag it to your external hard drive.

choose backup folder

Step 3: Create a symbolic link to let your computer about the new location of the backups

You will have to move the folders back manually to your Mac. So, create a new path to take to get to the backups folder for Finder. If you have macOS Mojave or a later version, you have to change the permissions for Terminal.

highlight terminal

A new folder will be in your MobileSync folder in the name of Backup or the series of numbers and letters. It is a symbolic link and has an arrow in the bottom left corner.

Tap Finder on your Mac’s Dock, select your device on the left side of the Finder, and tap on Back Up Now.

backup now

On your external hard drive, open the ios_backup folder. Check the date and time on the latest backup.

Step 4: Disable automatic backups after connecting to your computer

Disable automatic backups if you don’t have an external hard drive connected to the Mac. Click Finder on your Mac> Select your device found on the left side of the Finder>Tick the box to sync at the bottom next.

tick the box to sync

To restore the backup from an external drive, connect your external hard drive>Open the external hard drive> Go to the Finder window> Select device backup folder on your Mac. Then, drag the backup file on the external hard drive.

drag backup file

Tap OK>Select Restore Backup>Toggle the backup to use in its pop-up box> Choose Restore.

choose restore

After restoring, delete the backup folder you have dragged before to save space to the Mac. So now you have two backups on the Mac, and the other is on the external drive.

Part 2: Move iOS files to an external drive with third-party apps

While wishing to move iOS files to an external drive, you can get the most effective result via a third-party app. Using a third-party application, you can quickly complete the transferring process of iOS files to an external drive faster with a secure performance along with other attractive features. So, let’s check out some top third-party app that will be beneficial to you.

1. EaseUS MobiMover Pro

EaseUS MobiMover will help you customize the iPhone backup location, and then you can save the backup directly to the external drive.

It will give you a fast transferring process and compatible with the latest version available, such as the iOS 14 running on iPhone 12 series. With EaseUS MobiMover you will get a minimalistic set of options that will make your task more appealing. For IT Professionals or companies, EaseUS offers a Technician version to meet business demand for multiple licensing in a single location. With this version, you will get an iOS screen unlock function to unlock your forgotten iOS device password.

For Windows, EaseUS MobiMover Pro has 1-Monthat $23.95, 1-Year plan at $29.95 with 1-year free upgrades. For Mac, it has 1-Month at $29.95, a 1-Year at $39.95, and a Lifetime Upgrades at $79.95 for three Macs.

easeusmobimover pro


  • Offer the ultimate file transfer between iPhone/iPad and computer
  • No technical knowledge is required and offers a simple interface and steps.
  • It allows all types of iOS devices and locked screens.
  • Migrate content from iPhone or iPad to computer
  • Provide comprehensive solution for the management of files regarding iPhone and iPad.

Step 1: Connect iOS to your PC

Connect your iOS to your PC via a USB cable, go to Backup Manager, and Tap the Back up.

Step 2: Backup

To edit the backup location to an external hard drive, tap Select and> Click the One-Click Backup.

Step 3: Restore backup data

To restore the backup, go to Backup Manager>Restore.

[Alt = “restore device data”]

2. iMazing

With the unique iOS backup technology of iMazing, you can keep your data safe and private. You will get the best backup solution to transfer iOS files to an external hard drive and keep control of your iOS data. In addition, it offers a powerful and user-friendly interface that has made iMazing one of the best iOS device managers for Mac and PC.

Keep your precious messages safe. iMazing helps you save, import, export, and print your text messages, MMS, iMessages, and attachments. Besides, it allows transferring music, files, documents and gives easy access to your photos. In addition, this complete application management solution can download your apps and export Safari data.

iMazing has a personal plan for three apple mobile devices at $49.99, unlimited devices at $59.99, a business plan at $30.00, a configurator at $350, CLI at $250 per seat for a year.



  • Stores backups without messing up the drive.
  • Recover from old existing backups.
  • Easily select the iOS backup location.
  • Never overwrites your backups of iOS devices.
  • Wireless, safe, and automatic process without requiring paid storage.

Step 1: Change the backup location

Select your device> Click the Options> Click the Change of the Backup Location. You will see a list of recent backup locations. Click Add Backup Location

Step 2: Confirm external drive path

In the Open Panel> Select your external drive and then confirm.

Step 3: Confirm new backup location

The location you have added to the backup locations list will be available. Click Choose and confirm your new backup location.

new backup location

3. AnyTrans

AnyTrans can be your smart choice to manage, organize, transfer, back up, import, export, remove, modify, and upload all iOS data and files. You can now manage your iPhone, iPad, iPod, even iTunes, and iCloud content fully in one handy place. With AnyTrans, you can easily export your iPhone photos and videos into different folders by categories, such as Slo-Mos, Live Photos, Time-lapses, Selfies, or albums that you have. Without requiring any technical or pre-management skills, you can save your important WhatsApp text messages by backing them up with all the attachments. Without any restriction of iTunes, you can export your music and playlist.

AnyTrans has a 1 Year Plan at $39.99 for 1 PC, a Lifetime Plan at $49.99 for 1 PC, and a Family Plan for a lifetime at $69.99 for 5 PCs and Macs.



  • Support 27 data of iOS content from one place.
  • Full-way transfer content across iOS, iTunes, iCloud, and computer.
  • Allow full or incremental backup as you require.
  • No technical knowledge or skills is required.
  • Cover all models of iOS devices, including iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Step 1: Initial set up

Launch AnyTrans> Connect your iOS device to your computer > Plug in the external drive>Click on Content to your Mac or PC.

Step 2: Select files

Select the files you want to shift to set your external hard drive as destination, click the Select and Start Transfer icon. Take an example of sharing photos.

Step 3: Select your external drive as destination

Scroll down, tap on Photos and choose any category. Select the photos, tap on the To Computer option, choose the external drive as destination source, and click on Open.

choose the external drive


At the last stage of our discussion regarding how to transfer iOS files to an external hard drive, we believe you know reasonably about each method. Thus, finally, choose your preferred way to transfer iOS data to your external hard drive and experience a better working device.