Looking for iOS backup/restore and backup extraction software

I am prepping for moving to the iOS end user beta. In doing so I am reminded of one of my pet peeves with Apple’s iTunes Backup.

That is iTunes backups really aren’t complete backups. I have a 2TB iCloud account so my online backups are not constrained by space. I also like to do a manual backup to my Mac before any major iOS upgrade. In doing the backup today, I notice that my backup file on my Mac is only 10.3GB which would seem to be way too small. Since I have Apple Music and iCloud storage, I am thinking they might exclude Photos and Music from the backups, but I still have 32GB of other stuff. Where is it? I wouldn’t think compression would get it down to 10GB.

I really would like backup/restore software which would literally put the iOS device back to the exact state it was in at the time of the backup. I appreciate that with iOS system updates that they don’t readily allow you to roll back to a previous version of iOS. I could live with that limitation.

Here are my questions:

(1) I am aware of tools which purport to be more capable than iTunes for managing iOS device backups. Do any members have first hand experience with a better backup and restore tool for fully backing up iOS devices to a Mac?

(2) Somewhat related I have been squirrelling away backups of every iPhone I’ve owned with the thought of someday being able to archive all of the iMessage and SMS messages. Anyone using a backup extraction tool which would let you pull all such messages from an iTunes iOS backup file and store in some useful format on their Mac?

These are likely documents and data saved by apps into iCloud - they are not explicitly backed up as they are in the cloud and on all of your devices.

I would recommend making sure your iTunes backup is an encrypted backup as this restores passwords, etc to the device too.

Also, apps are not backed up since they can be downloaded from the AppStore.

I am using iMazing for backups wich allows you to do fine grained restores. Although I must admit i’v Never used it myself.


I know for certain that it is not backing up some items to iCloud nor to the Mac iTunes backup. For example, I have various applications such as TIVO and VLC which have media which is not restored if I wipe a phone. I am using encrypted iTunes backups.

Those applications may be marking the media so it is not backed up and restored - I could definitely see TiVo doing this for copyright reasons.

iMazing is great for these use cases. Easily allows me to do a full backup as well as incremental ones.

It also gives you access to files on the device like the iMessages and other things. Definitely worth checking it out.

Another vote for iMazing. Recently did a restore of my iPad and iMazing gives you granular control over what goes back on your device. Worth checking out.

Thanks. I’ll try iMazing.

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iMazing You can choose what you want to Backup.