Space saving Apple/iOS tip.

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With the upcoming public release of iOS 11 next Tuesday (Sept. 19) I figured I’d give you guys a tip to help you save a bunch of space on your computer(s).

Using this tip, I managed to save over 230GB on my main system and another 190GB on my laptop [a combined 424.76GB], but these results aren’t ‘typical’ and you’ll probably have smaller savings, but it can still be worth it.

The requirements are easy, at least one iPhone or iPad where you used iTunes on a computer to help manage your apps and/or games. If you’ve never used iTunes for this, just skip this post.

Here are some small caveats that you need to be aware of to save space:

  • You must be using iTunes 12.7 or newer [Download]
  • If ALL of your iDevices are running iOS11 or above, see Section 1
  • If one or more iPhone or iPad is on iOS10 or below, see Section 2

[Common Info]
With the latest version of iTunes that Apple released (12.7), they are moving away from forced desktop management of your iOS devices by removing the iOS AppStore and other features from iTunes. You can still download old apps/games directly on your device with no problems. If you are on a lower version of iTunes do NOT follow the directions below until after you upgrade.

If your copy of iTunes is installed in the default location, you can find the relevant directory as follows:

Windows 7 and up:
C:\Users\USERNAME\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media
Home > Music > iTunes > iTunes Media

[Section 1]
If all of your devices are on iOS 11, you can go to the iTunes Library location above and delete the “Mobile Applications” folder. This folder holds all of the apps and games that were downloaded via iTunes (or transferred from your device) in the form of *.ipa files. As stated above, you can no longer manage these via iTunes anyway and they are available to download directly on your device.

[Section 2]
If one or more of your devices are still on iOS 10 or below, you have to take into account if you have any old apps or games that are no longer available via the AppStore [Example: an old Tetris ripoff that got removed]. This probably doesn’t apply to many of my readers, but obviously, if you have some of these you’ll want to make a backup copy of them before you delete the folder (or just delete the *.ipa files in the folder that aren’t associated with these apps/games). iOS 11 stops all support for 32bit apps/games which is why in Section 1 I don’t bother to have you check for this since they wouldn’t be able to be loaded back to the device anyway.
No Removed Programs
You can safely delete the “Mobile Applications” folder as explained in Section 1
Programs you want/need to keep
After making backups of these, you can reload them to your device as needed by going into iTunes, click the little image of your device near the top, then you just drag the *.ipa file over your device listed in the left pane of the window.

Well, I hope that helps you save some space and if you have any questions about this, just message me and I’ll try my best to help or update this post with more information.

Category: Misc.
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