iPhone could not backup because backup file was corrupt or not compatible, fix

Several people have reported that iTunes could not finish the back up process and gave this error message: iTunes could not backup the iPhone because the backup was corrupt or not compatible with the iPhone OR backup session failed.

To fix this problem, simply delete your corrupt backup files by opening iTunes Preferences ( Windows: Choose Edit > Preferences; Mac: Choose iTunes > Preferences), there Select the Devices tab, then select your backup and delete it, then try the backup again.


  1. AlexandraM says

    In case you have important files from your corrupted backup that need to be retrieved prior to deletion, I recommend iPhone Backup Extractor tool to extract data onto your computer. You can easily import most of the files back to your iPhone, so you do not have to worry.

  2. BrianR says

    I looked at my backup file list and it is empty so i couldn’t delete a “corrupted” file as none existed. In addition, iTunes also would notsync some of my hi def videos that previously it had. The message i get states that these videos are not compatible with my ipod. I have an Ipod 4 so I doubt that there are any videos that itunes sells that wouldnt be compatible with it. Any help would be appreciated.

    • SaadTheDestroyer says

      if you have the new updated itunes simply click the black and white box on the top left hand corner and click preferences. then click devices.

  3. Najib says

    To fix this problem, simply delete your corrupt backup files by opening iTunes Preferences ( Windows: Choose Edit > Preferences; Mac: Choose iTunes > Preferences), there Select the Devices tab, then select your backup and delete it, then try the backup again.

    after i follow those steps, it is still happen.. keep on telling me that my back up was corrupt or not compatible.. please someone help me..

  4. Roger says

    I looked in “Edit”, “Preferences”, “Devices” and there is no backup file to delete! Now what?

  5. Den says

    Same here…I reinstalled iTunes few times and it is still “back up was corrupt or not compatible” :(
    Any1 has any other idea?
    Thank you

    • Roger says

      Followed advise on internet: issue was probably related to corrupt picture. Deleted all pictures, then reset the iPhone wiping everything, reloaded from backup but not pictures. Sync now works but very time consuming!

  6. Den says

    Hello again!
    I did delete all the albums,photos and videos in library, but still the iTunes do not back up my iphone :((((((

  7. Den says

    Video of what? Corrupt file is not in the, library, it must be some of games or something i did download, but how to find what is it?

  8. samrichard says

    In case if your iPhone model could not backup, in that condition you must be sure that something has wrong going on.. May be its a case of corruption or damage that may have occurred unknowingly that causing such issues. in order to repair the corruption, you are needed to take help of iPhone Backup Software that helps you in creating iPhone data backup as well as is also capable of repairing small corruption. This is useful for different iPhone models like iPhone 3GS recovery and so on…

    To read more:


  9. JohnM says

    STOP STOP STOP. All you have to do is simply follow the steps below.

    1. Enable to view hidden files.

    2. find AppData file.

    3. Roaming.

    4. Apple Computer

    5. MobileSync


    7. Finally erase the file that is dated the current day the backup was done by checking modified date.

    ENJOY 😉


    • Mark McMullen says

      Attempted to restore my iPhone 4 backup onto new iPhone 5. Been on it all morning with same problem. Absolute nightmare.

      John – I’d also love a bit more detail on your solution… Help!!! My don is desperate to get his hand me down iPhone 4 !!!!!

    • says

      Jskywalker, thanks for your help. it works perfectly.
      i really need to backup my phone because of the ringer control doesnt work and i am going to apple shop for repairing.
      again great thanks.


      • William Smith says

        Dude look at the side of your phone and I guarantee you will feel better to know that if that little switch about the two buttons for the volume up/down is showing an ORANGE OR RED then you need to flip that thing to where it is not showing the switch in an off position (ORANGE/RED) that stupid switch had me looking like an ass going down to the Apple Store cussing them out cause the damn ringer wouldn’t work!

        Try it and I betcha anything you’ll get your ringer and media volume back! LOL

    • nick says

      thx alot! it worked .. in my case i had to delete folder with previouse back up that was for my iphone

    • Groggy says

      Thanks! This worked. What I also noticed on the modified date stamp was the time. it was stamped with a future time, so maybe that is why the file is coming across as corrupted.

  10. says

    In case anyone else is running into this problem and the steps above do not help you.

    I was receiving the same message and after days of fruitless Googling, I noticed that I did not even *have* a directly called %APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync\backup.

    I created the folder structure and everything starting working.

    Note to the previous poster who wanted more specifics… To find the folder you need, right click on the Start button and choose “Open Windows Explorer”.

    In the address bar at the top, click and type %APPDATA% (with the percent signs) and hit enter. This will open some folder–typically C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming on Windows 7, but could be somewhere else depending what version of Windows you have and your particular setup.

    Then open “Apple Computer”. If “MobileSync” does not exist as a folder, create it (“New Folder” and give it the name “MobileSync”). Open the MobileSync folder. If “backup” does not exist as a folder, create it, then open it.

    Unless you just had to create the folders in the last step (in which case you are probably all set), you will find one or more folders in here containing your backups. Delete these (or move them somewhere else as a safety precaution, then restart iTunes, reconnect your device, and hopefully you will be all set.

    • Dave says

      BK you are the stuff. Thank you so much. I was getting really irritated at all the sites saying the same thing without addressing those who were still having issues.

    • Melissa says

      ‘m running windows xp, and cannot for the life of me figure out how to do this. I cannot find any of the files u have mentioned.

    • Andreas says

      Thanks you so much BK !!
      Finally – probably after 3 month searching for a solution again and again I found this thread – and your solution which finally solved my issue.
      Many sites don’t answer the real problem – means – no old backups are there to delete and still error message comes up.

    • Ashley says

      Thank you so much for the help, your solution completely fixed my problem. Your advice was so detailed and really helped me.

    • Bilal says

      Man I have never ever ever written on such websites,but what you wrote was just so brilliant…I’ve been searching for that fucking solution for over 4 months now,Thanks!

    • Nico says

      Hi Bk! I have the folder of BACKUP in APPDATA.
      I have files there! If I delete them I cannot select RESTORE BACKUP in iTunes.
      Any solution??

    • aeb says

      I can not delete the backup file because of corrupted file error. I tried many things but i think it is a hardware issue. then i renamed the Backup foldername and created empty Backup folder in MobileSync and it worked…

    • D. says

      finally got it! thank you!!!

      for those who can’t find “apple computer” hit the start button, then type %APPDATA%\Apple into the search. it will pop up!

    • MegaMaga says

      @BK – thanks for trying, this may have worked for some, but not for me…I just got an iphone 4s replaced by apple due to WIFI issues, and I tried restoring from backup. Error message that backup is corrupted. Did what you suggested, but when those backup folders are removed, there is no backup option in iTunes anymore, since there is nothing to back up from. I have them saved elsewhere, but how do you know which files are the corrupted ones? Got any other ideas? I can use all the help I can get! Thanks!

    • Destini says

      This solution worked perfect! Thanks, I haven’t been able to back up in months. I deleted the BACKUP file and created a blank one and it worked!

    • says

      Thank you very much. I downloaded the new ITunes and I rec’d a message “ITunes could not back up the IPhone because the backup was corrupt or not compatible w/my IPhone 5… Tried a few things for a month but came across this . IT WORKED !!!!!!!!!!! TKS!!!!!! :)

    • Elliott C says

      You are bloody champion!! I had this problem for the last year ever since my old laptop blew up & got a new one & finally its fixed …… Apple were hopeless!
      I got 2 other problems I was hoping someone can help me with
      – When I plug my iPhone in it says it can’t sync. It comes up with “ITunes was unable to load data class information from Sync Services. Please reconnect” Does anyone know how to fix this problem.
      – Why I was fixing the back up problem I realised all my Apple computer files were saved to our work server. Since I take my laptop home am I able to move the folder across to my computer to Sync & back up at home without effecting it? If yes, how do I do?

      Much appreciated for every ones help with this!!

  11. says

    I had the same problem with a user on a domain.

    located the roming profile with the redirection folder and found “apple computers” within there created “mobilesync” and in that folder created “Backup”.

    opened up i tunes and ran back fixed :-)

  12. Elliot says

    I’m not understanding something. If I delete (actually I saved them to a different file) the backups from the Backup folder in in mobilesync, then restart itunes and reattach my iphone 5 as instructed, what is there to restore from? I don’t get the option to restore from a backup unless I put those files back in the folder.

  13. Amy says

    Moving my photos and then deleting them worked for me. It figures I tried that AFTER I tried everything else. Thank you so much!

  14. mario says

    please, i’ve seen many great solutions here, but my problem is that, i need to recover an app wich was were i kept all my pw’s. is there any way to recover apps when i cannot recover my last backup and that was the only one i had… please help me. thanks

    • Cason Hardigree says

      I tried all of these suggestions with no success. On a long shot I made the back up of my old iphone 4 an encrypted back up and backed it up over wifi instead of plugging it in. It worked perfectly, just don’t forget your back up’s encryption!

  15. May says


    I’ve downloaded the latest version of iTunes in order to back up my iPhone 4s(which hasn’t been updated with any new version of IOS). However, while the phone can be detected into the computer and iTunes, it says ” the iPhone can’t back up because it is not connected” few sececonds after it started back up. I tried many times but still not work. How can I transfer all my data to the new iPhone 5 then? Pls help ……

  16. Matt says

    I almost never post on boards, but BK THANK YOU. I’ve been looking all over for this solution and the apple people were completely unable to help me with this to the point that they asked for a screenshot of the problem and then said that I’d have to call and pay 20 bucks just to talk to them. You’re a hero.

  17. Andy says

    What if your back up file is corrupted during half way backing up. Most of your stuff is in mobile sync /backup folder, but there are files such as info, manifest, status etc. which causes iTunes could not read your backup when you try to restore via iTunes. If you take note, all the backup files folder (successful backup) will have a files such as info, manifest and status. Without that, you can never restore the backup. Any software or help?

  18. Markus says

    I’m fairly comfortable with understanding how to delete stored backups & where these are stored within the folders on my computer.
    However I believe only a ‘few’ files within my backup are corrupt which is not allowing my new iphone to sync.
    I believe this as when I used to sync my iphone3 it cam up with an error/warning such as ”could not sync file ‘x’.mp3 for example”. Therefore I believe maybe 2-3 videos which I originally transferred from using a Blackberry where not recognised by my iphone.
    This was fine & I wasn’t too bothered however I now believe these are the files that are causing corruption & not allowing me to sync my data. Therefore how to I find & delete these ‘corrupt’ files from my backup so hopefully the sync will work?
    The files mobliesync/backup folders read as gobble-d-gook ie. approx 15-20 characters made up of ascii characters!!! :o(

  19. keerthi says

    I had the same problem with win 7 OS, not sure if this fix stesp will work for other os systems.

    1. Close iTunes
    2. Make sure your Explorer displays hidden files
    3. Go to C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computers\MobileSync\backup
    4. Delete everything there (or move it somewhere else, to be on the safe side)

    And done. Restarted iTunes and backup worked.

  20. Neerad says

    Go to the following path in your PC:

    C: \ Users \ [username] \ AppData \ Roaming \ Apple Computer \ MobileSync \ Backup \

    and delete the folders

  21. lisawuyesa says

    The most important thing to know is that there is a backup, and that you keep a current backup in case things go wrong. The problem users get into is not having a backup and suddenly they have to restore their device and find themselves back at the starting point.
    Read more:

  22. Joe says

    Well, there is one thing that I have learned from all of this. If you delete your backup in that file path, THEN YOU DO NOT HAVE ANYTHING TO BACKUP FROM. So don’t do any of this. You may as well just start over with a fresh install.

  23. Mohammad Sadek says

    Thank you very much! it worked perfectly, following the mentioned steps i have been able to back up and transfer all the information to my new iphone 5s devise


  24. Glenn says

    I used time machine to replace the corrupted file that wouldn’t allow me to backup from the restore files, figured out which of my iTunes backup files to replace, then clicked on that folder with all the files in it ( I figured it out based on the date modified as I had several from various iPods and an iPad and clicked on get info of each of them to figure this out ) Go in to library/application support/mobilesync/backup

  25. Lisa says

    Glad to see someone caring about this corrupt backup issue, it seems to be hitting more and more people!

    I was getting the error while trying to restore a backup, so deleting the backup wasn’t going to help :) I used a tool called Decipher Backup Repair, fixed it like magic so I could restore.

  26. Scott says

    Hi, had same problem. Could not back up my iphone 4s in iTunes (Corrupt file message).
    I went into path : C: \ Users \ [username] \ AppData \ Roaming \ Apple Computer \ MobileSync \ Backup
    I had no back up file to delete, so I deleted the folder “Backup” and created it again (made a new folder called Backup)
    Restarted itunes and “backup now” in iTunes worked !
    Thanx !

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