How to Backup iPad to External Hard Drive: A Step-by-Step Guide

Backing up your iPad to an external hard drive might sound complicated, but it’s easier than you think. All you need is an external hard drive, a computer with iTunes or Finder, and a bit of patience. Follow these steps to ensure your data is safe and secure.

How to Backup iPad to External Hard Drive

Let’s get started on how you can backup your iPad to an external hard drive. This process will save all your data from your iPad onto an external hard drive via your computer using iTunes (for Windows and older macOS) or Finder (for macOS Catalina and later).

Step 1: Connect Your iPad to Your Computer

First, connect your iPad to your computer using a USB cable.

Once connected, you should see a prompt on your iPad asking if you trust this computer. Tap “Trust” and enter your passcode if prompted. This allows your computer to access data on your iPad.

Step 2: Open iTunes or Finder

Next, open iTunes if you’re using Windows or macOS Mojave and earlier. Open Finder if you’re using macOS Catalina and later.

In iTunes, your device’s icon will appear in the top-left corner. In Finder, your iPad will show up in the sidebar under “Locations.” Click on your iPad to proceed.

Step 3: Select “Back Up Now”

Click the “Back Up Now” button under the “Manually Back Up and Restore” section.

This backs up your iPad data to your computer. It may take some time depending on the amount of data on your iPad, so be patient.

Step 4: Locate the Backup File

After the backup is complete, locate the backup file on your computer.

On Windows, the backup files are usually stored in Users(username)AppDataRoamingApple ComputerMobileSyncBackup. On macOS, they are stored in ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/.

Step 5: Transfer Backup to External Hard Drive

Finally, connect your external hard drive to your computer and copy the iPad backup file to it.

Open the folder where your backup is stored, and drag the folder to your external hard drive. This will ensure you have a copy of your iPad backup stored safely.

After completing these steps, your iPad’s data will be safely backed up on an external hard drive, ready to be restored whenever needed.

Tips for Backing Up iPad to External Hard Drive

  • Ensure your external hard drive has enough space to store the backup file.
  • Regularly update your backup to keep it current.
  • Label your backup files with dates for easy identification.
  • Use encryption for added security.
  • Store your external hard drive in a safe place to prevent data loss.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need iTunes to backup my iPad?

Yes, if you’re using a Windows PC or macOS Mojave and earlier. For macOS Catalina and later, you can use Finder.

Can I backup my iPad directly to an external hard drive?

No, you must first backup your iPad to your computer and then transfer the backup file to the external hard drive.

What should I do if my iPad isn’t showing up in iTunes or Finder?

Ensure your USB cable is properly connected and that your iPad is unlocked. Trust the computer if prompted.

How often should I backup my iPad?

It’s a good practice to backup your iPad at least once a month or before any major software update.

Is it safe to store my iPad backup on an external hard drive?

Yes, as long as you handle the hard drive carefully and store it in a secure location.


  1. Connect your iPad to your computer.
  2. Open iTunes or Finder.
  3. Select “Back Up Now.”
  4. Locate the backup file.
  5. Transfer the backup to the external hard drive.


Backing up your iPad to an external hard drive might seem like a tech wizardry, but it’s actually quite manageable with the right steps. It’s a crucial routine to ensure your photos, documents, and precious memories are safe from unexpected mishaps. Following our guide makes sure you’re prepared for any data disaster.

So, grab that external hard drive, follow these steps, and give yourself peace of mind. Remember, technology can sometimes be unpredictable, but your preparedness doesn’t have to be. Now that you know how to backup iPad to external hard drive, you can safeguard your digital life with ease. If you found this guide helpful, feel free to share it with friends or check out our other tech tips to stay ahead of the curve. Happy backing up!

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