Save Disk Space by Moving iOS Device Software Updates to an External Disk

If you’ve got an SSD in your Mac, you probably have limited storage. With most SSDs only 256 GB, you can quickly run out of disk space, especially if you have lots of music or videos. Every gigabyte may count with an SSD.

There are some files you can easily offload to an external hard drive; assuming you have one. One type of file is iOS device software updates. Unless you download iOS software and updates directly on your devices, you’ll have some pretty large files hanging out on your SSD.

First, check and see how much space they take up. In the Finder, choose Go > Go to Folder, and type ~/Library/iTunes. You’ll find one or more folders here which contain software updates:


Each of these Software Update folders may contain just the latest update to the software for the device(s) you own, or it may contain several. If you’ve never looked in these folders, you may be surprised how many updates they contain, each of which – for iOS devices – is more than 1 GB.

You can safely move all of these folders to an external disk. If you even need to restore an iOS device, you can either re-download the software (if you have a fast internet connection), or choose one of the files on your external disk; the software doesn’t need to be on your startup disk. To do this, hold down the Option key and click Restore. A dialog will ask you to locate the software; navigate to it, select it, and restore.

In the future, it’s good to remember that these folders can hold large files. If space is at a premium, think about moving or deleting them.