It was an ordinary day. I was working on my computer when I suddenly noticed something peculiar: thirty gigs of hard drive storage I'd had the day before had (dramatic music) mysteriously vanished.
"Well, I wouldn't be so upset, Holmes — after all, that last 1 terabyte expansion drive you bought online cost you less than US$100.00, as I recall."
That's not the point, old bean. Even by today's miniscule cost-per-byte rate, thirty billion bytes of hard drive real estate is nothing to sneeze at. I vowed to get to the bottom of this mystery.
The first step was to review everything I'd done on the computer in the last twenty-four hours. Was there any new or different activity I'd done that might account for…
Wait a minute! There was. Being the bleeding-edge iDevice correspondent that I am, I'd jumped the gun and updated both my iPhone and iPad to the early version of iOS 5. And I knew that, whenever you updated iOS, iTunes created backup files.
So I quickly examined the "~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup" folder (that would be C:\Documents and Settings\YOUR_USER_NAME\Application Data\Apple Computer\SyncServices\Local" on your Wintel box, Watson), and:
Just as I suspected! The missing 30 gigabytes had been gobbled up by four backup folders (all backups from iOS 5 update for iPad and iPhone), date-stamped yesterday. From there, a simple "Delete" command shuffled the offending files to the trash can.
"Holmes, you're quite aware that I'm not comfortable with mucking about in my hard drive's directory structure. Isn't there a way to remove the backups from within iTunes?"
Excellent question, Watson. Go to your "Device Preferences" window and select the "Devices" tab:
"I say, Holmes, your powers of deduction never fail to amaze me. Now, about the Giant Rat of Sumatra…"
Sorry, old bean, but that's a tale that will have to wait for another day.