If you backup your iOS devices to your Mac, you will overwrite the latest backup each time you do so, creating a new, fully up-to-date copy of your iOS device, including settings, apps, and data.
But what if you want to save a certain backup as a snapshot, like before you upgrade to a new operating system, or add a troublesome app to your iPhone or iPad?
The trick here is Archiving your backup, which tells iTunes to stop using the backup as the latest one, and instead backup to a new file. It’s easy to do, and here’s how.
While in iTunes preferences, and in the Devices tab, simply right-click on the iOS device backup that you’d like to archive, and choose Archive from the resulting contextual pop up menu.
Your backup will get the current date and time appended to its name, and then the next time you backup your iOS device on that Mac, iTunes will start anew, creating a second backup file (or third, or fourth, depending on your point in the process).
Pretty slick, huh? Now you can make sure you can back up in time to an earlier iPhone or iPad backup, should something go horribly wrong with the current one.