iPhone and iPod Touch backups take a long time. A really, really long time. Even canceling them takes a long time. That said, it's extremely nice to have the ability to restore a complete, working backup of your phone, should it ever be lost, replaced, or one day start speaking in tongues.
There's a fairly simple method to keep iTunes from making automatic backups every time you sync your device, which can also be set from the free Secrets preference pane. But if Terminal frightens you and control panels don't delight you, there's now another way.
BackOff is an extremely simple Mac OS X program that allows you to turn on this feature with an enormous button that screams Turn OFF. Just click on this giant button that may or may not be a refugee from Mac OS 8 (if iTunes is open, BackOff will kindly ask you to shut down iTunes before it can work its magic) and it will shut off automatic backups. Click on it again and automatic backups will be re-enabled, setting your life back to normal. Now you can tell your friends how long you've been living dangerously, impress your date with your awesome exploits, and instantly become the center of attention at parties. Maybe.
With its minimalist interface, lightning-fast speed, and wonderful documentation, this free app may turn out to be a real timesaver for some and set a whole new standard for Mac OS X software. Move over, Delicious Generation—it's time for the BackOff generation.
BackOff requires at least Mac OS X 10.4 and requires iTunes 9.0 or later. Sorry, Panther users, this software's just too hot for you to handle.