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How to Back up iPhone to Keep Your Data Safe

how to back up iPhone

Backing up your iPhone regularly should be a routine for every iPhone user. Shame on you if you don’t have any backup ready when the unfortunate happens. Apple makes it way too easy to back up your iPhone with iCloud and iTunes.

You can always use Find My iPhone to track your lost iPhone and erase all the data on it in case it falls into the wrong hands.

However, it’s best practice to back up your iPhone on a regular basis, so you don’t lose your precious data. Once you’ve backed up everything, you can proceed to restore your iPhone if need be.

And today with this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to back up your iPhone. Although some third-party apps may promise full backup of your Apple devices, iCloud and iTunes remain the best options to back up your iPhone.

How to Back Up iPhone

At this point, you may be wondering.

What’s exactly stored in an iPhone backup?

A backup of your iPhone includes the following:

  • Your device settings
  • Paired Bluetooth devices
  • Health data
  • HomeKit configurations
  • Safari bookmarks and Safari AutoFill data
  • iMessages, MMS messages, Notes, voice memos
  • Preferences and data for third-party apps
  • Passwords for Mail and Wi-Fi accounts
  • All your photos and videos from the Camera Roll

How to Back Up iPhone With iCloud

Before iOS 5, it was a pain to back up your iPhone, since your only option was to connect it to a Mac or computer using iTunes. With the introduction of iCloud, backing up your iPhone is much easier and convenient.

Many of iPhone users think somehow their iPhones automatically back up everything in Apple’s cloud service. Unless if you’ve turned iCloud backup on, your iPhone will back up your data to the cloud. Otherwise, nothing will happen. To back up your iPhone to iCloud, make sure your iPhone is connected to a Wi-Fi network.

Turning on iCloud backup
  1. Go to your iPhone “Settings”, tap on the banner with your name.
  2. Tap on iCloud, it will show you how much storage you have and how much is available.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom, find “iCloud Backup”, then select it to turn it on.

To automatically back up with “iCloud Backup”, your iPhone needs to be locked and connected to a power source and Wi-Fi network. Make sure you have enough storage since you only get 5GB of iCloud storage per Apple ID for free. So if you have multiple Apple devices, that storage will be split.

If you need more iCloud storage, Apple currently offers 50GB for $0.99 (USD) a month, which should be enough for most people. You may want to follow our tips to free up iCloud storage without paying a dime to Apple.

If you shoot 4K videos, you’ll certainly need more storage. For 200GB the cost is $2.99 per month, and for 1TB Apple charges $9.99 per month. We recommend you consider other cloud storage services if those prices don’t line up with your budget.

While this method is super convenient, it does not perform a full backup of your iPhone. Apple only backs up what they think are your most important files. With iTunes, you can perform a full backup of your iPhone with all your data. Keep reading to know how to do it.

How to back up iPhone with iTunes

iTunes interface

Step 1

To back up your iPhone with iTunes, you’ll need either a PC or Mac with iTunes installed on it. You need to allow your iPhone to communicate with your computer either through Wi-Fi or a USB cable. You’ll be prompted to enter your device password, then you’ll be set.

Step 2

Once you open iTunes and your iPhone is connected to your computer, you should see a message pop up on your computer screen asking you to “Trust This Computer”. If it’s the first time you connect your iPhone to this computer, you’ll be asked to “Trust This Computer” also.

Encrypting iPhone backup on iTunes

Step 3

Select your device when it shows up on iTunes to have a summary. Since your iPhone contains sensitive information on it, you’ll have the option to encrypt your iPhone backup.

Go ahead and select the box with Encrypt iPhone backup. Make sure you create a strong and memorable password since you’ll need it to restore your iTunes backup.

Latest backup in iTunes

If you have problems managing your passwords, a good password manager will be your best companion. If you don’t need to encrypt your data, just click “Back Up Now.”

With this method, you can make a full backup of your iPhone. To verify if everything was done successfully, just look under Latest Backup to see a list of all the Backups.

Now you know how to back up your iPhone with iCloud and iTunes. What’s the difference between both methods? Is one better than another?

There are two main differences.

  1. What’s being backed up
  2. Location

Like I mentioned earlier iCloud backup only backs up what Apple thinks are your most important data. With iTunes backup, all your data are backed up, everything.

With iCloud, your backups are stored in the cloud. You can access them anytime and anywhere as long as your iPhone is connected to a WiFi network. If you back up your iPhone using iTunes, your backups are stored locally on that PC or Mac.

I personally use both backup options for maximum protection. Once in a while, I use iTunes backup to perform a full backup of my iPhone. It doesn’t cost anything, and I think you should too.

Where is my iPhone backup stored on my mac?

To view a list of all your backups, click on the search icon in the menu bar on your Mac. Paste this: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/, then press enter.

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