Once considered a luxury to own, a phone is now a part of our everyday lives – both personal and professional. A phone is a reservoir of important information and memories that we ceaselessly prefer to access at any given time. Be it essential contacts for work or photos from a friend’s party, it is all available at our fingertips. Although uncommon, there are instances when our phones are damaged, lost or simply stop functioning. The information that we could instantly access is now lost.
Backing our phones up is the only way to salvage all that data. The process of duplicating all the data on your iPhone onto a secondary space may feel tiresome, but it is certainly worth it. You need not worry about losing any of your phone numbers or media files. Apple has made it quite convenient to backup the data on your iPhone, and there are multiple ways you could do it. In this article, we will take a look at the options you have to backup your iPhone and also how to go about it. Apple is notorious for making functions more complicated in comparison to Android, but some of these complications contribute to a higher level of data security.
Ways to backup your iPhone
Firstly, let’s look at the options you have as secondary storage spaces. You can either backup your data on iCloud, or you can choose to transfer them onto your PC (Mac or MacBook). By using iCloud, you will be able to access the data from any of your Apple devices, regardless of your geographical location. A PC is useful as a backup space since you do not need to be connected to the internet to access the files. You can also choose between backing up your data manually or automatically. Automatic backup is only available on the iCloud and takes place at fixed intervals when you are not using your phone.
Let’s take a look at the backup methods in detail.
How to backup your iPhone using iCloud
Apple provides 5GB of storage for each user on the iCloud, and you can use it to store photos, contacts, emails, notes, calendars, bookmarks and other such information.
Manual Backup on iCloud
Here are the steps to backup your data onto the cloud manually:
- Connect your iPhone to a good Wi-Fi connection
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone
- Tap on your name i.e., Owner’s Name and then open iCloud located within (Note: If your phone is running on iOS 10.2 or older, tap on iCloud on the Settings page without tapping on the Owner Name)
- Under the iCloud section, slide the toggle button to green to switch on iCloud
- Tap on “Back Up Now” to initiate the process immediately, and ensure that the Wi-Fi is connected until the backup is complete
Through iCloud, you can also choose to create backups on your computer by choosing your Mac as the preferred device under the “Manage Storage” option. This process requires an internet connection on both devices.
Automatic Backup on iCloud
To enable automatic backup, you need to follow the same instructions as for the manual backup. Once the toggle button under iCloud Backup has been turned on, your iPhone will automatically backup the data. In addition to the steps used for manual backup, you have to ensure that:
- Your phone is connected to a Wi-Fi network
- Your phone is connected to a power source
- Your device is locked
Buying additional storage on iCloud
The 5GB that Apple offers for its cloud storage is hardly sufficient, and it seems they are well aware since they offer us additional storage at a monthly cost. In the USA, they charge about $1 for 50GB additional storage, $3 for 200GB and $10 for 2TB. Keep in mind that this is not a one-time purchase and that you will be charged monthly for the extra storage. Here are the simple steps to buy additional storage:
Using your iPhone
Navigation: Go to Settings > Tap on owner name > iCloud > Manage Storage or iCloud Storage
Under iCloud Storage, you can select the option Buy More Storage or Change Storage Plan, choose a plan, then tap Buy Plan and follow the on-screen instructions
Using your Mac
Navigation: Go to Apple Menu > System Preferences > Click on Apple ID > iCloud
Under iCloud, click on Manage in the lower-right corner and select Buy More Storage – after which you can choose a plan and complete the purchase by entering your Apple ID and password.
Alternative cloud storage options
Other service providers like Google and Microsoft provide cloud storage options that are free and can be used by iPhone users as well to store or backup data. This is a blessing for Apple fans who do not wish to spend on extra storage from iCloud. This also gives you the added option of splitting your backup between different storage locations. For example, you can use Google Photos to store your photos and videos on Google Drive. Google Photos grants 15GB worth of free storage to all users. A few good options are:
- Google Drive
- Microsoft OneDrive
- Amazon Cloud Drive
Restore your backup from iCloud
Backed up data on the cloud can be restored onto an iPhone only when the device has been erased and is being set up afresh. Follow the below steps to successfully restore your data after resetting your iPhone:
- While setting up your phone anew, follow the instructions until you reach the Apps & Data page
- Out of the four options available, select “Restore from iCloud Backup”
- Once you have signed in with your Apple ID, you will see a list of available backups; select the most recent or the most relevant one
- The restoration will ideally take anywhere between 15 mins to an hour to complete, depending on the file size; ensure that you are connected to a strong Wi-Fi network during the process
- Once complete, follow the instructions to finish setting up your phone. Your backed up data will now be available to access
How to backup your iPhone using a computer
Computers are friendly, and a lot of you may consider a backup to be more secure in your own hands than in cloud storage. Take a look at a few ways you can save your data using a computer:
Backing up an iPhone using Mac
- Using the Lightning cable, connect the iPhone to your Mac
- Open Finder and select your iPhone, which would appear on the left-hand side panel
- Click on “Trust” if a pop-up appears concerning the security of your iPhone
- Under your iPhone’s profile, click on the General tab
- Click on “Backup Now”
Note: You can add password protection for your backup by simply clicking on the Encrypt option and creating a password.
Backing up an iPhone using iTunes
For PCs running Windows, or macOS Mojave or lower, you can back up your phone only using iTunes. The steps are straightforward:
- Connect your iPhone to the PC using a USB cable or a Wi-Fi network
- Open iTunes and select your iPhone from the left-hand side panel
- Under the iPhone profile, open the General tab and click on Back Up Now
iTunes will proceed to create a backup of your photos, videos, messages and all other data on your computer, and can be restored at any point in time.
Restore your backup from a computer
Whenever you need to restore your data from the computer, all you need to do is connect your phone to the PC using the Lightning cable and follow the below steps:
- Open the Finder app on Mac, and select your iPhone from the left panel. If the device is password-protected, follow the prompts to unlock it after you click on the device name
- Once you can access the phone, click on the General tab which will be visible on the larger, right-hand side portion of the screen
- Click on the “Restore Backup” option that you will find as you scroll down in the General tab
- If you had encrypted your backup file, you will be prompted to fill the password to unlock it before restoring
- The process will begin once you click on “Restore”, so ensure that the device is connected until it finishes and the device restarts
Manage your backup files on Mac
You can manually access your backup file if your Mac is running on OS10.15 Catalina or higher, here’s how:
- Open Finder and click on your iPhone’s name on the left panel
- Click on the General tab and select the “Manage Backups” option
- The backups that have been created will appear in a pop-up screen and you can view their file folder, and delete or archive the backup files
This is helpful especially when you want to copy the backup file onto an external HDD.
When you save your data on iCloud, it can only be restored when you set up a new iPhone for the first time or when you have reset your old iPhone. This wouldn’t be a problem if you create a copy onto your computer as well. In addition to using iCloud for backups, all you have to do is create a backup on your computer using one of the methods already explained in the article. You can then transfer the backup files (using steps from the Manage Backups section) to an external HDD to be doubly safe.
Differences between iCloud backups and Computer backups
5GB Free; up to 2TB under paid subscription
As much as the space available on the HDD
Backup File Location
Uploaded to cloud storage
Copied to the computer’s HDD
All backups are automatically encrypted
Encryption is optional and turned off by default
Contacts, mail, calendar; Media files depending on capacity available
All forms of data
Automatic backups; Accessible from anywhere
Manage your backups and copy them to an external HDD