How to Backup iPhone or iPad - The Ultimate Guide

How to Backup your iPhone or iPad – The Ultimate Guide

how to backup iphone or ipad

Taking backup of your iPhone and iPad is one of the important tasks that every iOS device owner must perform every now and then. Backing up iPhone or iPad ensures that you do not lose your personal data such as Photos, Contacts, Messages, and other data.

iPhone has become an essential part of an iOS user’s life. It contains all your photos, videos, messages, documents, health data, settings and much more. You should understand that your data is valuable and sometimes even precious, and you should treat it as such. The best way to secure your iPhone or iPad data is to back up. You can backup your iPhone or iPad either to iCloud or to your computer using iTunes. We advise you to take a regular backup of your iPhone or iPad, especially when you’re planning on installing a new software update. Your iPad or iPhone backup helps when somehow your device is lost, stolen, or stopped working.

What is a Backup?

An iPhone or iPad backup is a copy of your data and stuff on your device. A back up may include your app data, messages, photos and video, settings, health data, and other stuff. Not all your iPhone data gets backed up unless you have enabled certain options. For instance, only if you have not enabled iCloud Photo Library on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac, it will then save a backup of your pictures and videos. We have posted a detailed list of what stuff that is backed up on iCloud or the iTunes at the bottom of this page.

As an iOS user, you get two options to back up your device. You can either connect your iPhone, iPad, or the iPod Touch to iTunes on your computer or use iCloud to back up. The difference between the two is the location where it saves your backup data. iCloud stores it on Apple’s iCloud server while iTunes backups are stored locally on your Mac of the PC.

When you back up your iPhone or iPad to iTunes, you’ll have to use your computer to access it. On the other hand, you will have access to your iCloud backup anywhere, all you need is Wi-Fi access. If you back up your iPad or iPhone with iCloud, you’ll be able to access it anywhere using Wi-Fi. If you back up your iPhone or iPad using iTunes, you have to use the computer you store the backups on to access them.

Let’s talk about how to backup your iPhone or iPad using both the iTunes and the iCloud.

iPad or iPhone Backup Options

You can backup iPhone or iPad to iCloud on Apple servers i.e. iCloud or iTunes on your computer. Here’s the different between the two back up methods that will help you decide which back up option is best for you:

iCloud Backup

How to backup iphone on icloud
  • iCloud stores backup on the iCloud server.
  • Offers 5GB of free storage (up to 2TB with paid plans)
  • Your backups are always encrypted.
  • With access to Wi-Fi, you can create and use an iCloud backup from anywhere.

Use iCloud to Backup iPad or iPhone

iTunes Backup

itunes backup
  • iTunes stores your backup on your computer.
  • Backup storage depend on free space available on your computer
  • You can encrypt backups.
  • To create and use your backup, you need your computer.

Use iTunes to Backup iPad or iPhone

Cloud Storage Apps

cloud storage ipad backup
  • Third party cloud storage apps stores backup in the cloud.
  • Backup storage depends on free space available in your online account.
  • Some services offer an option to encrypt backups.
  • To access backup data from anywhere using any machine even from Android.

Use Third-party apps to Backup iPad or iPhone

Now you have two official options to back up your iPad or the iPhone. If ever you need an alternative back up of your device, you can create one backup using iTunes and the other on iCloud. We have covered both methods here.

How to backup iPhone or iPad to iCloud

how to backup iphone or ipad to icloud

Apple provides a storage and the backup solution called iCloud. Your iPhone and iPad includes up to 5GB of free iCloud storage for back up and storage purposes. iCloud backup allows you to access it from anywhere with an internet connection.

If you want to back up your iPad or iPhone to the iCloud, you’re required to have an iCloud account and signed into it. If you don’t have an iCloud account (Apple ID) and not sure how to create one, then follow our detailed guide on creating an iCloud account and sign into it.

In order to back up iOS device on iCloud, you’ll need an Apple ID or iCloud account. If you don’t have one, follow these links to create one:

Since free sore is very limited on iCloud, you can selectively back up apps data on your iCloud account.

How to choose what to backup to iCloud 

Below are the instructions to take your iPhone backup or iPad backup to iCloud.

  1. Connect your iPad or iPhone to a Wi-Fi network.
  2. Go to Setting.
  3. Tap the [user] at the top of the screen.
  4. Navigate to iCloud.
    backup iPhone on iCloud
  5. Tap iCloud Backup.
    iphone backup to icloud
  6. Turn the iCloud Backup toggle to ON state.
  7. Tap OK on the popup message.
    backup iphone to icoud

iOS 10.2 or older: Navigate to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup and turn ON iCloud backup.

That’s it! You’ve successfully enabled iCloud backup of your iPhone or iPad. iCloud will now try to back up your information every 24 hours or so, given that your device had a reliable Wi-Fi network and plugged into the power source. So, the iCloud backup will mostly happen when you’re sleeping.

If you’re using iCloud for the first time, your iPhone or iPad backup will take while to complete depending on your data and the Wi-Fi network speed. Once the first backup is complete, iCloud will only upload new changes to your information made since the last iCloud backup. It means, things are going to be much quicker after the first iOS backup to the iCloud.

How to manually trigger iCloud Backup

While iOS automatically start an iCloud backup after every 24 hours, you can still trigger an iCloud backup manually. This way you can be sure of an up-to-the-minute backup of your iPhone, iPad, or the iPod Touch. Here is how you can trigger an iCloud backup manually:

  1. Go to Setting.
  2. Tap the [User ID] at the top of the screen.
  3. Tap iCloud.
  4. Go to iCloud Backup.
  5. Tap on Back Up Now.
    backup iphone to icoud

How to backup iPhone or iPad to iTunes

how to backup iphone or ipad to itunes

People may know iTunes as software from Apple to play music, but this software application has much more to it. iTunes can be a great help when it comes to managing iPhone, iPad, or the iPod Touch. It also allows you to quickly backup your iPhone or iPad data to your computer.

The best thing about iTunes backups is that iTunes store them on your computer. As far as the backup storage is concerned, it’s a slice of your computer’s storage space. You can choose to encrypt your iOS device backups taken with iTunes. To backup using iTunes, you either need to connect your device to your computer via a USB cable or wireless syncing with iTunes over a Wi-Fi connection. Here are the detailed instructions to take an iTunes backup of your iPhone or iPad.

  1. Make sure you have the latest version of iTunes. Either update by going to Help > Check for Updates or download the latest version of iTunes from here.
  2. Make sure to turn off iCloud backups (Settings > [User ID] > iCloud > iCloud Bakup.)
  3. Open iTunes.
  4. Connect your iPhone or iPad via USB cable.
  5. Click on the device icon on the left side of the iTunes window.
  6. Click on Summary from the sidebar.
  7. Under Automatically Back Up section, choose This Computer.
  8. If you want to backup your passwords, HomeKit, and health data as well, make sure to checkmark the Encrypt local backup option. Create a password for your encrypted backups. Keychain will automatically store the password.
  9. Finally, click the Done button.

how to backup iphone ipad to itunes

What is Backed up Using iCloud or iTunes

Below you can see a detailed list of data/information that iCloud or iTunes saves when you use one of these to backup iPhone or the iPad.

iCloud Backup Stores

  • Your iPhone or iPad Settings
  • Camera Roll Photos
  • Camera Roll Videos
  • Notes created in the Notes app
  • Messages, iMessage, and MMS
  • Applications and Games
  • Apps Data
  • Home screen and app organization
  • Music that you purchase through iTunes (does not support all countries.)
  • TV Shows purchased via iTunes (U.S. only)
  • Ringtones
  • Books purchases via iTunes

iTunes Backup Stores

  • Camera Roll
  • Contacts and Favorites
  • Call history
  • Messages, iMessage, MMS
  • Settings
  • Notes
  • Voice memos and voicemail tokens
  • Pair devices
  • Home screen organization
  • App Store applications data and in-app purchases
  • Calendar accounts & events
  • CalDAV and subscribed calendar accounts
  • Profiles
  • Mail accounts and
  • Keychain passwords
  • Safari autofill, bookmarks, history, currently open pages
  • bookmarks of Map, current location, and recent searches
  • Other backed up information varies from iOS version to version.

What iCloud or iTunes Backup Doesn’t Include

Here’s the list of information that iCloud or iTunes does not store when you backup your iPhone or iPad.

iCloud Backup Does Not Store

  • Touch ID Settings
  • Apple Pay Settings and information
  • App Store Content
  • iCloud Music
  • Data already stored on iCloud
  • Data from third-party cloud services such as Gmail or Exchange

iTunes Backup Does Not Store

  • Touch ID Settings
  • Apple Pay Settings and information
  • Activity, Health, and Keychain data (requires encrypted iTunes backup)
  • iTunes and App Store Content
  • Content that user has synced from iTunes (CDs, photos, books, videos, etc.)
  • Photos already saved in iCloud Photo Library or My Photo Stream

Backup iPad or iPhone to Cloud Storage Applications

There are third-party solutions available to backup your iPhone or iPad data. These online storage applications allow you to sync or backup information from your iPhone or iPad into a cloud storage provided by that app.

Obviously, these third-party cloud storage options are cheaper than Apple’s iCloud service. If you’re not stuck with Apple and open to options, you’ll be delighted to know that they give you the freedom to switch to Android and use the same cloud storage to sync your data onto the new device.

The third-party online storage options, however, are not comprehensive iPhone backup solutions. Typically, these services only backup contacts, photos, videos. They do not provide the option to backup messages, settings, voicemails, application data, and others. Still, these services are excellent supplementary backup options when you run out of free storage on your iCloud backup or on your computer if you’re using iTunes backup option.

The best thing about these cloud storage services is that if you have access to the internet you can easily access your files from anywhere using any machine whether you have your device with you or not. These services allow you to install their apps on your iPhone or iPad and sync the data with the cloud storage. You can also view and share these files with other people.

Popular Cloud Storage Services

Here are some of the popular cloud storage services that you can use to backup iPad or iPhone data if iCloud or iTunes is not your choice.

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