How Do I Back Up My iPhone?

Backing up your iPhone ensures that your personal data and settings are safe and sound. Should something catastrophic happen to your device or if you need to reset your iPhone, you won’t have to start from scratch and reinstall all your apps or reenter all your passwords. If you haven’t been backing up your iPhone regularly, now is the perfect time to start. Wondering how to backup your iPhone? There are two main ways that you can save that information and have it ready to go in case your device is ever lost, replaced, or damaged.

Backing Up to the Cloud

You have the option to save all the data and settings on your iPhone to the cloud. Some people may find this more convenient because your phone will automatically save its information to the cloud with a Wi-Fi network.

Here are the steps you should take to back up your iPhone to the cloud:

  • Go to the Settings app. Then click on your name.
  • Click iCloud and then iCloud Backup.
  • Turn on iCloud Backup – this will automatically back up your iPhone daily, so long as your device is connected to power, locked, and connected to a Wi-Fi network.
  • If you’d like to save your current settings as they are in that exact moment, you can tap the Back Up Now option to perform a manual backup. This is recommended if you’re about to get a new device and want to have the most recent data and settings available.

If you’d like to access your saved iCloud backups, go into the Settings app, and click on your name. Then, click iCloud to open those options, and select Manage Storage and then Backups. This will allow you to see all the iterations of your phone’s data that have been saved. If you’d like to delete one, choose a backup from the list and tap Delete Backup.

Backing Up to a Computer

Before cloud computing was introduced, all iPhones needed to be backed up to a hard drive or a computer. While it’s certainly more convenient to use iCloud to back up your device, you can also back up your iPhone to a computer that uses iOS or Windows.

If you’ve always backed up to the cloud or need a refresher on how to do a local backup, here’s how it’s done on a Mac:

  • Connect your iPhone to your computer using an appropriate USB cable.
  • In macOS 10.15 or later, locate your Mac’s Finder sidebar and select your iPhone. If you are using an earlier version of macOS, you’ll need to open iTunes to back up your iPhone.
  • At the top of the Finder window, click General.
  • Select “Back up all of the data on your iPhone to this Mac.”
  • If you’d prefer to encrypt your backup data and keep it behind a password, select “Encrypt local backup.”
  • Click “Back up now.”

If you’re looking to back up your iPhone using a Windows PC, the steps are incredibly similar:

  • Connect your iPhone to your computer using a USB cord.
  • Open the iTunes app on your PC and select the iPhone button near the top left of the app window.
  • Click Summary and then select Back Up Now.
  • To encrypt your backups, choose “Encrypt local backup,” type a password, then select Set Password.

If you’re wondering how long an iPhone backup takes, it depends on the number of files that need to be backed up, the strength of the internet connection, and the condition of the device. If you’ve never backed up your iPhone before, it might take up to two hours, especially if you have a lot of apps and photos. If you regularly back up your phone, it should take around 30 minutes or less each time.

Restoring your iPhone from a Backup

If something has happened to your phone that renders it unusable and you need to set up a new iPhone, restoring all your data and settings from a backup is relatively easy, whether you’re porting that data from iCloud or from a computer.

These are the steps to restore iPhone data from an iCloud backup:

  • Turn on the new or newly erased iPhone.
  • Follow the instructions to choose a language and region.
  • Select “Set Up Manually.”
  • Choose “Restore from iCloud Backup” and then follow the onscreen instructions.
  • You will need your Apple ID and password to complete this process.

If you’re restoring iPhone data from a computer backup, you should follow these steps:

  • Connect your new or erased iPhone to the computer containing your desired backup with a USB cable.
  • If you’re using a Mac with macOS 10.15 or later, use the Finder sidebar to select your iPhone, then click Trust.
  • If you’re using a PC or a Mac with an older version of macOS, you’ll need to use iTunes. Select your device’s icon in the iTunes window and then choose your new or newly erased device from the list.
  • On the welcome screen, choose “Restore from this backup,” select your backup from the list and then click continue.
  • If the backup you’ve selected is encrypted, you’ll need to enter your password before restoring your files and settings.

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