How to back up your iPhone or iPad

It’s important to backup all of your data on your iPad and iPhone. If something happens to your iOS device whether you lose it at sea or drop it and it shatters you have important stuff on your mobile devices that you don’t want to lose. So here are the top methods for backing up your data.
It’s important to note before you start syncing your iOS device data that none of these backup options sync ApplePay credit/debit cards, TouchID, or FaceID.


There are really only three ways to back up your iOS device. Using iTunes or iCloud Backup is the only two though that sync the whole state of your iOS device. By the whole state of your iDevice, I’m talking about all apps their location on the Home screen and most of the app’s data.


(Mac or Windows with iTunes installed is required)

Backing up to iTunes is the best way to backup up your iOS device. Compared to backing up to the cloud you have “unlimited” storage. You can also archive the backup to save the state which is smart to do before you update. If you want to sync private data like health data you will have to enable “Encryption BackUp”.

It’s important to note that backing up your iOS device and syncing to iTunes are two separate features. Syncing checks to make sure the same content is in the same place. For instance, if you add a song to a playlist on your iPhone when you sync it to iTunes that song will appear in that playlist too. Back up on the other hand saves a copy of your whole phone.
So inclusion is the best option. Backing up to iTunes does not require the monthly subscription of online storage and it offers more features. On the other hand, though you have to remember to regularly plug your iDevice into iTunes in order for the back up to be completed.

iCloud Backup

iCloud Logo
iCloud Logo

An iCloud backup will back up your whole phone to Apple’s data servers. This does not include anything that is already syncing to the cloud-like contacts and calendars or content purchased from either the App or iTunes Store. If you want to back up to iCloud I would recommend that you purchased more storage. Apple gives each iCloud user 5GB for free. If you need more you must pay for a monthly subscription which if you’re on a low budget can be costly. If you do have it enabled and run out of storage you will continuously receive notifications from settings telling you that you’re out of iCloud storage, you need to purchase more, and how long ago your last backup was. If your willing to pay the price this is the option that requires less work. Unlike iTunes Backup you don’t have to plug your iOS device into your PC instead it backs up in the background based on a schedule.

Sync to iCloud

With many applications like Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and notes you can sync your data to iCloud or another service like Google or Microsoft.
When going to iCloud settings by going to:

  • iOS 10.3 and Later: Settings>AppleID profile>iCloud
  • iOS 10.2 and older: Settings>iCloud

There is a full list of preinstalled productivity apps like Calendar and contacts. Next to each app is a switch. This switch either turns to sync on or off for that app.

Other Services

Add Account on iOS

If syncing to iCloud isn’t for you that ok you can still use any of your other favorite online services like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, or AOL account. To do this go to:

  • iOS 11 and Later: Settings>Accounts and Passwords>Add Account
  • iOS 10.3 and older: Settings>Mail/Contacts/Calendar/Notes>Add Account

Now click on your service of choice and sign in. If your provider is not listed tap on “Other”. Once there just like iCloud, you will have switched to toggle on and off depending on which features you want to use. If your account is already signed in then select it from the list and manage the toggles.

Now that you have signed in and customized the toggles you must make sure that your account is set to be the default. To do this go to each app’s respective menu weather being Calendar, Contacts, Mail, or Notes and find “Default Accounts” here you can choose the default account for each of the apps.


When you back up your whole phone it can be hard to access the photos and videos saved because they are locked away somewhere in the backup file. A better way to access them is to periodically import your favorite photo manager software or upload them to a cloud-based service.
Plugging your phone into your Mac or PC and importing your pictures may be the best bet. As it does use your local drive storage it also does not have a monthly cost. Whether you use Photos or Image Capture on your Mac or Photos on your Windows PC. As precious photographs are its recommended that you backup your whole computer to an external drive so your files are saved in more than one place in case of a drive or computer failure.

iCloud Photo Library

The iCloud Photo Library can be a very costly option since it does use your free 5GB and most likely a lot more. There are also many benefits to it to like all of your photographs will be synced across all of your iCloud devices. It can save space locally on your computer or phone because when you snap a picture the full quality picture is saved to Apple’s servers and a lower quality picture with a smaller file size will be saved locally on your phone. Your data will be backed up across a wide range of servers around the world so you can theoretically never lose your pictures, as long as you don’t forget your iCloud password.

Google Photos and Other Online Storage Options

There are other online storage options like Google Photos that don’t offer as many benefits as iCloud Photo Library does. Unlike iCloud Photo Library these 3rd-parties don’t work using the local Photo app on your iOS device instead you have to download their app from the App Store. Once downloaded open it and find the location of the photo backup option which can usually be found on the left menu bar. Now all of your pictures saved to your photo camera will be uploaded to your cloud service of choice and are available anywhere on almost most any device.

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