Our lives are quickly moving in the mobile direction. Everything that used to be managed on your iMac can now be done on your iPhone. Have you ever thought what would happen if you lost your phone, or worse, broke it beyond repair? Think of what you would lose, all your photos, contacts, apps, and more. That’s why you should always back up your data.
When backing up your data you’re creating another copy of your device. If you somehow lose your device you have nothing to fear because another copy is safely held in a different location.
Previously you would use your desktop or laptop with iTunes (may it rest in peace) to back up your phone. If something would happen to your phone, you can buy a new one, plug it into your computer, open iTunes, and restore from your previous backup. However, if you no longer have a computer you need somewhere else to keep a second copy of your data.
If you’re looking for a second-place to store all of your data, look no further than your iCloud account. iCloud is Apple’s cloud suite that can sync your Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Safari bookmarks, Notes, usernames, and passwords with iCloud Keychain, and track your Apple products with Find My. iCloud is a great place to start when looking to sync and back up your data.
Finding Your Calendars, Notes, Contacts, and Reminders
However, iCloud is not the only place you can save your data. If you have added any other email accounts there’s a chance that some of your information may be saved on those accounts. First, you need to know where your information is saved.
If you open Settings then Accounts and Passwords you can see all of the email accounts that you have set up on your iPhone. Under each account, you can see which services are enabled. If you know which account is syncing your contacts, calendars, etc. then disable the other accounts that have those services enabled. For instance, since I use my iCloud account to sync my contacts and calendars, I am going to disable those services from Yahoo. It would be even better if you configure this when you originally add the account to your phone.
If you know which account is syncing your contacts, calendars, notes, and reminders you can skip to the next part getting some ideas of how to back up your photos. If not keep reading to learn how to find which account is doing the work.
Start by opening the Calendar app then clicking “Calendars” at the bottom. Scroll through the list and see which accounts are active and which calendars are linked to them. In the top left of each section is the name of the account such as iCloud or Gmail. Look at the calendars you have set up under each account. Do you have an account enabled with no calendars or events? If so go to Settings, then go to Accounts and passwords. Select the account of which you want the calendar disabled. Then toggle the calendar off. Now let’s move on to the next!
Open the Notes app then clicking the back button to go to your folders. Scroll through the list and see which accounts are active. In the top left of each section is the name of the account such as iCloud or Yahoo. Do you have an account enabled with no notes saved? If so go back into Accounts and Passwords in Settings. Select the account of which you want Notes disabled. Then toggle the notes off. Now let’s move on to the next!
Open the Contacts app and if you have more than one account enabled you will see Groups in the top left corner. This will open a card where you can scroll through and see which accounts are active. One by one select an account and click done and see which contacts appear. You’re trying to find the accounts that have little to no contacts, or out of date contacts. Go back into Accounts and Passwords in Settings and disable the accounts that your not using for contacts. On to the next!
Open the Reminders app. Accounts can be found in bold over each group of reminder lists. Find the accounts that have no lists and no reminders. Deactivate the unused accounts in Accounts and Passwords of Settings.
The purpose of all of this is knowing where your data is saved. If you find you are using your Gmail, for example, to sync your contacts, then you know where to find them if you lose your phone and how to add them to your new device. It’s also better if you move all your data to one account.
Dealing with pictures is a big task because of how much space they take up which leads you to you having to purchase storage plans from cloud services. Services like these usually give you access to your photos from anywhere by signing in on their website or installing the app. Here are some options for backing up your photos.
Google Photos gives you free unlimited storage and is a great option if you’re a fan of Google products. If you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber then you have Amazon Photos which also give you unlimited storage. There is also Dropbox if you’re into that. Lastly, there is Apple’s iCloud Photo Library.
iCloud Photo Library is a great option for those invested in the Apple ecosystem because it integrates with the Photos app built into iOS and macOS. It will upload all of your photos to the cloud and delete them off your device. You will still see them in your library but with a cloud icon in the corner indicating it’s not saved on your device. However, clicking on the photo will download it again from the cloud. Using iCloud Photo Library will make one seamless photo catalog across all of your Apple Devices.
The last thing you would want to do is create a full backup. Previously this would be done in iTunes, but since fewer people have computers it’s no longer an option for some. Using iCloud Backup you can save a full copy of your device to the cloud, saving all of your apps, their settings, and their data without needing a computer. If you were to lose your iPhone you could then easily restore it from your previous backup rendering your new phone exactly like your old.
Buying iCloud Storage
If you plan on using iCloud Backup or iCloud Photo Library you will quickly run out of the 5GB Apple gives users for free. If you like these options you will have to purchase more cloud space. You can do this by opening Settings and clicking your user profile at the top then selecting iCloud. Here you can see your current iCloud storage usage. Tapping Manage Storage will show you each app using your iCloud storage and how much space they are taking. To purchase more storage tap Change Storage Plan and select a larger plan that better fits your needs.
You may never think about storing two copies of your data until one day when your only copy is gone. That’s why it’s better to prepare beforehand. Know where your contacts, calendars, reminders, and notes are saved. Keep a backup of your photos so your memories are not lost forever. And backup your iPhone so you don’t have to start from scratch.
▶︎Apple Support: How to back up your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch to iCloud
▶︎Apple Support: About backups for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
▶︎CNet: If you get the ‘Not enough iCloud storage’ alert you can still back up your iPhone
▶︎Apple Support: Add an email account to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
▶︎Dummies: How to Set Up E-Mail Accounts on an iPhone
▶︎Digital Trends: How to add your email account to an iPhone
▶︎Business Insider: How to add any email account to your iPhone
▶︎Apple Support: Manage your iCloud storage
▶︎iMore: How to change your email account settings for iPhone and iPad
▶︎iMore: How to manage Mail settings for iPhone and iPad
iCloud Photo Library:
▶︎Apple Support: Set up and use iCloud Photos
▶︎iMore: iCloud Photo Library: The ultimate guide
▶︎MacRumors: iCloud Photos: What You Need to Know
▶︎MacRumors: How to Use iCloud Photo Library in Photos to Sync Pictures Between Devices