How to Back Up an iPhone the Easy Way

Want to learn how to back up an iPhone but don’t want to be blinded by technology and bored to death? I have you covered. I’ve been there myself, just looking to do something simple only to find some tech geek explaining 20 different ways to do the same thing!

This guide will keep things simple – because they are! This covers how to back up any iPhone or Apple device in easy to follow steps.

Let’s get started …

Whether you’re storing your data within your iPhone device itself or through cloud-based services, it is important to regularly conduct a hard back-up of your iPhone either to your computer or another storage device.

This not only preserves your precious photographs, messages and other app-based data, but it frees up space for a more efficient handset.

What’s more, if you suddenly lose or damage your iPhone, it’s good to know that you can retrieve your data with ease. The iPhone is adept at storing and backing up your data safely; this guide outlines how to backup an iPhone easily.

We also have a guide – How to Restore an iPhone from a backup – use it along with this guide.

how to backup an iPhone

What is an iPhone Back-Up?

A back-up allows you to retain all aspects of your iPhone, including messages, photographs, apps, health data, passwords and so on. If you lose your phone, damage your phone or have bought a new model, back-ups allow you to retain and restore your previous phone’s settings with ease, avoiding any laborious manual processes.

Learning how to easily backup and restore your iPhone or Apple device is also a great security measure. If you read this website you will know I cover quite a bit about mobile security in relation to getting hacked and being a victim of spy software apps.

Read – Is There Spyware on My Cell Phone – for a guide. Think you might have been hacked by any method? – read How to Tell if an iPhone is Hacked – another in depth guide to help.

I also have articles about How to Remove Spyware from iPhoneHow to get rid of a hacker and How to Factory Reset an iPhone – all good guides to help keep you safe online.

You can back-up your device in a number of easy ways, including automatic back-up via iCloud or whenever you sync your phone with iTunes. The process is relatively straight forward and it ensures that your data remains protected outside of your phone’s hardware.

Whereas cloud software allows you to back-up at any time over a stable Wi-Fi connection, a hard back-up via iTunes requires the physical use of a computer.

It’s worth noting that iCloud offers a smooth automatic back-up process which allows for ease of mind. However, to make the most of the cloud, you’ll need to purchase additional storage space.

A back-up via iTunes is more demanding of the user because you have to physically connect your device and click on iTunes options, but it allows you to possess your data, which some find a lot more convenient and safe.

When it comes to restoring your data to a new device, iTunes will be fundamentally quicker. Here we look at how to back-up with each method.

Back-up your iPhone with iCloud

You can enable an automatic iCloud back-up in your iOS device’s Settings option. It is most likely already enabled as a default service when you first set up your phone, but you can check this quite simply by clicking on iCloud Backup under Settings and switching it to either On or Off.

You can force an immediate back-up by clicking Back Up Now. Otherwise, your iPhone will be backed up whenever it is plugged into power, not in use and connected to a Wi-Fi network. This is often when you leave your phone charging overnight.

Your first back-up to iCloud can take quite some time to complete. If you have a well-used phone and have never used a cloud network before, you can expect the process to take up to two days and possibly even more.

All future back-ups, however, will be much quicker, as only new or edited data is uploaded to the cloud.

Although your iCloud back-up will cover most app data, messages, photographs and iOS settings, it does not cover your browser’s bookmarks, your contacts, calendar or mail (as most of these are automatically synced).

Keep an eye on the iCloud settings to ensure you have enough space. Often, your iPhone will trigger a message of incompletion because of exceeded data. Apple only offers up to 5GB of free storage, which covers you for very little actual data.

To purchase more space, click Manage Storage in the iCloud Settings. You can choose between 50GB to 2TB of online space for a small monthly fee.

You can share data across multiple devices if you link your account, making larger monthly packages more efficient for families.

Backup Your iPhone Manually With iTunes

iTunes is a convenient way of storing your data on your computer. When you first connect your iPhone to iTunes, you will have the choice of transferring data via your Wi-Fi network or by a Lightning Cable. Although wireless updating avoids clutter, you should probably opt to use a cable for a quicker back-up.

Just like the iCloud back-up option, backing up your files on iTunes will take a lengthy amount of time on your first transfer, but will be considerably shorter on every consecutive back-up.

Before you get started, make sure you have enough space on your device to accommodate all of your files.

backup iphones

Backing up with iTunes provides the most ideal way of transferring your data to a new device (like a new iPhone model). After opening iTunes, simply plug your phone into your computer and click the iPhone logo in the top left-hand corner of iTunes.

Under your phone’s summary page, click Back Up Now. There, you can choose which hard drive you want your data to be backed up on. It is worth noting that iTunes backs up everything except for some of your images and videos.

Your Camera Roll will be backed up, but albums that have been manually synced previously through iTunes need to be synced again manually.

For added security, manual back-up allows you to encrypt your data with the provision of a password. Encryption can be enabled or disabled under the Summary tab.

Enabling encryption is the best option because it preserves all of your saved passwords and Wi-Fi information – a handy option for when you don’t want to re-type all of your known passwords on a new phone.

The benefits of a hard back-up include the choice of saving your data to a physical location, either on your computer’s hard drive, an external hard drive or network attached storage device.

Which Option Should You Choose?

This is entirely your choice and any one of these back-up methods is better than none. A hard back-up offers the benefit of no monthly costs and a physical copy of your data which can be stored on your computer or external hard-drive.

On the other hand, iCloud offers an automatic and hassle-free recurring back-up for peace of mind. To be extra careful, it’s good practice to enable scheduled iCloud back-ups with periodic hard back-ups to iTunes.

An iCloud back-up takes place invisibly when you sleep, offering a convenient means of protecting your data. Aside from the monthly costs (which very reasonably start at £1 a month), an iCloud back-up is the most convenient way of preserving your data without taking up any of your actual time. But it isn’t always the best method.

A hard back-up via iTunes is the best way of backing up your iPhone when you are looking to transfer data to a new iPhone. This is because it is thorough, quick and allows you to get your new phone going more efficiently. This is because iCloud back-ups only restore and preserve data as fast as an internet connection will allow.

Using iTunes is therefore ideal for transferring a significant amount of data — your music, photos, messages and apps — at one time.

For regular, automatic data back-up, iCloud is the way forward for peace of mind. For more periodic, large transfers of data, particularly when you purchase a new device, iTunes is best.

By combining the two, you can rest assured that whatever happens to your iPhone, your data is safe.

Android user? We have that covered – check out our guides below:

How to Backup an Android Phone

How to Restore an Android from a Backup

How to Factory Reset Android Phone

Thanks for reading.

Author - Susan Kennedy

Hi there - I'm Susan Kennedy, a regular mom who has used spy apps for years now. I was fed up with spammy reviews and poor information so I started this website. I also teach you how to improve your online security and stop unwanted spy apps. Reliable information from a real person!

Susan Kennedy author