The Simple Tools to Back up Information on Your iPhone

iPhone in front of cloud with data

We spend money each month to insure our cars, our health, and often even our mobile phones. Your protection plan may cover you if you drop and break your device, or lose it at the lake, but what about the important information you have on your smartphone? Having a recent backup can make the difference between keeping the valuable data you have on your iPhone or starting from scratch.

Why Is a Backup Necessary?

There is a lot of data created by and stored on your phone, whether that’s an iPhone or an Android device, on a regular basis. The photo you just snapped, the song you just downloaded, the file you just opened from your email, these are all stored locally on your phone. But perhaps more important are the apps and the settings on your phone. You have your phone setup just the way you like. If you had to start all over again, it could be difficult to get everything in place again.

A backup takes all these important files and settings on your phone and stores them in the cloud. You can easily restore your phone from your backup after a disaster, for example due to spyware, or when you upgrade to the newest phone. The iPhone makes the backup and restore process simple. In just a few steps, you will never endure the loss of an important file or have the frustration of having a new phone act so different from your old phone.

Do mind your privacy when you are creating a backup. It is nice to be able to store all of our information somewhere. However, you are placing a lot of personal information in the hands of a company. It would be wise to find out what Apple does with your information before creating the backup.

iCloud Backup for iPhone

icloud logoThe simplest method for an iPhone backup is to make use of Apple’s iCloud feature. Every iPhone running iOS 5 or higher includes iCloud as an option for backups. You can store up to 5GB for free with your iCloud account. If you have more data to store, you can purchase more space for a nominal fee each month.

To backup with iCloud, you will first want to make sure you are connected to a Wi-Fi network. Launch ‘Settings’ from your iPhone’s home screen. Tap on ‘iCloud’ and then tap on ‘Backup’. If you don’t already have iCloud backup turned on, simply tap the ‘Off’ label to turn it on now. Tap on ‘Back Up Now’ to start your backup.

iTunes Backup for iPhone

Itunes logoYou can use iTunes to backup your iPhone to your computer. One advantage of using this method is that your storage is only limited by the amount of space you have on your computer. There is no charge for backups regardless of how much data you need to store on your computer. One drawback is that you are using up storage space on your computer. Another significant drawback is that if the hard drive of your computer fails, you risk losing all the data you stored from your phone. In the event of a natural disaster, such as a flood, it would not be uncommon to lose both your phone and computer, thus losing all your data.

To back up through iTunes, you must have iTunes installed on your computer, whether for Mac or PC. Open iTunes and connect your phone to your computer using the appropriate cable to connect to your device. In iTunes, click ‘File’, then ‘Devices’, then ‘Back Up Now’ to manually backup your iPhone. You can also select the option to ‘Encrypt iPhone backup’ for greater security of your information.

Other Backup Options Available

While the backup options provided by Apple are generally the easiest to use, there are options from third-party app makers as well. One option is to take the backup you created through iTunes and store it on a cloud storage service such as Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive. If you are already using one of these services to backup other important files from your computer, this can be a simple and effective way of managing your iPhone backup. Typically, these services may provide a larger amount of data storage than is available through iCloud as well.

You may also choose to use a third-part app that is developed specifically for iPhone backups. These apps may provide features such as backup of contacts, recovery of deleted data, and the ability to browse backup data. Popular examples of these apps include iMazing, Phone Rescue, iBackup Viewer, and many others. Unfortunately, most of them come with a hefty price tag to get full functionality. The added convenience and features of these may make them attractive, though.

It is all but certain that at some point you will need to be able to restore a backup of your phone. It’s far better to have taken the time now to setup and create your backup program, than to wish you had afterwards. Explore your options and take a few minutes to secure your important information on your iPhone today. Don’t forget to protect and backup the data on your Mac and your iPad, either!

Tech journalist
Tove has been working for VPNoverview since 2017 as a journalist covering cybersecurity and privacy developments. Since 2019 she is's cybersecurity news coordinator.