Most of us have dropped our iPhones at some point (and if you haven’t, congratulations!). We’re human; accidents happens. But what’s even worse is when nothing happens at all after you pick your phone up off the floor. The screen won’t turn on; or, no matter how many times you tap, you still get a black screen. Whatever the case, a trip to the Genius Bar is probably in your future. Replacing the hardware is the easy part; but replacing the photos, contacts, and messages you have on the phone takes a little more forethought. 

We know how painful it is to start all over once you lose a phone, which is why we’ve come up with some of the best resources for backing up your iPhone. Sure, you can always go the Apple route, but iTunes and iCloud aren’t the only way to go. There are other backup services available both on your computer and on your phone that can keep your contacts, photos, and videos safe from accidental destruction.

Below, we give you four alternatives to iTunes and iCloud for backing up your iPhones data. (If you’re still not convinced, scroll down if you want to stick with iTunes and iCloud). 

PhoneCopy

PhoneCopy is a free app for both iPhone and iPad (and Android) that creates a backup of your data and stores it in the cloud where it can be accessed via PhoneCopy’s website. After the initial backup, it synchronizes your data for quicker backups going forward. It also saves a history of your previous backups, so if you accidentally delete an important contact or a chain of text messages, you can retrieve through PhoneCopy. 

Using PhoneCopy is straight forward and easy. Download it from the App Store, then create an account right on your phone or at www.phonecopy.com. Once your account is created, click “Synchronize” to backup your data to PhoneCopy’s server. Once it’s done, login to the site to view everything the app saved. From here you can even make changes to your data – just make sure you click “Synchronize” again on the phone app.

SOS Online Backup

Want to backup more than just your iPhone and access all of your files in one place? SOS Online Backup has you covered. The basic iPhone app is free and includes 5GB of backup space to store your contacts and your photos.

However, it can also work with desktop software that backs up your data to a secure site with military-grade encryption. The desktop version has the ability to back up five devices on a single account. This is a paid service at $9.99 a month, but it gives you access to all of your backed up files – from your phone and computer – no matter what device you’re using. If you’re not sure if this is the right service for you, there’s a 14-day free trial. 

To use SOS Online Backup, download the app from the App Store and create a new account. To begin backing up, tap on “Protect” at the bottom of the screen, then tap “Protect All Contacts” to save your contacts. Tap “Protect All Photos” to preserve your photos in SOS’s storage bank. 

Dr. Fone

Backing up to the cloud has definite advantages, but there are some tradeoffs to consider like monthly subscription fees to store and access your data, and possible company security breaches. If you like to keep it local but still keep your data backed up, you’ll want to take a look at Wondershare’s Dr. Fone. This software resides on your computer and works with your iTunes backup to recover notes, messages, contacts, voice memos, and even Safari bookmarks that might have accidentally met their end when your finger grazed the “Delete” button. 

Unfortunately, this kind of granular recovery doesn’t come cheap. Though there is a free trial available, the full version of Dr. Fone will empty your wallet by $100. The software is able to recover 12 different types of files – including photos and videos – from the iPhone 3GS and 4, but only seven types of files from the iPhone 4S and 5. 

To use it, install the software on your PC or Mac from the Dr. Fone site, then connect your phone. From there, the program will guide you through the steps to back up and recover data from your device. You can check out more detailed instructions here.

Lookout

Hate having to remember to back up your contacts? How about that moment of panic when you can’t find your phone? If this sounds familiar, Lookout may be the solution for you. This free app automatically backs up your contacts over the cloud so you’ll never have to remember to connect it to your computer or even press a button. Like PhoneCopy, your contacts are securely stored and easily accessible at Lookout’s website.

Should you lose your phone or forget where you last left it, the app can also help you locate it when you login to your account. From there, the app will ring your phone – even if it was on vibrate when you misplaced it – which is often the problem we have when our phone runs away from us. If your phone gets really lost, the app will even ask whoever finds it to call specific friends who can help.

iTunes and iCloud

Not convinced by the above backup tools? Apple provides an easy way to back up your iPhone through iTunes on your home computer. Just remember to do it regularly and your content will be safe even if your phone’s luck has run out. It’s easy to do, takes only a few minutes, and gives you peace of mind. Simply plug your iPhone into your computer and click “Automatically back up to this computer.” Next click “Backup now” to save all of your data locally.

Apple also offers automatic backups through its iCloud service, but the 5GB of space that you get free likely won’t be enough to back up all of your photos – especially if you’re using a 32GB or 64GB iPhone. If you want to go the iCloud route, there are three packages available that add on to your initial 5GB: 10GB ($20 a year), 20GB ($40 a year), and 50GB ($100 a year).

Safe and secure

Boom. Now your iPhone’s data is safe from unpredictable mayhem and destruction. We can’t say the same for the phone’s hardware, which is always susceptible to slippery fingers. But if you’ve found a bulletproof case, feel free to toss your iPhone around with reckless abandon. Afterall, your data is backed up and safely stored.