Wondering how to backup an iPhone without iTunes? Try these six alternatives

how to backup an iPhone without iTunes
2nix/123RF
Everyone drops their iPhone at some point. Accidents happen — we’re only human. But what do you do when you pick it up and it won’t turn on? No amount of frenzied tapping elicits a response. It doesn’t take a genius to tell you that a trip to the Genius Bar is probably in your future. Replacing a broken iPhone screen may prove to be the easy part. Replacing the photos, contacts, and messages you have on your phone takes a little more forethought.

We know how painful it is to start over when you lose a phone, which is why we’ve come up with some of the best resources for backing up your iPhone. You can always go the Apple route, sure, but iTunes and iCloud aren’t the only way to go. Plus, you’ll pay more for iCloud’s storage services than you might for a third-party app. iCloud currently offers 5GB of free storage, but 50GB will cost you $1 per month and 200GB is an extra $3 per month. Things only become more expensive from there — 2TB, anyone? Thankfully, there are other backup services available for your computer and smartphone that can keep your contacts, photos, and videos safe should your device give up unexpectedly.

If you’re wondering how to backup an iPhone without iTunes, we have six alternatives that will get the job done. We’ve also included iCloud in the roundup because, well, it does the job pretty well.

Recently purchase Apple’s iconic smartwatch? Here’s how to back up your Apple Watch, if you’re in need of a tutorial.

SynciOS

This is a free iTunes alternative that enables you to transfer and back up music, videos, photos, ebooks, apps, contacts, messages, and more. Connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod to your Windows PC or Mac, and you can start managing the content immediately, though you’ll still need iTunes installed. The software also includes a few handy tools for creating ringtones, managing playlists, and converting audio and video files. Among the top reasons to use SynciOS is the fact that it offers the ability to download and convert videos from YouTube, Facebook, and a host of other sources. It’s easy to use and it’s free. If you don’t want to be pestered about registering, the Ultimate version costs $35.

Download now for:

Windows MacOS

PhoneCopy

PhoneCopy

PhoneCopy is a freemium app for iOS, Android, and a number of other platforms. It’s designed to create a backup of your data and store it in the cloud, where it’s then accessible via the developer’s website. It backs up contacts, SMS, calendar events, tasks, and notes. 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 them directly through PhoneCopy.

Start by creating an account from your smartphone or online. Afterwards, simply tap the blue Synchronize button to back up your data to PhoneCopy’s server. Once it’s done, log into the site to view everything the app saved, or make changes to your data. Just make sure you tap Synchronize to save the changes. The basic, free version is limited. You’ll have to pay $25 per year to get the premium version.

Combine this app with a free photo and video backup app such as Shoebox or Google Photos, and you’ll be well covered.

Download now for:

iOS

CopyTrans 4Pack

CopyTrans

For starters, Copytrans doesn’t use the cloud like some of the other choices in our roundup. The basic software represents a viable solution for anyone who just wants to backup their iPhone data and access it without an internet connection. You can click and drag contacts, calendars, apps, notes, and other data to a folder on your desktop. Aside from the attractive granular controls, the software does a good job organizing data via a contact book and a music library. The simple application comes at a price, albeit one likely cheaper than other software designed for locally storing your data. Opting for the 4-Pack ($30) will allow you to manage photos, calendars, apps, music, notes, contacts, and more from your desktop.

To use the software, download the suite from the developer’s site and connect your iPhone as you would normally. Afterwards, select the type of data you wish to back up within the CopyTrans Control Center and your device from the resulting drop-down menu before clicking the backup button.

Download now for:

Windows MacOS

Dr. Fone — $70 (Windows), $80 (MacOS)

Backing up to the cloud has definite advantages, but there are some trade-offs to consider in the form of monthly subscription fees and possible security breaches. Dr. Fone is another option for keeping it local, one that works directly 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. Sadly, this kind of granular recovery doesn’t come cheap. Though there is a free trial, the full version of Dr. Fone costs a whopping $70 for Windows, and $80 for Mac users. The software is able to recover more than 15 types of files, though, including photos, apps, and videos from older devices such as the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4. Apple’s iCloud may be able to recover more lost media content from your iPhone, but unfortunately, you’ll need Dr. Fone to recover photos and videos directly from apps.

To use it, download the software on your PC or Mac from the Dr. Fone site and connect your iPhone as you would normally. Then, allow the program to guide you through the necessary steps to back up and recover your data from your device.

Download now for:

Windows MacOS

Lookout

Lookout Apple

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 saves your contacts in the cloud. Like PhoneCopy, your contacts are securely stored and easily accessible on the developer’s website.

Should you lose your phone or forget where you last left it, the app can also help you locate it when you log in to your account. From there, the app will ring your phone — even if it was placed 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 even features a kill switch designed to wipe all of your precious information should your phone fall into the wrong hands, along with a convenient feature that will ask whoever finds your phone to call specific friends who may be able to help. Of course, iCloud can do all of that as well, but Lookout also provides basic security measures to protect against malware and spyware. Moreover, the premium version of the software ($3 a month or $30 per year) allows you to automatically back up photos and manage up to three devices from a single account.

Download now for:

iOS

iCloud

Not convinced by the above backup tools? Apple provides the easiest 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. Apple additionally offers automatic backups through its iCloud service, allowing you to back up the most important data from your iPhone in the cloud. Keep in mind it’s currently restricted to a mere 5GB of data — meaning you likely won’t be able to back up all your photos and videos — but you can always opt for one of three premium storage options if you prefer more space.

To use iTunes or iCloud, simply connect your iPhone to your machine as you would normally. Afterward, check the bubble directly beside the iCloud or This computer option to choose your preferred backup method from the list of available options in the Summary pane. Then, if desired, simply click the Back Up Now button to manually back up your device.

Check out our in-depth look at how to use iCloud for more information.

Access now via:

iCloud

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. After all, your data is backed up and safely stored.

Update: Revised for relevancy and pricing.

Photography

Here are the best Amazon Prime Day photography deals (updated)

Amazon's biggest shopping day of the year is here, and if photography is your hobby, there are a few deals for you. From action cameras to accessories and photo-editing software, here are some of our favorite Prime Deals in 2018.
Mobile

Want to know how to record calls on an iPhone? Check out our handy guide

Are you wondering how to record calls on your iPhone? It isn't as easy as you might think. Here, we walk you through the process of doing so with Google Voice and identify several alternative apps and external voice recorders that can help.
Mobile

The world can be your oyster with a little help from the best travel apps around

Traveling doesn't need to be a time-consuming nuisance. Our handpicked selection of the best travel apps will keep things simple, whether you need cost comparisons for hotels or directions to renowned eateries.
Computing

Here are 5 free alternatives to Photoshop for all your photo-editing needs

Photoshop is a capable program, but it's also expensive. Lucky for you, there are plenty of great alternatives out there that allow for a range of versatility, without requiring you to break into your bank account.
Computing

The best Windows apps

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks!
Deals

Check out our list of the best iPhone deals for July 2018

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPhone deals available for July 2018.
Mobile

These are the best video chat apps to help you stay in touch

Though still relatively new, video chat apps can help you connect with people from around the world. Here are our personal favorites to help you keep in touch regardless of smartphone OS.
Mobile

Juice up your iPhone or Android phone with the best wireless chargers

We checked out the best wireless phone chargers to make tangles and uncooperative ports a thing of the past. Whether you have an iPhone or Android, find out which wireless charging pads are worth buying, and how their features compare.
Mobile

Best iOS app deals of the day! 6 paid iPhone apps are free for a limited time

Everyone likes apps, but sometimes the best ones are a bit expensive. Developers put paid apps on sale for a limited time, but you have to snatch them up fast. Here are the latest and greatest iOS app deals offered in the iOS App Store.
Emerging Tech

Bright idea: Keep your gadgets juiced up with these stellar solar chargers

Looking for a gizmo that can help you charge your phone while on the go? Here, we've outlined the best solar chargers on the market, whether you're looking to charge your phone once, twice, or three times over.
Mobile

Avoid scratches and dents with the 20 best iPhone 8 Plus cases

So you've got a new iPhone? Congrats! But with an all-new glass design, and looks to die for, you'd best keep it safe. Not sure about the best case choice? Check out our guide to the best iPhone 8 Plus cases.
Mobile

T-Mobile expands Simple Global plan, offers $5 international day pass for LTE

T-Mobile offers a number of plans for both you and your family, but how do you know which one is best for you and your situation? Here, we break down the specifics of each plan to help you decide.
Product Review

The Moto Z3 Play packs a lot of juice with its included battery mod

Motorola’s latest phone is the mid-range Moto Z3 Play. It costs $500, so why wouldn’t you just get the OnePlus 6? The answer isn’t so simple. There’s a lot to like here, and the phone comes with a battery mod that extends its life…
Home Theater

Here’s how to mirror your smartphone or tablet onto your TV

A vast arsenal of devices exists to allow casting of anything on your mobile device to your TV. If you're wondering how to mirror content from your smartphone or tablet to a bigger screen, we've got an in-depth guide.
Deals

Walmart slashes Google Home prices for Prime Day

Prime Day is a great time to find great deals on Echo devices, but if you use Google for all of your smart home needs, Walmart is offering steep discounts on Google Home, Google Home Mini, and Google Home Max to stay competitive.
Mobile

Boost your Samsung smartphone stamina with the best Galaxy S8 battery cases

It's frustrating when your smartphone runs out of power, and batteries perform worse the older they get. Maybe you should check out some of the best Samsung Galaxy S8 battery cases and secure yourself some stamina.
Mobile

Here’s how to unlock your phone automatically with Android Smart Lock

Tired of unlocking your smartphone with a PIN or passcode? Android Smart Lock unlocks it automatically using your location, face, and more. Here's how to set it up, and everything you need to know about it.
Mobile

FCC begins accepting petitions to deny the T-Mobile and Sprint merger

T-Mobile and Sprint are hoping the third time is the charm for a merger. It comes just months after the carriers cited an inability to find common ground, extending yet again the long dance between the two telecom giants.
Mobile

Huawei may use a perforated LCD display to create a bezel-less Huawei Mate 20

Huawei has apparently put in an order for massive, 6.9-inch OLED screens, which will be used on a new smartphone coming later this year. Potentially its 2018 Mate series phone, it will challenge other big-screen devices we're expecting.
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best wireless earbuds around.
Mobile

Some Samsung phones aren’t alerting users of app background processes

Worried that Facebook is spying on you? Some Samsung phones aren't correctly showing some apps on the App Permission Monitor, so users won't be alerted if an app tries to access certain permissions.
Web

Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Facebook team up on new data transfer project

Some of the largest tech companies in the world have teamed up to make data portability a little easier. The initiative is called the Data Transfer Project, and the likes of Google, Twitter, Microsoft, and Facebook are all on board.