How to back up your iPhone

Your iPhone probably contains hundreds of pictures of places you visited, moments you shared with your family, and adorable pet photos you captured. We recommend backing up your iPhone to avoid losing your files if you were to lose your phone or encounter a technical problem that prevents you from accessing its memory.

Here are the different Apple tools you can use to back up your iPhone, and the steps you should follow to back up your data.

How to use iTunes (Mac OS Mojave and earlier)

While Apple is phasing iTunes out, it still works on Macs running Mojave and earlier versions of Mac OS and it works on Windows computers. It can act as a great backup utility for your iPhone’s most important memories. Here’s how to get it to back up your iPhone to your PC or Mac running OS Mojave or earlier.

Step 1: Open iTunes on your computer and connect your iPhone to it. If asked for verification, follow the on-screen steps.

Step 2: Select your chosen device within iTunes. If iTunes doesn’t appear to recognize your device, follow these Apple help steps.

Step 3: Select Summary from the Settings Menu on the left, if not already highlighted. Under the Backups heading, select This Computer from the backup options. If you want the backup to be encrypted, tick the respective box. If you do, make sure to remember your chosen password or store it in a password manager.

Step 4: When ready, click the blue, Back Up Now, button on the right-hand side.

Step 5: When the backup process is complete, check under the heading Latest Backups to confirm whether the backup was successful.

How to use Finder (Mac OS Catalina or newer)

Apple did away with the iTunes software as we know it on OS Catalina. In its place, you’ll now find a new Music app with the iTunes logo, but you won’t be needing it to back up your iPhone.

Step 1: Plug in your iPhone to your Mac running OS Catalina or newer.

Step 2: Your iPhone will prompt you with Trust This Computer and will ask you to enter your passcode.

Step 3: Your Mac will ask the same question. Select Trust and you’ll be presented with a layout fairly similar to the old iPhone layout within iTunes.

Step 4: Select Back Up Now and you’re done.

Step 5: Once your backup is complete things work much the same way as they did with iTunes. You can use Finder to restore your iPhone from a backup as well.

How to use iCloud

Apple’s iCloud is a service that can handle backups manually or automatically and will whisk your files away to a server somewhere far away. That means that not only are you protected if your device dies but if your entire home was destroyed and all of your electronic devices were to fail, photos and anything else you consider important will remain safe.

Keep in mind that the free version is 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 for up to 2TB of space.

Step 1: Tap Settings, and select your name.

Step 2: Tap iCloud. If you haven’t used it before, you may wish to select which applications or files your iCloud backup should focus on.

Step 3: Once you’ve done that, select Backup from the list of options.

Step 4: If you want iCloud to automatically back up your iPhone regularly, toggle the iCloud Backup option under the Backup heading. If you would rather back up manually or just want to trigger another backup right now, tap Back Up Now.

Step 5: When complete, confirm that the backup finished properly by looking at the Last backup time.

For more information on how to use iCloud on your iOS device and other operating systems and platforms, check out our in-depth look at how to use iCloud.

Safe and secure

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.

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