Tip: manually select what apps can be backed up in iCloud

By , Nov 17, 2015

turn off delete icloud app backup

If you selected to use iCloud for backing up your iOS device during its initial set up, then most apps you install will have their settings automatically backed up in iCloud on a regular basis. This can be pretty handy in case you restore your iPhone or iPad from a backup because you won’t have to set up all your apps preferences again.

But what if you don’t want certain apps to automatically be backed up in iCloud? As it turns out, it’s pretty simple to handpick what apps can or cannot be backed up in iCloud. We show you how.

I can think of several reasons why you wouldn’t want to back up the data of certain apps. Security is one of them. Saving storage space is probably an even more obvious reason. By handpicking what apps can backup to iCloud, you have more control over how much storage space can be used, and if you are on the free 5GB plan, then every MB counts.

How to select apps that can be backed up in iCloud

Step 1: On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, go to Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage.

Step 2: If you own several iOS devices linked to your Apple account, you will be presented with the backups for each of them. Select the backup for the device you are currently using. In my case, this is iPhone 6s, which Apple conveniently labels as “this iPhone.”

Manage iCloud Storage

Step 3: You will now see backup information for your device. Among other details, you will see when the latest backup was made and what its size was. To start handpicking apps, tap on Show All Apps towards the bottom of the screen.

iCloud storage info

Step 4: From there, start toggling off apps you don’t want to backup in iCloud. Once you turn off backups for certain apps, you will be asked to confirm you indeed want to turn off backups and delete the data that is currently in iCloud.

delete app data backup icloud

Note that apps are sorted by storage used, with the ones using the most storage at the top. iOS also notes how much data is backed up for each app, which gives you a good idea of how much space you can save.

Typically, your photo library is among the apps that use the most storage. Turning off backup for your photo library is an easy way to regain tons of iCloud storage space, but if you do so, remember to backup your photos somewhere else, be it on a different online storage service, or maybe locally on your computer.

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  • DevXav

    Sébastien, what is the difference between te apps listed on:

    Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage
    under Documents & Data

    to

    Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage > (This iPhone)

    ??

    Could you enlighten me? TY!

    • “This iPhone” show app “settings” saved in iCloud.

      Documents & Data, like the name suggests is “documents and data” used by apps.

      • Some apps like WhatsApp end up showing at both places and occupy storage as pointed out by @DevXav.

        How is the storage different?

      • I believe that WhatsApp (or other apps) save your settings under your iPhone backup in iCloud, but the data contains in the app (ie. photos) is saved in Documents & Data.

      • I think its incorrect, coz on my iPhone, WhatsApp is consuming ~693 MB in iCloud and ~668 MB in Documents & Data.