Every time you set up a new iOS device, you should create a backup of it so that when things go wrong, you can easily restore your device’s settings and contents to a point in time when everything worked right.
In this piece, we’ll explain in detail the backup process for both of the aforementioned methods.
Why to create a backup
Whenever you set up a device, creating a backup saves a state of your iOS device. This state includes system settings, app data, and more.
At any time, when your device starts to act up and things begin not to work right, you can use iTunes to restore your device to factory settings. You’ll then be prompted to restore from a backup, which will restore your settings and app data to your freshly-restored iOS device.
So what is the benefit of this? You won’t ever lose your important settings, information, game progress, and other valuable data you don’t want to let go of when you have to restore your device.
Like we said earlier, there are two ways to back up your device – through iCloud or through iTunes. We’ll outline both below.
Backing up your device with iCloud
The easiest way to create a backup of your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad is directly through iCloud on the device itself. You can access iCloud Backup by navigating to Settings > iCloud > Backup and turning the feature on if it’s not already turned on.
Once you’re there, you can tap on the blue Back Up Now button, which will back up your iOS device as long as you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network.
As you can see under the button, iCloud reports when the last time your device was backed up was. Your iOS device will try to back up automatically to iCloud any time it’s connected to a power source and is connected to Wi-Fi while the screen is locked. Of course, it’ll only happen if you have iCloud Backup enabled.
That’s all there is to making an iCloud backup that you can restore to when the time comes, but some people prefer the tried and true method of using iTunes to make a backup. We’ll show you how to do that next.
Backing up your device with iTunes
If you’re going to be using iTunes instead of iCloud to back up your device, that’s not a problem. Typically, iCloud backups are easier to use, but iTunes backups can be a little more convenient if internet access is limited.
To create an iTunes backup of your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, follow these steps:
1) Launch the iTunes app on your Mac or PC, then plug in your iOS device with an Apple USB to Lightning/30-pin connector cable.
2) Click on your device in iTunes to display information about it.
3) Make sure the Automatically Back Up section is set to This Computer instead of iCloud, and then click on the Back Up Now button just to the right of it.
4) iTunes will begin to back up your device, as you’ll see in the progress bar at the top of the iTunes app.
Optionally, you can also choose the Encrypt iPhone Backup option, which will help to keep your personal data in the backup safe from extraction.
That’s all there is to completing an iTunes backup of your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad!
Now if you want to verify that your backup was a success, you can go to the Menu Bar and choose iTunes > Preferences.
After you do, you’ll get the iTunes preferences pane. Click on the Devices tab and confirm that the backup you just made is there:
If it is, then you’re good to go and can use it at any time when you restore your device. You can also delete the backup at any time by clicking on the Delete Backup button with the backup selected.
Which option should you use?
For smaller backups, I find that using iCloud can be a good way to go, since you only get 5GB of iCloud space for free before you have to start paying to upgrade your iCloud storage amount.
For larger backups, such as those from devices that are full to the brim with apps and data, you might want to use iTunes instead. iTunes is also a good option if you think iCloud is going to be down when you want to restore your device, because when iCloud is unreachable, so is your backup. Having a local backup can help prevent this from being an issue.
That’s all you need to know about how to back up your device. With both options available to you, you can choose between convenience or mobility. I personally like to keep a backup on both my computer and in iCloud, just in case iCloud is unreachable because of some strange circumstance.
Do you keep your device backed up for emergencies? Share in the comments!