This article acts as a helpful reminder to keep an eye on your Apple device backups. Even with Apple’s high-quality goods, it’s important to back up your data on a regular basis. No system is perfect all of the time, and there are many situations where a backup is necessary, such as updating, injuries, bugs, loss, or theft. Let’s take a look at some built-in and third-party backup options, as well as NAS and other options for backing up your iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
It’s critical to have at least one backup of your important data, but two or more is preferable. In order to be completely secure, you should have at least one off-site backup of your data (via a storage service, a bank security box, a friend’s home, etc.).
We look at a range of backup solutions for your Apple computers and devices, including free built-in options like iCloud and your Mac, as well as more specialized third-party hardware and services, in the sections below.
Table of Contents
The most straightforward method of backing up your Apple device is through the use of iCloud. Should anything happen to your device or you choose to upgrade it, using iCloud is the easiest way to transfer data from one device to another.
You can check your iCloud backup settings by doing the following:
- On your device head to the settings application.
- Tap on your name at the top and then click on iCloud.
- Swipe down and tap the iCloud backup tab.
- You can then toggle backups on if they are not already on.
- You can also see when the last successful backup took place and can even choose to back the device up on the spot should it be necessary.
When you enable iCloud Backup, your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch can backup automatically while charging and linked to Wi-Fi when the screen is locked. It’s also a good idea to go over everything you have backed up to iCloud using the toggles above.
Running out of iCloud Storage is one thing to keep an eye on. Apple gives you 5 GB for free, but that’s not much. Apple charges $0.99 per month for 50GB and $9.99 per month for up to 2TB. It’s also worth seeing if an Apple One package can help you save money. Should you wish to upgrade your storage plan, under settings, you can go to the iCloud tab. Once you have entered the tab, you can select to change your storage plan and should be presented with all the options that you can choose from.
With iCloud iPhone backups, Apple Watch backups are done automatically. When you unpair Apple Watch from your iPhone, it’s also backed up. There is currently no way to physically back up an Apple Watch like there is for an iPhone. More information on Apple Watch backups can be found on the Apple website.
Backing Up iOS Devices with Your Mac
It’s easy to back up your iPhone, iPad, or iPod with your Mac, but you have to remember to connect it. One advantage is that your iOS backups can be saved alongside your Mac backups (Time Machine, etc.).
In order to back your device up to your Mac, you have to do the following:
- Connect the device to your Mac by using a USB cable.
- When prompted by your device, choose to trust the device.
- You should then either open a Finder window or iTunes based on the operating system you have installed.
- You should then look for your device on the left sidebar and click on it.
- You can then click back up now and monitor the progress in the sidebar.
- Before you unplug the device, it is imperative that you click the eject button before doing so.
- You can also change the settings so that the device is always automatically backed up every time it is plugged into the computer.
Another great option for backing up your device is using an external storage device such as a memory disk or external hard drive. Externally backing up a device is a great way to ensure that your data is protected and secure. You can then store this external storage in a safe location in order to prevent your data from being stolen. The most alluring part of backing up your data this way is that it is not stored on the cloud, keeping it safe from any potential threats such as hackers.
Why Should You Back Up Your Apple Device?
You may have often heard people in conversations saying that they do not feel the need to back their devices up. Many people feel as if this is an unnecessary task that they can avoid. Although this seems to be a rather popular narrative, it is most certainly one that you should not subscribe to, especially if the nature of your work requires you to make use of any of your Apple devices consistently.
One of the most significant drawbacks of starting over on a smartphone is that you lose all of your settings, rather than just your data (if you’re storing it in the cloud). Yes, you are free to re-download all of them. You should be able to open doc files from Dropbox or iCloud once you’ve reinstalled a word processing program.
Your photos may be safe in OneDrive or on Apple’s servers, but if you want to edit them, you have to find and redownload your favorite photo editing app. When you’re trying to download a lot of documents back onto your Mac while still trying to download the hundreds of applications you use on a daily basis, your internet is put to the test. This process can prove to be extremely frustrating, especially if you have never done it before.
Another major drawback to having to start from scratch is that you lose all of your previous settings. This can be time-consuming on the iPhone, as it requires reregistering your fingerprint for Touch ID or your face for Face ID. If you configure ring tones on an individual basis, you have to reinstall and set them up, as well as allocate them to your contacts. If you use iCloud Photo Library, you must allow it in order to restore your images to your iPhone.
Starting from scratch on your system, whether it’s a computer or a mobile device, is time-consuming, stressful, and ruins your productivity for a period of time, even though you store all of your app purchases, music, and images in iCloud and all of your spreadsheets, reports, and fan fiction in Dropbox.
Would you rather spend hours uploading files, reinstalling software, and changing your settings, or simply press “yes” when prompted to uninstall from a backup and wait a few minutes for things to return to normal?
iCloud vs. iTunes Backup
One of the major drawbacks of iOS devices used to be that you had to physically link them to a Windows or Mac PC via a USB sync cable in order to back them up using iTunes. Apple launched iCloud with iOS 5, effectively enabling users to cut the cable. However, not all iOS backup methods are created equal, and if you don’t choose wisely, you might lose a lot of data. Here’s what each choice backs up and when to use it to ensure your iPhone or iPad data is completely secured.
iCloud Backup allows you to back up your data to your iCloud account wirelessly and automatically. When your iOS device is connected to iTunes, you can either pick the choice from the settings for your iOS device in iTunes or from the iOS device itself to allow iCloud Backup. Simply go to Settings>iCloud, scroll to the bottom of the page, and choose Storage & Backup. This should show you how much total iCloud storage you have and how much is still usable. A toggle to turn iCloud Backup on or off can be found at the bottom of the page. When you turn it on, it should back up your phone automatically when it is plugged in, secured, and linked to Wi-Fi. You can also do a manual backup at any time.
The most conspicuous omission from the list of data backed up by iCloud is apps. However, this is mostly for the sake of performance. When you recover from an iCloud Backup, all of your purchased games, music, videos, and books would be re-downloaded from the App, iTunes, and iBook stores.
The same cannot be said for music and videos not purchased via iTunes, images not saved in the local camera roll, call history, home screen arrangement, and a slew of other details. You’ll have to use the good old iTunes Backup to make backups of those.
The Bottom Line
You should now have a much better understanding of how you can back your Apple devices up to either iCloud or to iTunes. Backing up your device keeps all your data safe and stored in a safe place so that if you ever need to access it, regardless of whether or not you lose your device or not, you still can.