How to Backup an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch

Introduction

Just about everyone brings their smartphone or tablet with them wherever they go. Unfortunately, this means that those devices are almost always in danger of getting lost, damaged, or stolen. Making sure those devices are backed up means that you're protected no matter what happens. For iOS devices, iCloud and iTunes are the only truly complete backup options, backing up not only your photos and videos, but also your contact list, text messages, data from apps, and all of your settings. This guide will go over how to make sure your iOS devices are being properly backed up.
Before You Begin:
  • You may need access to a computer if you decide to backup via iTunes instead of iCloud.
  • Your iOS device must be connected to WiFi in order to backup to iCloud.
Connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to WiFi
Apple logo

1 Back Up To iCloud and iTunes

There are two ways to backup your iOS device: iCloud, and to your computer via iTunes.

Backup to iCloud

iCloud has been the default way to backup your iOS devices since iOS 5. The first 5GB of files you backup using iCloud are free. Once this has been filled up, you'll have to pay a monthly fee. Photos and videos can fill up your free 5GB fast. If you take a lot of pictures, you may need to consider upgrading your iCloud storage, or backup using iTunes instead. 

While iCloud is the default backup method, it will need to be turned on.

  1. Tap Settings.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select your Apple ID.
    iOS settings with Apple ID selected
  3. Select iCloud.
    iOS apple ID page with iCloud selected
  4. Make sure iCloud Backup is turned on.
    iOS icloud menu with iCloud backup highlighted
  5. Tap Back Up Now.
    iOS icloud menu with back up now highlighted

From now on, whenever your iOS device is connected to WiFi and not in use (locked), it will automatically back itself up to iCloud.

Backup to a Computer using iTunes

To backup using iTunes, you will need to connect your device to your computer. You'll be using the USB cable that it came with to do this. While this method is free, it is not automatic and will take some time to download all of the data on your device over to your computer.

  1. Open iTunes on your computer.
    iTunes.
  2. Connect your device to your computer using the USB cable that it came with.
    iPhone plugged into laptop via cable.
  3. Select your device from the list on the left, then choose Summary.
    Choosing your device and then summary
  4. Finally, click the blue Back Up Now button on the right.
    Backup button

We're here to help!

Connect to a Tech Pro

Call or chat with a Tech Pro 24/7.

Just about everyone brings their smartphone or tablet with them wherever they go. Unfortunately, this means that those devices are almost always in danger of getting lost, damaged, or stolen. Making sure those devices are backed up means that you're protected no matter what happens. For iOS devices, iCloud and iTunes are the only truly complete backup options, backing up not only your photos and videos, but also your contact list, text messages, data from apps, and all of your settings. This guide will go over how to make sure your iOS devices are being properly backed up.
Before You Begin:
  • You may need access to a computer if you decide to backup via iTunes instead of iCloud.
  • Your iOS device must be connected to WiFi in order to backup to iCloud.
Connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to WiFi
Apple logo

There are two ways to backup your iOS device: iCloud, and to your computer via iTunes.

Backup to iCloud

iCloud has been the default way to backup your iOS devices since iOS 5. The first 5GB of files you backup using iCloud are free. Once this has been filled up, you'll have to pay a monthly fee. Photos and videos can fill up your free 5GB fast. If you take a lot of pictures, you may need to consider upgrading your iCloud storage, or backup using iTunes instead. 

While iCloud is the default backup method, it will need to be turned on.

  1. Tap Settings.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select your Apple ID.
    iOS settings with Apple ID selected
  3. Select iCloud.
    iOS apple ID page with iCloud selected
  4. Make sure iCloud Backup is turned on.
    iOS icloud menu with iCloud backup highlighted
  5. Tap Back Up Now.
    iOS icloud menu with back up now highlighted

From now on, whenever your iOS device is connected to WiFi and not in use (locked), it will automatically back itself up to iCloud.

Backup to a Computer using iTunes

To backup using iTunes, you will need to connect your device to your computer. You'll be using the USB cable that it came with to do this. While this method is free, it is not automatic and will take some time to download all of the data on your device over to your computer.

  1. Open iTunes on your computer.
    iTunes.
  2. Connect your device to your computer using the USB cable that it came with.
    iPhone plugged into laptop via cable.
  3. Select your device from the list on the left, then choose Summary.
    Choosing your device and then summary
  4. Finally, click the blue Back Up Now button on the right.
    Backup button
We use cookies on our website to enhance your experience, analyze site usage and support our marketing efforts. To learn more, visit our Privacy Policy. By clicking “Accept”, you agree to our use of cookies and similar technologies.
Accept