How to Backup your iPhone - The 4 Best Ways to Back Up

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How to easily and securely backup your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.

Whether you are a tech newbie, or a seasoned Apple user, the safety and security of your device should always be on your mind. For some, the idea of backing up data, and keeping it backed up can feel like a daunting task; others may simply be looking for the best way to perform their backups.

Whatever your requirements, I'm sure you can take something away from this guide. We're going to cover what a backup actually is, why you need backups, and how to backup iPhone. Let's get started!

Quick jump to the four reviewed iPhone backup methods:

What is a backup?

A backup is essentially a safety net for your devices. When a backup is created from an iPhone, a snapshot of that device's data is saved to somewhere other than the iPhone (a computer for example). This snapshot contains data such as Photos, Messages and Contacts, but does not contain certain information like data stored in iCloud, Apple Pay information, or Touch ID settings. Note that you'll need to use a third-party app such like TouchCopy to back up your music library from an iPhone to computer.

Why should I back up my iPhone?

Backing up your iPhone is becoming increasingly important as more and more data is being stored on these devices. Just remember, as you take more photos on your iPhone, and send more messages, the more precious data you could potentially lose if anything was to happen to your device. If you make regular backups, however, if your iPhone was to break, or data was to get lost after an update on your phone, you would be able to safely recover your data using your backup!

How to back up iPhone to computer: TouchCopy

Our most comprehensive solution comes first - TouchCopy software. This option is for users who desire ease-of-use and an intuitive interface, as well as the extra control of accessing individual music, photos, contacts etc. from your iPhone on your PC. The other backup methods do not offer this amount of control.

TouchCopy can access your iPhone's data, allowing you to browse through on your PC or Mac computer. From there, you can choose what to copy from your device to your computer. Transfer music from iPhone to PC, backup contacts, save messages as PDF or print them off, TouchCopy can do it all. Here's how:

  1. Download TouchCopy on your computer and run it.
  2. Connect your iPhone to your computer using your USB cable.
  3. Navigate through your iPhone data using the tabs in TouchCopy.
  4. Select data you wish to back up to your PC, and copy it!
Back up iPhone data to computer with TouchCopy

Summary (TouchCopy):

✔ Stores files on your PC or Mac
✔ Store data up to your computer's available space
✔ Transfer only what you need to your computer
✔ Full control of what is transferred between iPhone and computer
✔ Popular and Trusted software

Get TouchCopy

On your PC or Mac, go to this address to download TouchCopy...

If you prefer, we can email the TouchCopy download link to you so you can quickly download the software when you are on your PC or Mac. To receive a download link please enter your email address here and click 'Send'

Buy TouchCopy now

How to back up iPhone to iCloud

Next up is iCloud. iCloud is great for a number of reasons: it stores your backup data in the cloud, rather than on your PC, so you don't take up valuable PC space; and you can then access your backup data from anywhere with Wi-Fi (as long as you know your Apple ID and password, of course!). You can even set up automatic iCloud backups for whenever your iPhone is connected to power, locked and on Wi-Fi - so you don't have to worry about doing it manually.

The downsides here are that you only get 5GB of free iCloud storage space. If you need more, you'll have to pay for it. Also, unlike TouchCopy above, you can't access data from iCloud backups manually to copy out specific songs, or messages etc.

What is backed up in an iCloud backup?

Here's how to back up iPhone with iCloud...

  1. Open 'Settings' from the app screen on your iPhone.
  2. Tap your username entry.
  3. Scroll down and hit 'iCloud' > 'iCloud Backup'.
  4. Tap 'Back Up Now'.
Back up iPhone to iCloud - Step 1

And then...

Back up iPhone to iCloud - Step 2

Summary (iCloud):

✔ Stores backups in iCloud
✔ 5GB free storage (payment needed for more)
✔ Encrypted backups
✔ Create and use backups over Wi-Fi
✔ Able to use backup to restore to iPhone


How to back up iPhone to iTunes

In this method we'll cover is backing up using iTunes. This backup is similar to the iCloud backup, in that you can use the backup to restore the snapshot to your iPhone. The difference here is that the backup will be stored on your computer, rather than in the cloud- so you don't have to worry about paying for extra space, but you won't be able to access the backup over Wi-Fi on another computer.

What is backed up in an iTunes backup?

Here's how to back up iPhone with iTunes...

  1. Launch iTunes on your computer.
  2. Connect your iPhone.
  3. In iTunes, click your device icon.
  4. Under 'Backups' click 'Back Up Now'.
How to Back up iPhone to iTunes

Summary (iTunes):

✔ Stores backups on PC or Mac
✔ Optional backup encryption
✔ Create and use backups on your PC or Mac
✔ Able to use backup to restore to iPhone


Backup to macOS Catalina

Our final method covers those of you who are using macOS Catalina or higher. As you may have noticed, iTunes has now been replaced with the Music app on systems running Catalina. As such, the steps to back up your iPhone have changed slightly.

Rather than using iTunes to back up your iPhone, you'll now need to use the Finder app. Here's how it's done:

  1. Launch Finder on your Mac.
  2. Connect your iPhone.
  3. Select your device from the list.
  4. Choose "Back up all the data on your iPhone to this Mac".
  5. Click 'Back Up Now'.
How to Back up iPhone in Finder on macOS Catalina

You can also choose to back up your iPhone to iCloud from here. To do this, simply choose "Back up your most important data on your iPhone to iCloud" before clicking "Backup Now".

Note: If you wish to save Health and Activity data from your device, you'll need to encrypt your backup. To do this, click the "Encrypt device backup" checkbox. You'll be prompted to set a password to protect your encrypted backup. Make sure you keep your password safe, as you'll need this to access or recover your encrypted backup.

Summary (macOS Catalina):

✔ Stores backups on Mac
✔ Optional backup encryption
✔ Create and use backups on your Mac
✔ Able to use backup to restore to iPhone


Thanks for reading!