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How-tos

How to back up your iPhone to the cloud or to your Mac or PC


Yes, of course you want to back up your iPhone. As we all know, despite phone cases and the latest protective glass and careful engineering, disaster — in the form of cracked displays, lost devices, and three-year-olds who think it’s fun to sit on your latest phone — can happen. When that happens, you want to have all your data backed up.

The easiest way to go is to back up using iCloud, which is not only simple to set up but also makes it just as simple to set up a new phone if your old one is no longer available. (You can also back up to other services, such as Google Drive, but it isn’t nearly as convenient.) Or, if you’re an iPhone user who is steadfast about retaining your privacy, you can back up your iPhone to your Mac or Windows computer and retain full control of your data backups.

Here’s how to back up to iCloud or to your laptop / desktop.

Using Finder to set up a computer to back up your iPhone.

Using iTunes to change your backup from iCloud to this computer.

If you need to restore your backup, just go to the same page and click on Restore Backup.

Note that you can either manually back up your iPhone or you can also have it automatically back up each time you connect it to your computer. Look for Options just below the Backups section and select Automatically sync when this iPhone is connected.

Once you’ve set up your backup to your computer, you may want to delete any backups you’ve made to iCloud.

Select a backup to delete, then click on the minus icon in the lower left of the window.

To do this on your iPhone:

Update May 23rd, 2023, 9:12AM ET: This article was originally published on January 23rd, 2020, and has since been changed to add directions for backing up with iCloud and to update the other instructions.



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