We’re not kidding when we say that backing up your iPhone is extremely important — and not just when you want to transfer your data to your new iPhone. It could slip out of your pocket if you’re not careful, not turn on, or — worse still — it could get infected with a virus or ransomware. Because the smartphone has become such an indispensable part of daily life for many, just imagine how terrible it would be if you couldn’t access your pictures, messages, or anything else on your iPhone. It’d feel like you’re missing a limb.
Read on to learn about the various methods to back up your iPhone and then restore the data from your backup.
Using iCloud to back up your iPhone
Apple included an auto-backup feature in iPhone and iPad which backs up all your data once a day to iCloud when your device is connected to a Wi-Fi or mobile data network. It truly doesn’t get any more convenient than that. Want to set up the auto-backup feature? Here’s how:
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
- Tap your Apple ID account avatar, then tap iCloud.
- Turn on iCloud Backup. Now your iPhone will back up automatically to iCloud once a day when your device is on a Wi-Fi or mobile data network.
And if you get yourself a shiny new iPhone, you can set it up in a flash by transferring everything across from your old device — including all your system settings and apps. To do so, we recommend creating a manual backup as follows:
- Before backing up your iPhone to iCloud, you’ll need a strong and stable Wi-Fi connection. Now open the Settings app on your iPhone.
- Tap your Apple ID account avatar.
- Now tap iCloud, then iCloud Backup.
- When you tap Back Up Now, your iPhone will save an encrypted backup in iCloud.
See the Apple website for further details.
Watch out for the following when backing up to iCloud
All your data is consolidated into one package when you back up to iCloud so you won’t be able to just access your address book or a specific photo. Instead, you’ll need to download your entire iCloud data package from the internet to regain access to the stored information. And: you only get 5 GB of storage with a free account. If you want more, you’ll have to pay Apple.
As convenient as automatic iCloud backups are, they aren’t that privacy-friendly as Apple doesn’t offer end-to-end encryption with automatic backups. This means that your data is fairly easy to decrypt should some cybercriminal hack it. As such, we can only recommend one course of action: Back up your iPhone or iPad manually and regularly.
When it comes to data security, fortunately there are some helpful apps out there that will help you secure such a wide-open back door. Among them, Avira Mobile Security for iOS offers free protection for your iOS devices . If you use your iPhone or iPad to surf the internet using public Wi-Fi hotspots, the app’s VPN feature protects all your traffic. Avira Mobile Security for iOS also includes a network scanner to show you smart devices on your home network, plus it prevents Siri recording your conversations — among many other of the app’s privacy-boosting plus points.
Using Finder on your Mac to back up your iPhone
If you use an Apple Mac, you can back up your iPhone using Finder.
- To do so, hook up your iPhone to your Mac using a USB cable.
- Open Finder and search for your iPhone (or iPad).
- Turn on Encrypt local backup if you want to encrypt your data. If you do, set a password.
- Click Back Up Now and wait until all your data has been backed up to your Mac.
Using iTunes on your Windows computer to back up your iPhone
First, you’ll need to install iTunes if you want to back up your iOS devices to a Windows PC or laptop.
- Connect your iPhone to your computer using a USB cable.
- Now open iTunes and click the smartphone device icon on the top left corner (it looks like an iPhone).
- Under Backups, select This Computer.
- Turn on Encrypt local backup since you do actually want to encrypt your data. Now you’ll need to set a password. Once done, click Set Password.
- Finally, click Back Up Now to start backing up your iPhone. Keep in mind that it may take a while depending on how much data you need to back up.
Moving from iPhone to Android and taking your iOS backup with you: Is it even possible?
All smartphone manufacturers, such as Samsung and Sony, provide details on their websites on how you move from iPhone to an Android smartphone — although with one little drawback. If you move from iOS to an Android smartphone, you won’t be able to restore some iPhone-specific data types.
Restoring your iPhone data from an iCloud backup
It’s really easy to restore your backup to a new iPhone. All you need to do when setting up your new iPhone is to select the option to restore your data from your iCloud backup and log in to your iCloud account using the same Apple ID you used to create the backup.
But first, and this is really important, back up your old iPhone, as we’ve described in this post, prior to proceeding with the steps below to restore your iPhone data from your iCloud backup.
- Turn on your new or freshly erased iPhone and tap Set Up Manually.
- Now connect it to a Wi-Fi network and follow the on-screen instructions to select your language and country/region.
- Choose a Wi-Fi network, tap Restore from iCloud Backup, and follow the step-by-step instructions.
- When asked, enter your Apple ID. Forgot your Apple ID? No problem! You’ll find the answer to your question at Are you having problems signing in .
- Once you’ve tapped the Restore button, stay connected to Wi-Fi and wait for the progress bar to finish loading before finishing the setup process.
Restoring your iPhone backup from your Mac using Finder
- Using a USB cable, connect your new or freshly erased iPhone to your Mac on which your backup is stored.
- Open Finder, select your iPhone, then click Restore Backup.
- Now click/tap Trust on your Mac/iPhone to start the process.
- If you plan to restore your backup to your iPhone using Finder, you’ll need macOS version 10.15 or later.
If you’re using an older version of macOS, iTunes is a great alternative for restoring a backup. To help you, we’ve put together a handy guide for you here.
Restoring your iPhone data from an iTunes backup on your Windows PC or laptop
Proceed as follows to restore a backup made using iTunes on your Windows computer:
- Open iTunes and click the smartphone device icon on the top left corner (it looks like an iPhone). If you have multiple devices connected to your computer, tap the smartphone device icon, then choose your device from the menu.
- In the welcome screen, select Restore Backup…, pick the most relevant backup, then click Restore.
- Since you’ll have encrypted your backup for security reasons — which you have, haven’t you?! — when asked, enter your password to restore your files and settings from your backup.
- Once you’ve clicked Restore, keep your device connected after it has restarted, and wait for it to sync with your computer.
Here’s a top tip for greater protection: Whether you have an iPhone backup stored in iCloud and want to restore it or you keep your backups on a laptop, PC, or Mac, with Avira you can enjoy all-round protection for all your iOS devices — with continuous performance enhancement included.