How to Back Up — and Restore — Data on an iPhone
Backing up any electronic device is an important step in data security. Any piece of hardware can fail when you least expect it, leaving you with no access to your contacts, emails or documents. You need to keep that information stored in a secure location so that you can restore it to your device with ease. In the case of iPhones, you have several options for backing up data.
iCloud is Apple’s way of offering the convenience of the cloud to iPhone users. In general terms, the cloud provides a remote method of storage that removes the risk of data loss and allows you to download files when you need them, where you need them.
iCloud is free and is available to all iPhones using iOS version 5.0 or higher. To make use of this feature, simply select the Settings app on your mobile device.
One option should be for iCloud, and once selected, it will display a list for the types of information to be stored on the cloud. This includes things such as mail, contacts, calendars, notes and documents. To back up any of these data types, you simply activate the setting to “ON” and the information will be placed automatically on iCloud.
You should be careful to note, however, that iCloud does not back up apps. You can use iTunes to back up apps (see below).
If you’ve never performed an iCloud backup on your iPhone before, then selecting Storage & Backup will direct you to a screen from which you can start the backup manually. Once activated, the backup will begin and your iPhone will provide an estimated length of time before the task will complete. In order to successfully start a backup, you are required to be on a wireless Internet connection.
Any other iOS devices that use the same iTunes login will have access to and can download the data.
The Apple-developed app management and app store solution, iTunes, offers its own means of backing up your iPhone’s data. This functionality is quite easy to maintain and also allows you to decide what data to transfer to and from your mobile phone. Whereas iCloud doesn’t allow you to backup apps, iTunes keeps track of all of your app purchases, downloads and data for each specific app.
Prior to performing a backup of your mobile device, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the latest version of iTunes. This can be found by going to Help and selecting Check for Updates. While this step isn’t necessary, it does ensure you’re making use of the latest data transfer protocols and security measures.
Backing up with iTunes can be done by either connecting your iPhone to the computer wirelessly or through a USB cable.
If your iTunes and iPhone both share the same Apple account, then when you unlock your phone it will appear as a device option on iTunes.
To backup your device through iTunes, simply right-click (or Control-click on a Mac) on the device name and select Back Up. The backup of your device’s data will be stored in a designated folder location, which will not be affected by any subsequent syncs.
Restoring your data
If you need to revert to a previous backup, you can simply right click (or Control-click) the device in iTunes and select Restore from Backup.
Either method — iCloud or iTunes — is extremely effective and important to use on a weekly basis. Making a habit of backing up your data will ensure you aren’t caught unawares should you suddenly lose your phone or have it die.