Of course we all know we should back up our laptops, iPhones, and iPads, but it’s often a task that gets skipped over when time is tight… and all my stuff is up there floating around in that cloud somewhere, anyway, right? Right?
Um, no, not necessarily. A friend who works at Apple recently told me the most frustrating thing about the job is telling tearful customers their photos, phone numbers, and other personal data are gone while they express complete disbelief, even after delivering a flat-out “no” in response to the question technicians always ask first, “Have you backed it up recently?”
Because while you may generally treat your phone like a first-born child, there’s still that chance you’ll drop it, smashing the screen to the point where it’s impossible to unlock it, or that you’ll leave it in a cab after a few too many margaritas.
(Oh, and with iOS 10 coming soon, you’ll want to back up before updating—just in case.)
Here’s how to properly back up your iphone, a process you should be repeating on the reg.
back it up to your computer
- Connect your iPhone to your computer with the USB cable.
- Depending on your previous set-up, iTunes may automatically pop open and start syncing (AKA backing up). You’ll be able to tell if that’s happening by checking in the middle of the top toolbar, where it will say “Syncing iPhone.”
- If that doesn’t happen, open iTunes and then click on the tiny phone icon in the top left-hand corner, underneath the audio controls. (If you see a Trust This Computer message, click Agree.)
- That will bring you to a summary screen, where the second box will be titled Backups. Select Manually Back Up and Restore and choose Back Up Now.
- That’s it, but if you want to set your phone so that it activates the backup for you whenever you plug it into your computer, you can also click “This computer” under “Automatically Back Up,” which will save you some clicks in the future.
back it up to the cloud
- Make sure you’re connected to WiFi and then go into Settings on your iPhone.
- Scroll down in Settings and tap iCloud.
- Scroll down and tap Backup.
- Choose Back Up Now and the backup will start. You can also turn on the iCloud Backup to always be on in the background on this screen, so it’ll automatically do it for you when your phone is plugged in, locked, and connected to WiFi. Note: iCloud does not come with a lot of free storage space, so you may get a message that says your backup couldn’t be completed because you’re out of storage. In that case, you’ll have to back up to your computer, instead. Or, you can buy more iCloud storage by going into Settings > iCloud > Buy More Storage. Additional storage starts at $0.99 per month, depending on how much you need.
Do you ever encounter issues when trying to back up your phone? Share your problems (and solutions!) in the comments, below!