MTS Best Practices: Backing up your iPhone

James Sorrenti

Apple’s products have always made it easy to keep your devices up to date and your data safe. There are a few methods of backing up your iPhone that we’ll go over, with a special look at iCloud.

When to Backup

Preparing for a backup when you need it most

It’s that time of year, when Apple parades its expanding line of shiny new iPhones across the stage (this time at the beautiful new Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park). So if you’re looking to jump to your next iPhone or need to service your current iPhone, now is the time to backup!

How to Back Up

There are two ways to backup your iPhone: to iCloud or to iTunes on your computer

iCloud is the easiest way to consistently back up your iPhone if you have enough storage available. As an added bonus, this data is automatically encrypted. To find out when the most recent iPhone backup to iCloud was made, you can check your iPhone. Here’s how:

  1. Tap “Settings” on your iPhone.
  2. Tap your iCloud name at the top.
  3. Tap “iCloud”.
  4. Tap “iCloud Backup” (Your backup should say “On”).
  5. On the bottom of this screen, you will see “Last Backup:” and a date and time.

If this date and time is not very recent, you can force a backup:

  1. Connect your iPhone to its charger and connect to a Wi-Fi network.
  2. On the same screen, right below “Last Backup:”, tap “Backup Now”.
  3. When the backup is complete, the “Last Backup:” should have today’s date and the time the backup completed.

You can also backup your iPhone to iTunes on your computer, but to get the full benefit (and all your activity data) you must tell iTunes to encrypt your iPhone Backups:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer via your Lightning cable.
  2. In iTunes, select your iPhone from the upper-left corner of the window.
  3. On the left, under Settings, select “Summary”.
  4. Select “Encrypt [device] backup” in Backups.
  5. Create (and do not forget!) a password when asked.
  6. It will start backing up. Future backups will be encrypted as well.

Now all your iPhone data is safely backed up, either on iCloud or in iTunes on your computer. If you’re already enrolled in iCloud Photo Library, then the backup may not include your photos, since they are already up in the cloud.


How to Restore From Your Backup

So you’ve backed up your iPhone, and now after some event, like opening your fancy new iPhone, you need to restore from your backup. That part is simple and built into the same setup process; just be sure to connect it to your Mac if you used the iTunes method for backup. There are a few things that do not come along with the backup that you will have to set up again:

  1. Device Passcode
  2. Touch ID fingerprints or Face ID faces
  3. Paired Bluetooth devices (e.g., headphones)
  4. Your debit/credit card used with Apple Pay

These things are left out for your security and because some are tied to the hardware of the device, not the software.

So now you can enjoy your new iPhone with the comfort of all your data on it. Some data that is already stored with Apple that would generally be on your device may be syncing back down from the cloud (even if you backed up via iTunes), you will notice a spinning icon as it syncs, and things like your app icons showing back up on your device. Enjoy!

More info:

Differentiating iTunes and iCloud backups:

Encrypted iTunes backups:

Import photos and videos:

What does iCloud backup:

Posted in MTS Best Practices