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How to Back Up Your iPhone

Learning how to backup your iPhone will save you the headache of recovering your data when you lose, damage, or replace your smartphone. With a backup, you’ll be able to recover your contact information, text messages, pictures, and any other data that was stored on your device at the time it was backed up.

There are two methods for backing up your iPhone: you can either backup through iCloud or using iTunes on a computer. Check out our guide below: 

How to Back Up iPhone to iTunes on Mojave or Earlier

When you backup your iPhone with iTunes, your data will be stored on your Mac or Windows computer.

When you backup via iTunes, you will save almost all your data and settings. However, you will not be able to backup content from iTunes, files downloaded to Apple books, content synced from iTunes, data that’s already in iCloud, Face ID or Touch ID settings, Apple Pay information and settings, and Apple mail data. 

Note: You should update your iTunes to the latest version before you begin. You can do this by opening the App Store from your Applications folder and clicking Updates. If you see iTunes in the list of available updates, click the Update button next to it.

  1. Connect the iPhone to your computer with a USB cable.
  2. Open iTunes.  You can find this in your Applications folder on a Mac, or in your Start Menu on a Windows PC.
  3. Select your iPhone when it appears. You can find this button near the play button at the top of your iTunes window. It is to the right of your Music drop-down menu and is shaped like an iPhone icon.
  4. Under Backups, click Back Up Now. If you do not see this, click Summary in the left sidebar.
How to Back Up iPhone to iTunes on Mojave or Earlier

Then wait for your iPhone to backup. This process might take a few minutes, and you should not disconnect your phone from your computer until it is complete.

How to Back Up Your iPhone on macOS Catalina

The iTunes app has been split into three apps for macOS Catalina. To back up your iPhone using a Mac running on this OS, follow the steps below: 

  1. Launch the Finder app. This is the half-blue and half-gray icon.
  2. Connect your iPhone to your computer. 
  3. Select your iPhone when it appears. You can find it in the left sidebar of your finder window.
  4. Under General Settings, click Backup. Wait until the process is completed.
How to Back Up Your iPhone on macOS Catalina

How to Back Up Your iPhone to iCloud 

With iCloud, you can have up to 2TB of cloud-based storage. However, only the first 5GB is free. When you back up with iCloud, almost all data and settings will be included. It will not, however, include the following: data stored in other cloud services, Apple mail data, Apple Pay information and settings, Face ID or Touch ID settings, and Apple Music Library and App Store content. 

  1. Connect your iPhone to a WiFi network.
  2. Go to Settings
  3. Then tap YOUR NAME. This will be the first option at the top of the Settings menu.  
  4. Scroll down and tap iCloud Backup.
  5. Turn iCloud backups on by tapping the slider. You will know it is on if it is green.
  6. Finally, tap Back Up Now. Wait until the backup process is completed. Do not disconnect from the internet while your iPhone is backing up your data.
How to Back Up Your iPhone to iCloud

If you just want to back up your photos, check out our blog on how to transfer photos from an iPhone to a computer.

Updated on December 6, 2019

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