Oops! Before Your iOS Device Breaks – Do this Now!

woman holding iPhone

The other day, my mom called me in a panic because she had to take her iPhone to the store for repair. There was a possibility that she would end up with a different phone. She wanted to know how to back up her phone so that she would have all of her pictures and contacts. She also wanted to make sure all of her passwords were backed up and more importantly, she wanted to have her new phone restored exactly the way she has her old phone set up.

At the time, I was out with my kids and couldn’t sit down long enough to walk her through everything so I thought I would put everything in one place for her.

This information assumes you have the latest version of iOS,10.3.3.

First things first, if you have an Apple Watch as my mom does, unpair it from your iPhone before switching devices. This will back up all of your Watch OS information automatically.

Backup Your iOS Device With a Computer

When you plug your iPhone into a computer whether it is PC or Mac, you will see an option to back your phone (or iPad) up.

First, make sure iCloud Backup is turned off from your phone. You can’t do a computer backup with it turned on. This is important if you want to restore your iPhone exactly how you had it.

Next, plug your iPhone into your computer and open iTunes. Make sure your phone is turned on and the screen is active. This means the screen is NOT black. If you have a passcode on your phone, enter it. Your phone must be fully accessible to your computer since this is where your backups will take place. If you see a pop up on your iPhone that asks if you want to Trust this Computer, click Trust.iTunes summary

Then, in the panel to the left of iTunes, look for your phone under devices. Right click and a menu should appear. Choose backup. A new window will appear. Choose This Computer and choose Encrypt. This will allow you to save your more sensitive data such as Apple Heath and passwords.

You will need to create a password for this backup. Please WRITE IT DOWN! There is no way to recover it if you lose it. If you forget, you will have to set your iPhone up as a new iPhone and none of your data will be there.

Your backup should begin once you choose your password. If it does not, choose Backup Now, under Manually Backup and Restore, on the right side of the window.

Backup Using iCloud

If you don’t have a computer that you can use for backing up your iPhone, you can use iCloud to back up your device. Even if you have a computer because you can do this anywhere you have Wi-Fi available.

Before we proceed, let me caution you first. Apple’s iCloud only gives 5GB of iCloud space free. That means if you have an iPhone with 16GB or more, you will not have enough space to backup your entire phone. This amount is per Apple ID. So if you have an iPad and an iPhone, you will have to split it with both devices. You do have the option to pay for more storage. It’s pretty cheap. Apple offers 50GB of storage for  $0.99, 200GB for $2.99, and 1TB for $9.99. You will have to decide if you want to make this purchase.

Also note, the iCloud backup does not backup all of the information on your iPhone. It will only back up what Apple thinks is most important. Click here and scroll down to see what iCloud backup includes.

First, connect your phone to Wi-Fi. I suggest being on a private Wi-Fi connection. When you are using public Wi-Fi like in Chick-Fil-A, airports, your Starbuck your data is not secure. I do not recommend doing ANYTHING other than light browsing in those places.

Next, open Settings and tap your name at the top of the screen. You will see a menu that will help you get to all of your iCloud information.

iCloud Step 1                       iCloud step 2


The fourth line down is iCloud. Tap iCloud. You will see how much iCloud storage you have used and how much is available. Looking down the page you will see the apps that are included in Cloud. Scroll down until you see iCloud Backup. Tap it.

iCloud Step 3                             iCloud Step 4

You will see another screen that says BACKUP. Underneath Backup and next to iCloud Backup, there is a switch. Tap it to make it turn green.

icloud step 5                         iCloud step 6

A popup will appear asking if you want to Start iCloud Backup. Tap OK


A few things to remember

You have to remain on Wi-Fi in order for the backup to finish.

Your device must be locked at the time of backup (This is different from the instructions for backing up through iTunes on a computer.)

If you have previously backup up your phone with iTunes on your computer, your phone will no longer sync when you sync with iTunes.

Final Thoughts

Backing up your phone is a fairly simple process. It’s often overlooked but it is something that is important to do. We use our phones for so much nowadays that we can be devastated if we lose access to the information on this phone. You never know when a mishap will occur and your phone needs to be reset or replaced. I recommend backing up on a regular basis.

If you need help deciding between and iCloud Backup or an iTunes backup, click here.

For more information on backing up your iOS device, please see Apple’s Help Guide.

How often do you backup your iPhone or iPad? Leave a comment below to let me know!

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