Backing Up an iPhone or iPad

Apple announced today that they would be holding their next big product event on September 10. Most are betting this event will hold new iPhone announcements as well as the release of Apple’s latest version of the iPhone and iPad’s operating system: iOS 7.

iOS 7 is a terrific update, and you’ll likely want to install it on your device as soon as it is released. That said, it is always a good idea to make sure your device is completely backed up whenever doing an operating system update of this magnitude. It is most likely everything will go smoothly, but better safe than sorry. There are two methods of backing up an iPhone or an iPad: iTunes or iCloud.

Backing up to iCloud is done wirelessly. Because of this, unless you have an unlimited data plan, it is a good idea to do this backup while connected to Wi-Fi. Simply tap on the SETTINGS icon on your device, then tap ICLOUD. If you are not signed into an iCloud account, you will need to either sign into an existing account or create a new one in order to backup to iCloud. If this is the case, you will be prompted to either sign into or create your account at this point.

Once in the ICLOUD section of SETTINGS, tap STORAGE & BACKUP near the bottom of the page. Next, the ICLOUD BACKUP switch is set to ON, then tap BACK UP NOW. The status of the backup will display, and, after a few minutes, your device will be safely backed up.

Once your device is set to back up to iCloud, it will automatically back up every night when it is plugged into your charger. This makes it a terrific backup choice.

iCloud offers 5 GB of storage for free. This is enough room for most users to backup their iPhone or iPad (often both). If, however, you are told you need more storage to back up your device, you can either purchase more space by tapping CHANGE STORAGE PLAN, or you can move to our next option: backing up to iTunes.

You can back up your device to iTunes at any time, even if it is set to normally do backups to iCloud. Simply plug your device into your computer, then open iTunes if it doesn’t open automatically. Once it is connected, click the button that says IPHONE or IPAD in the upper right corner of iTunes.

Make sure you are looking at the SUMMARY in the choices across the top of the iTunes window.

Lastly, press the button near the middle of the page that says BACK UP NOW.

Once your device is backed up, either to iCloud or iTunes, you can update your software with no fear of losing any existing data.

Jason Merrill, Mac & iOS Consultant