How to back up iPhone to iCloud, MacOS or Windows (2021)
Disappeared days when you don’t need a smartphone. Your iPhone is much more than just a screen for texting. Today, smartphones are everything. This is how we do work, stay up to date with the crazy news cycle, play, keep in touch with friends and family and capture the most important moments of life. Carrying all this information in our pockets is incredibly powerful and it makes it easier to experience our days. It also means that our most important data can be easily lost if you forget your phone on the train or accidentally spit out the sidewalk.
If you want to avoid feverish attempts to recover the best shots from a friend’s wedding, you need to back up your iPhone. This is a particularly good idea if you are planning to upgrade to a new iPhone. There are several ways to do this, and which one you choose will depend on your needs and habits. Once you have backed up, read our guide to choosing the best iPhone.
Updated September 2021: We’ve updated the steps for backing up your iPhone to MacOS or Windows computers.
Backup to iCloud
The easiest option and Apple’s first recommendation is to back up your iPhone to iCloud.
The process is quite simple:
- Connect to Wi-Fi.
- Go in Settings, click on your name, then ICloud.
- On the iCloud page scroll down and click ICloud backup. Make sure the switch is turned on so you get automatic backups when your iPhone is charging, locked, and connected to Wi-Fi. Then click Backup now force backup.
- Check or uncheck things like photos for which you want to back up iCloud.
Apple gives you 5GB of iCloud storage for free, but that’s probably not enough to cover all your data. Later in iOS 15, there is a temporary way to back up data to iCloud, even if you don’t have storage space, but it doesn’t help you. You can buy more storage, but it adds up pretty quickly. For users with a lot of data there is a better way to do it for free.
Backup to your Mac
If your phone is loaded with pictures, songs, apps and years of text messages, a basic iCloud backup doesn’t reduce it. If you have a computer that has multiple backup gigs, you can plug in your iPhone and press a few buttons to make sure all of your phone’s data is stored in a safe state. But the right way depends on your version of MacOS.
If you’re not sure which Apple operating system you have, just click on the Apple icon in the upper left corner of your Mac desktop and select About this Mac. Another window will open that tells in large bold letters what you are doing.
Backup to MacOS Catalina 10.15 or later
The upgrade to MacOS Catalina (2019) has abolished iTunes, replacing it with three separate programs for music, podcasts and television. The backup option is now in the Finder, where you can search for folders and other drives. IPhone backup is almost the same as in iTunes:
- Connect iPhone to your computer with a cable.
- Open Seeker and select your iPhone on the sidebar.
- Click on Common and choose Back up all data from your iPhone to this Mac.
- If you want to encrypt your data and password protect it, select Encrypt the local backup.
- Click Backup now.