It is generally recommended to backup your iPhone every two weeks. This way, you can prevent massive data loss in case things go not-quite-as-you-expected… Backups are a great help if your iPhone gets broken, damaged, stolen or if you decided to switch to a newer iPhone. If you found yourself asking “How to backup my iPhone?”, check out the 6 ways below.
How to backup iPhone: navigation
If you are an iPhone user, consider yourself lucky: Apple has already given you two great solutions to backup. You can use iCloud for online and iTunes for offline backups. You can also resort to specialized software for iPhone backups or use cloud storage options other than iCloud. Alternatively, you may choose to backup photos or music only. All of the above is explained below.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the ways. You can choose to read the complete guide or select one of the methods from below:
Backup methods overview
Below is a summary of the most popular methods used to backup an iPhone, also including the software offered by CopyTrans, CopyTrans Shelbee.
|🖥️ iTunes||🐝 CopyTrans Shelbee||☁️ iCloud|
|Requirements||iPhone and lightning cable,
uses PC space
|iPhone and lightning cable,
uses PC space
|iPhone and Wi-Fi,
uses iCloud space
(with latest changes)
*you can’t choose the type of backup
*choose the type of backup
|Check backup integrity||❌||✔️||❌|
|Check for password issues||❌||✔️||❌|
|Choose backup folder||❌||✔️||❌|
|Move default backup location||❌||✔️||❌|
|Backup to external drive||❌||✔️||❌|
|Backup passwords, Wi-Fi settings, browsing history||✔️
*backup should be encrypted
*backup should be encrypted
|Backup apps in .ipa format||❌||✔️||❌|
|Selective restore (only photos, only messages, etc.)||❌||✔️||❌|
How to backup iPhone to computer
If you want an application that is specifically designed to perform backups, we have the product you need – CopyTrans Shelbee. Like iTunes, the application will allow you to backup Settings, Messages, Camera Roll and much more. If interested, you can see the full list here. Unlike iTunes, it will validate your backup upon creation, making sure you can restore from it later. It will also allow you to save your apps, run partial backup (only the latest changes) and selective restore (restore only the data types you need).
In this guide, we will only cover creating a full backup with CopyTrans Shelbee. You can also backup the latest changes only (you need to have at least one full backup for that).
To make a backup with CopyTrans Shelbee:
Download and install CopyTrans Shelbee:
If you need help installing the program, refer to the installation guide.
Run CopyTrans Shelbee and connect your iPhone. Choose Backup -> Full Backup.
Select the folder where you want to place your backup. By default, iTunes saves your backups to C:\Users\*your user name*\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup.
⚡ With CopyTrans Shelbee, you can choose any folder!
⚡ You can move iTunes default backup folder and transfer all previous backups there.
⚡ You can save a backup to external drive.
If you want to backup your apps, check “Save the apps”. You will need to log in to the App store and have a stable internet connection.
⚡ Your apps will be backed up from the App store in .ipa format. CopyTrans Shelbee will also back up app data, but only if the app developer allowed that.
If you chose to back up apps, log in to the App Store.
If you see this screen, it means you have an iOS backup password. The program will use it to validate the integrity of the backup, making sure you can restore later. iTunes would backup at once, but not restore until you’ve inserted the right password. What password again?
Wait while CopyTrans Shelbee performs the backup. Do not disconnect the device and be patient. Backing up is a complex procedure and may take a significant amount of time, especially if you chose to backup your apps: the process happens over the internet, which takes extra time.
Success! Your data is waiting for you in the folder of your choice.
Now that your backup is ready, you can restore it to your iPhone fully or partially anytime using CopyTrans Shelbee. You can even extract the data to your PC using CopyTrans Backup Extractor. Also, next time you can make an incremental backup, saving only the latest changes and space on your hard drive.
How to backup iPhone to external hard drive
While iTunes doesn’t let you choose backup folder, CopyTrans Shelbee does! It will let you select the destination and backup iPhone to external drive in just three steps. Here they are:
For a full instruction on how to backup iPhone, see above.
How to backup iPhone to iCloud
Aside from specialized software, one of the most popular ways to backup your device is through iCloud. Now, the advantage of this method is that it is quick, you can perform it from anywhere and, should trouble come, the data will be accessible directly from the Apple servers. The flip side of the coin is your personal data will be stored on the Apple servers, and the free 5GB of iCloud storage will fill up pretty quickly. Not okay with paying for more iCloud storage? Use either of the other two methods or read our guide on how to be economical with iCloud storage.
If the iCloud solution is the one for you, here are the steps:
- Make sure you have an active internet connection.
- On your iPhone, go to Settings → your Apple ID (sign in if not already signed in) → iCloud → iCloud Backup.
- You will see a backup summary screen with the date and time of your last backup. Press Back Up Now to initiate a new one.
- Wait until iCloud completes the backup; be sure not to disconnect your iPhone from the internet.
- Your iCloud backup is ready!
If you want to schedule regular backups to iCloud, make sure you enable iCloud Backup in Settings → your Apple ID → iCloud → iCloud Backup. Once the switch next to iCloud Backup is on, your iPhone will be backed up automatically every day. You will, of course, need to make space for regular backups in your iCloud, which would probably mean upgrading your iCloud storage plan, especially if you have a big storage capacity on your iPhone.
How to backup iPhone to iTunes
iPhone users are known to have a “love and hate relationship” with iTunes: partly because of its speed, partly because of its functionality, and partly because some people just want to hate iTunes. Nothing personal… The fact is, iTunes is still the only offline solution Apple offers to backup your iPhone. On the positive side, the backup is always at hand, and the data is safe and sound on your PC. The possible disadvantage is that iTunes doesn’t validate your backup upon creating it, meaning you can discover that the backup is corrupted or encrypted the very moment you need it to restore your data. If you wish to validate your backups upon creation, we offer a technical solution of our own development, CopyTrans Shelbee. To give it a try, scroll upwards for a guide on how to use the tool.
If you would rather stick with good old iTunes, here are the steps:
- Launch iTunes and connect your device to the PC.
- Choose Trust Computer on your iPhone and enter your passcode to confirm.
- In iTunes window, go to File → Devices, then click on Back Up to initiate the process.
- The top iTunes bar will then change and become an indicator of the backup progress.
Backup iPhone photos and videos with CopyTrans Photo
If photos carry the most weight (both figuratively and literally) on your iPhone and you want to make a backup but don’t want to pay for iCloud storage, we have developed the product for you – CopyTrans Photo. It will backup your iPhone photos and videos to computer preserving the metadata.
Backup iPhone music with CopyTrans
If you only need to backup your music library to either iTunes or just a convenient location on your PC, we know how to help you, since we have designed our own app, CopyTrans, specifically for this purpose. The application will allow you to backup your entire iPhone/iPod/iPad music library (including playlists and meta info) to iTunes or any folder on your PC.
It can also help to export selected tracks. CopyTrans comes in handy as a supplement for traditional full backups, since they almost never include music.
Use cloud storage providers
Cloud drives are not, strictly speaking, complex backup solutions – they will not allow you to save your settings, passwords, messages, etc. They will, however, serve you well to store your files – documents, presentations, images, videos, and much more. The advantages of cloud drives are that they are usually quick, cost-effective and you can always choose a payment plan that suits you better. On the other hand, you become dependent on the drive’s servers – if they shut down, the data becomes inaccessible. Other risks include data leakages and vendor lock-ins (when you can’t transfer your data to another cloud drive). To compensate for the drawbacks, we recommend also making a traditional backup to your PC (with iTunes or specialized software).
Some drives that enjoy the most popularity are:
One of the most popular solutions with iPhone users, despite that it only allows you 2GB of free space. However, you can boost the storage available in Dropbox by completing small “challenges”. It is an ideal solution for storing lightweight docs, PowerPoint presentations, photos and videos. What makes the service special is the “remote wipe” feature, allowing you to delete the data off your device should it be lost or fall into the wrong hands.
A solution much favoured by businessmen, OneDrive will now allow you 5GB of free storage before purchasing an upgrade plan. Conveniently enough, OneDrive is sometimes pre-installed on Windows, making it a good starting point to get familiar with cloud drives. If you are a Mac user, it is possible to get OneDrive from the App Store. Additionally, OneDrive has the “Personal Vault” feature, which means storing your files in the area with increased security layer.
Google Drive is a great solution if you can’t get by 5 or let alone 2GB of free storage. It offers 15GB of storage space for free, but note that this will be shared across all Google services, such as Google Photo and Gmail account. If not sure about Google limitations, see what files count towards your storage limit. Google Drive is a preferred choice with teams because of how easy it is to share and collectively edit data. It is also much loved by Android users.
Here we’ve prepared an ultimate summary for you.
To backup your iPhone:
- iTunes: On PC, Start iTunes > choose File > Devices > Back Up.
- iCloud: Go to iPhone Settings > your name > iCloud > iCloud Backup > Back up now.
- CopyTrans Shelbee: Start > Backup > Full > start backup > choose folder > encrypt backup > Start.
We hope that this article has served you well to help perform the type of backup you need. Backing up your data is never a bad idea, and knowing how to do it properply ensures protection against data loss at all times. Do not forget to make both online and offline backups as they complement each other. If the worst has come to the worst, here is an article on how to restore your iPhone from a backup.