How to backup iPhone in every single way

How to backup iPhone

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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:

  1. Backup methods summary table
  2. Backup iPhone to computer using special software
  3. Backup iPhone to iCloud
  4. Backup iPhone to iTunes
  5. Backup your photos and videos
  6. Backup your music
  7. Use cloud storage options for files

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
Full backup ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Incremental backup
(with latest changes)
*you can’t choose the type of backup
*choose the type of backup
Encrypted 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 ✔️
Full restore ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
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:

  1. Download and install CopyTrans Shelbee:

    Download CopyTrans Shelbee

  2. If you need help installing the program, refer to the installation guide.

  3. Run CopyTrans Shelbee and connect your iPhone. Choose Backup -> Full Backup.

    Full iPhone backup with CopyTrans Shelbee

  4. 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.

    Shelbee select the backup folder

  5. 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.

    Backup iOS apps to computer

  6. If you chose to back up apps, log in to the App Store.
    Backup iPhone apps: App Store login screen

  7. 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?

    ⚡ Encrypted backups include passwords, Wi-Fi settings, etc. More about encrypted backups from Apple.
    ⚡ If you don’t remember your iOS backup password, you can reset it.

    validate iPhone backup with Shelbee

  8. 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.

    Backup iPhone with Shelbee

  9. Success! Your data is waiting for you in the folder of your choice.
    iPhone backup complete with Shelbee

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 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:

  1. Make sure you have an active internet connection.
  2. On your iPhone, go to Settings → your Apple ID (sign in if not already signed in) → iCloud → iCloud Backup.

    Find iCloud backup section on iPhone

  3. 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.

    Choose to Back Up Now with iCloud

  4. Wait until iCloud completes the backup; be sure not to disconnect your iPhone from the internet.

    iCloud backup in progress

  5. 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.

Important fact

If you switch on automatic iCloud backups, your phone will stop making automatic backups every time upon connecting to iTunes. Jump to the right section to run a manual backup with iTunes.

enable automatic iCloud backup for 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:

  1. Launch iTunes and connect your device to the PC.
  2. Choose Trust Computer on your iPhone and enter your passcode to confirm.

    Tell iPhone to trust computer

  3. In iTunes window, go to FileDevices, then click on Back Up to initiate the process.

    Start to backup iPhone with iTunes

  4. The top iTunes bar will then change and become an indicator of the backup progress.

    Backup iPhone with iTunes

Important fact

If you want your iPhone backup to include your saved passwords, Wi-Fi settings, website history and health data, you will need to encrypt your backup – if it doesn’t have a password already. To check whether your device is encrypted and manage your password settings:

  • Click on the iPhone icon at the top iTunes panel.
    Find you iPhone in iTunes
  • You will see info about your device and its backups, indicating the time of the last backup and password management options. You can then see whether your backup is password-protected (there will be a check next to “Encrypt local backup”) and run a backup or restore.
    Check the backup settings in iTunes

Backup iPhone photos and videos with CopyTrans Photo

Backup iPhone photos to computer

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 my photos!

Backup iPhone music with CopyTrans

backup iphone music to computer

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.

Backup my music!

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:

Dropbox logo


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.

OneDrive logo


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 logo

Google Drive

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.

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By Maria CopyTrans

Maria is our tech support specialist who takes a particular delight in languages, games, experiments and concert whistling. Tweet tweet.