An included feature on every iPhone with at least iOS 5, iCloud will back up your iPhone’s data automatically, but first you have to turn the feature on.
Turning on iCloud Backup:
- Connect your device to a Wi-Fi network.
- Tap Settings > iCloud > Backup.
- Turn on iCloud Backup if it isn’t already turned on.
- Make sure you are on a WiFi connection and tap Back Up Now
- Check your backup by tapping Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage, and then select your device. You should see your latest backup listed.
The first 5GB of files with iCloud Backup are free. If you want more than 5GB of storage in your iCloud backup, you’ll have to pay a monthly fee. For 50GB you’ll pay $0.99 per month. For 200GB the cost is $2.99 per month. And for 1TB Apple charges $9.99 per month. These prices might not seem steep, but they’re still significantly higher than the prices of most online data storage services.
Photos and videos can fill up your free 5GB fast. If you take a lot of pictures and still opt for iCloud Backup, you can choose to back up your most recent 1000 photos in My Photo Stream, and they won’t count against your storage limit. Today’s iPhones store up to 128GB of data so even with a 1,000 photos in My Photo Stream and 5GB of free iCloud storage you can easily run out of free storage.
To backup using iTunes, you need to have a computer (PC or Mac) running iTunes. Then you need to allow your phone to communicate with your computer—either through Wi-Fi or by connecting the devices with a USB cord. Backing up via iTunes to your computer is pretty straight forward. Just following these steps:
- Open iTunes
- Connect your iPhone to your computer
- Click File > Devices > Backup or click “Backup Up Now” from Summary page
Using this method you can backup everything from your iPhone – photos, videos, text messages, application data, etc., from your iPhone to your computer as often as you wish. Since iTunes is free your backup is free. Still there are a couple of things to remember when using this method.
- You have to remember to do the backup. It is a manual operation, not automatic. It only takes a few minutes, but your initiative is required. You can make this automatic, but most people find that this uses a lot of network bandwidth (think LTE, 3G and 4G) at the wrong times and end up turning it off.
- You need to have enough free space on your computer’s hard drive to store the iPhone backup. Again with up to 128GB of storage on your iPhone, that could be an issue.
The primary advantage to using iTunes is that everything on your iPhone can be backed up via iTunes and can be restored using iTunes. With iTunes your iPhone can also easily be backed up to your computer. For completeness, you should back up your computer, more on that later on, but first let’s look at non-Apple backup solutions.