How to Properly Backup & Restore All iPhone Data

There are two ways to backup your iPhone’s data and depending on your phone’s used storage and method, the entire process can take just one minute or up to an hour. The most convenient method is backing up your data to iCloud, since you can do it anywhere and you won’t be tethered to your laptop or desktop. And as I just mentioned, the second method is through your computer.

Something to consider before backing up your iPhone, something I found to have created several gigabytes worth of backup in my other phones:

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If you want to save space, and you are not that too tied to iMessage, consider turning it off – the images sent to you by your family and friends could take up anywhere from 3MB to 15MB. It would be funny if they are just memes, but not funny if you have to back up and restore hundreds of them.

This also applies to messaging apps like Viber, WhatsApp, etc. Most likely, you’ve already backed up the images from your Photos to iCloud if it’s synced up.

backup and restore ios devices

Anyway, let’s get right to the main point!

Method 1: Backup via iCloud

Pretty straightforward! On your phone:

  1. Head over to Settings
  2. Tap on your name
  3. Tap on iCloud
  4. backup and restore ios devices
  5. Look for iCloud Backup
  6. backup and restore ios devices
  7. If it’s turned off, just turn it on.
  8. Tap on “Back Up Now”

It will then give you an estimate of how long it will take to backup.

backup and restore ios devices

If you are restoring your data from a previous backup for the same phone, you will need to reset and erase all of your phone’s content first. To do this:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Tap on General
  3. Look for Reset
  4. And choose “Erase All Content and Settings”
  5. Once this process is done, it will ask you to choose if you want to transfer data to your phone. Choose “Restore from iCloud Backup”

The process will then proceed as usual.

Method 2: Backup via Finder

To backup your data on Mac, first you’ll need to attach your iPhone to your Mac. On the left side, find your phone’s name under “Locations”. If it’s your first time doing so, it will look like this on Finder:

backup and restore ios devices

As you can see, it’s not yet a trusted device, so you’ll have to Trust it first before you can access it.

On your phone, it will ask you to Trust the device too.

backup and restore ios devices

Then it will ask you to set up a new device or restore from a backup (if you have). Just pick “Set up as a new device”.

backup and restore ios devices

On your Finder, look for “Back Up Now” and click it. But before doing so, I highly recommend encrypting your backup first. Above the back up now button, there is an option to encrypt your data. If you check this, it will ask you to set a password (and unchecking it will also ask you for the password).

backup and restore ios devices

Just follow the wizard and you’ll be set.

Once you’re ready, just click on “Back Up Now”. You will know that the backup is already happening if all the buttons on your Finder is greyed out, and on your phone there will be two arrows rotating at the very top.

Once it’s done, you should see “Last backup to this Mac:” with the current time. That’s basically it!

Now, to restore your data from a previous local backup, just hook up your phone again to your Mac.

backup and restore ios devices
  1. Open your phone on your Finder
  2. Click on Restore Backup
  3. Pick which backup you want to restore
  4. If you turned “Encrypt local backup” on, it will ask you for the password you set
  5. Then simply proceed with the rest of the process

It will take anywhere from a minute to an hour or so depending on the file size.

That’s it! Easy, right?

Can’t backup? Here’s one potential solution:

A problem that you might encounter when backing up or updating your iPhone or iPad is that it won’t let you – it will result in an error saying that it has failed to do so. This only happens if you haven’t updated your iOS in a long time. I encountered this on my iPad that I haven’t updated since 2018. And when it’s finally time to update and backup, it didn’t let me. I’m mentioning this because it also happens to iPhone users.

The solution to this is to hook your iPad or iPhone to your Mac and use Finder to update your iOS first. It will take a lot of time to update, but it should work out fine in the end.

That’s about it! If everything works as intended, it should be a hassle-free backup. No need to use other external apps. ;)

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