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 using iCloud

Here’s your guide to effortlessly safeguarding all your iPhone data using iCloud. Initiating this process is a breeze. Simply navigate to your iPhone and proceed as follows:

  1. Go 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 off, just turn it on.
  8. Tap “Back Up Now”
backup and restore ios devices

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

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 save a copy of your data from your iPhone to your Mac, first, connect your iPhone to your Mac using a cable. After doing this, look on the left side of your screen, and you’ll see your iPhone’s name listed under the heading called “Locations”. If it’s the first time you’re doing this, it’s going to appear this way on your Mac’s Finder application.

backup and restore ios devices

You need to make your device ‘trusted’ before using it. Basically, this means that you have to give your device permission to be used.

Don’t forget, your phone will also ask you to ‘trust’ the device. You’ll need to approve this request too.

backup and restore ios devices

After this, it will prompt you to either set up a new device or restore from a backup (if you have one). All you need to do is simply select “Set up as a new device”.

backup and restore ios devices

In Finder, search for “Back Up Now” and click on it. However, I would strongly suggest that you encrypt your backup first. There’s an option to do this right above the “Back Up Now” button. If you tick this option, it will prompt you to create a password. Keep in mind, if you decide to uncheck this option later, you’ll need to enter the same password again.

backup and restore ios devices

Simply follow the guide and you’ll be all set.

When you feel prepared, just hit “Back Up Now”. You’ll know the backup has started when you see that all the buttons in your Finder are greyed out. Also, on your phone, you’ll see two rotating arrows at the very top.

After it finishes, you should spot the phrase “Last backup to this Mac:” followed by the current time. And that’s about it!

Restore via Finder

You can get your data back from an older local backup. Here’s how: First, reconnect your phone to your Mac. Then, simply follow the steps that I’m about to show you below:

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. ;)