How to backup your iPhone to Apple's iCloud

Posted:
in iCloud edited July 2015
When iPhone first launched, backing up data was a cumbersome process that required users to transfer their files to a Mac or PC via iTunes. Apple has since moved to the cloud with iCloud, providing an incredibly simple way to back up iPhones, iPads and iPods without a host computer.




Backing up an iPhone to iCloud requires users to have an active account and be logged-in on their device. This is normally completed during the activation process, but if you are not logged into iCloud, the appropriate settings are accessible via the Settings app under iCloud.

Once you're logged-in, backing up an iPhone to iCloud is an insanely easy process.

First, open the Settings app on iPhone and navigate to iCloud, as seen in the screenshot above. Next, scroll down and tap on Backup. If it's not already activated, tap the iCloud Backup option.

You will see a brief description of the backup process. The backup includes device settings, messages (iMessage, SMS, and MMS), ringtones, all app data (including Health app and HomeKit configuration data), location settings (such as location-based reminders), and Home screen and app organization. Any data created in a native iPhone app is already synced in your iCloud account and not part of the iPhone backup.

By default, all app data will be backed up to iCloud. Users can manage which apps are backed up by going to Settings > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backups.

iCloud backups occur automatically when the iPhone is plugged in to a power source with the screen locked and connected to a Wi-Fi network. There is also an option to backup manually. To do so, simply tap Back Up Now in the iCloud settings menu. iCloud is capable of storing up to three device backups. In order to conserve storage space, Apple reserves the right to delete old iCloud backups if a user has not backed up his iPhone for 6 months.

Unlike other platforms, iCloud doesn't require any third-party software, and it doesn't create a partial backup of data (as with, for example, Android). Rather, iCloud backs up all data on the iPhone and automatically syncs new app data dynamically.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Apple has since moved to the cloud with iCloud, providing an incredibly simple way to back up iPhones, iPads and iPods without a host computer.

    I have a 128 GB phone and 5 GB of iCloud space.

  • Reply 2 of 38
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    mstone wrote: »
    I have a 128 GB phone and 5 GB of iCloud space.

    The back up of both my 64 GB iPad Air 2 and my 64 GB iPhone 6 is only 2.3 GB. (1.1+1.2)

    5 GB. back up is quite enough. What isn't is iCloud Photo Library.
  • Reply 3 of 38
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post





    The back up of both my 64 GB iPad Air 2 and my 64 GB iPhone 6 is only 2.3 GB. (1.1+1.2)



    5 GB. back up is quite enough. What isn't is iCloud Photo Library.



    So it is just backing up the OS? What about your data?

  • Reply 4 of 38
    zroger73zroger73 Posts: 722member

    I'm "old fashioned" in this regard. I prefer to regularly sync my iPhone and iPad with iTunes on my iMac which alternates Time Machine backups between two external drives in different locations. If my iPhone, iMac, and two external drives are all destroyed simultaneously, chances are I will be, too, so it won't much matter. :)

  • Reply 5 of 38
    Although if you backup buy a new phone and then install that backup all your game save data will be gone. Yup, back to level one.

    This only happens with iCloud backups. If you backup to iTunes your saves will be restored
  • Reply 6 of 38
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    mstone wrote: »

    So it is just backing up the OS? What about your data?

    Nope. iCloud Back Up will only back up necessary data. For example, the OS and app will not be backed up because the apps will be automatically downloaded from the store.
  • Reply 7 of 38
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     



    So it is just backing up the OS? What about your data?




    Here's the actual description of what iCloud Backup backs up:

    https://support.apple.com/kb/PH12519?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

  • Reply 8 of 38
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post





    Nope. iCloud Back Up will only back up necessary data. For example, the OS and app will not be backed up because the apps will be automatically downloaded from the store.

    So when you have to back up before you take your phone in for service, this is not a back up you can use to restore your phone with if they end up giving you a new phone with Apple Care, like what happen to me when my iPhone had hardware failure. I backed up to my Mac and when I got home I restored it with all my data intact. 

  • Reply 9 of 38
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jfc1138 View Post

     



    Here's the actual description of what iCloud Backup backs up:

    https://support.apple.com/kb/PH12519?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US




    I have never used iCloud. It sounds kind of complicated where you have to use all these different services Photos, iTunes Match, iCloud Drive etc. just to get your data backed up. I just looked online and I have 11 MB of "documents" but no clue what documents they are. Is there any way to see them? The only back up I would trust is a full back up to my Mac that includes ALL my data.

  • Reply 10 of 38
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,416member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     I backed up to my Mac and when I got home I restored it with all my data intact. 



    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

    The only back up I would trust is a full back up to my Mac that includes ALL my data.

     

    You can do both, for different reasons, as you've actually already illustrated.

  • Reply 11 of 38
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by boredumb View Post

     

     

    You can do both, for different reasons, as you've actually already illustrated.




    So if I have settings, and whatever iCloud backs up day to day, which might be nice to have, but how do you integrate that with a complete back up on my Mac which also has the settings, but an older version? How do you do both?

  • Reply 12 of 38
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,416member

    @mstone

    When you connect to your Mac, in iTunes you can decide which backup method to use.

    Select backing up to Mac for restore purposes, then set back to iCloud backup for continuous,

    but less comprehensive backup.

  • Reply 13 of 38
    boeyc15boeyc15 Posts: 986member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post





    Nope. iCloud Back Up will only back up necessary data. For example, the OS and app will not be backed up because the apps will be automatically downloaded from the store.

    Hmmm incomplete answer. If you have your own music or video files(copied from CD's etc) it will be backed up and take the limit quickly over 5Gb(your mileage may vary based on what you have).

  • Reply 14 of 38
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     



    I have never used iCloud. It sounds kind of complicated where you have to use all these different services Photos, iTunes Match, iCloud Drive etc. just to get your data backed up. I just looked online and I have 11 MB of "documents" but no clue what documents they are. Is there any way to see them? The only back up I would trust is a full back up to my Mac that includes ALL my data.


     

    Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage > it will show everything in storage from your apps and you can delete

  • Reply 15 of 38
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,155member
    iCloud backups occur automatically when the iPhone is plugged in to a power source with the screen locked and connected to a Wi-Fi network.

    As much as I love the cloud backup, this is the most infuriating thing to me. Why? Why the hell does it have to be connected to a power source and on WiFi and screen off. Let me choose how I want to backup. If I want to use my unlimited data while reading something on the Web outside I should still be able to backup. Sometimes the hand holding that Apple does for the lowest common denominator idiot is cumbersome. At least give my the option to do it deep within the settings.
  • Reply 16 of 38
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SirLance99 View Post





    As much as I love the cloud backup, this is the most infuriating thing to me. Why? Why the hell does it have to be connected to a power source and on WiFi and screen off. Let me choose how I want to backup. If I want to use my unlimited data while reading something on the Web outside I should still be able to backup. Sometimes the hand holding that Apple does for the lowest common denominator idiot is cumbersome. At least give my the option to do it deep within the settings.



    You can choose how you want to back up: it's just the automatic one uses the more conservative situation: but you can trigger an iCloud backup whenever you want. And that's not all that deep within the settings: Settings...iCloud...Backup...Backup NOW.

     

    BOOM, drop the mic

  • Reply 17 of 38
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,155member
    jfc1138 wrote: »

    You can choose how you want to back up: it's just the automatic one uses the more conservative situation: but you can trigger an iCloud backup whenever you want. And that's not all that deep within the settings: Settings...iCloud...Backup...Backup NOW.

    BOOM, drop the mic

    Sure. I get that. Only if you're on WiFi. You must of missed the part where I said I didn't want to be like the time.
  • Reply 18 of 38
    mstone wrote: »
    So when you have to back up before you take your phone in for service, this is not a back up you can use to restore your phone with if they end up giving you a new phone with Apple Care, like what happen to me when my iPhone had hardware failure. I backed up to my Mac and when I got home I restored it with all my data intact. 

    actually that is exactly what it is. in fact I've been handed a new iPhone at the Genius Bar and before I left the Apple Store had a device configured same I walked in with

    when I upgraded to a 5s all I did was log in via iCloud and everything restored.

    it is excellent, only exception I have turned off photos in backup, it causes backup to fail. iCloud Photos photo steam or whatever the f it is called is crap and I've turned it off as well.. i do not need every graphic I copy from the web or insert in a message being saved everywhere. great idea if we used our devices purely as cameras. I do now and manually transfer photos off to my laptop.
  • Reply 19 of 38
    tokyojimutokyojimu Posts: 420member
    boeyc15 wrote: »
    If you have your own music or video files(copied from CD's etc) it will be backed up and take the limit quickly over 5Gb

    No, the iCloud backup does not back up your media.
  • Reply 20 of 38
    [QUOTE]zroger73

    I'm "old fashioned" in this regard. I prefer to regularly sync my iPhone and iPad with iTunes on my iMac which alternates Time Machine backups between two external drives in different locations. If my iPhone, iMac, and two external drives are all destroyed simultaneously, chances are I will be, too, so it won't much matter. :)[/QUOTE]

    But what happens if a meteorite hits your house while you’re shopping ? Or perhaps just a mini-meteorite that hits Mac and backup HDs ? Or if you have a large incontinent cat ?

    ;)
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