The most straightforward ways of backing up your iPhone or iPad is by using iTunes to create an iPhone backup. To get started, plug your iPhone into your computer and open up iTunes. From there, select File > Devices > Transfer Purchases. This will save all of the content you’ve purchased via the App Store or iTunes Store on your computer.
How to backup your iPhone with iTunes automatically
The good news is that every time you plug your iPhone into your Mac or PC using the supplied USB cable – or even passed through via a connection on another piece of hardware, such as a speaker dock – your iPhone is backed up quickly and automatically.
How to perform a manual iPhone backup
If you’re feeling a bit paranoid – or, you need to force an iPhone backup since you know you’re about to migrate your data to a new device or install an new version of iOS – then right-click on your iPhone in iTunes’ Source pane and choose Back Up from the contextual menu.
How to manage your iPhone backups
You can have multiple iPhones and iPads synced to a single library, and can check their backups from the Devices tab in iTunes’ preferences. Hover over an entry and check the phone number, serial number and hardware IMEI reference to identify it.
How to delete iPhone backups
From this same preferences window you can also delete old iPhone backups. You might only see your most recent backup if you have the one device, but if you’re a bit of a power user then you might see backups for old devices too, taking up hard disk space.
Wipe your iPhone
You’ll rarely want to wipe your iPhone – unless you’re selling it or giving it away – but it’s easy to do. Select your iPhone under Devices in iTunes’ Source pane and click the Restore button in the Version section of the screen. You’ll be given the option to backup first.
How to restore from an iPhone backup
If you connect a new, blank iPhone to your computer, iTunes will offer to restore to it from an existing backup, but you can also force this restore manually, perhaps because you’ve added an app that’s causing problems and you want to roll back.
How to pick a backup
You may have multiple iPhones and iPads backed up to the same iTunes library, so after you’ve right-clicked on the device you want to restore and picked Restore From Backup, iTunes will ask you which backup to use. Ensure your devices have unique names!
How to migrate to a new device
If you’ve bought a new iPhone or iPod touch, it’s easy to migrate your apps, settings and more from your old one. Plug the old one in, perform a manual backup (see step 2) then connect the new device. iTunes will ask if you want to restore from an existing backup.
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