How to back up an iPhone

Backing up your iPhone can save your data from tech limbo

Knowing how to back up an iPhone can be the difference between losing all your data or not when you break or lose your gadgets.

Losing your phone or smashing it so badly you can’t even use it, is a tech nightmare. But it’s the data inside that really matters for most of us. Not the glass and aluminum on the outside.

Use an iPhone as Apple intended and it’s almost difficult to lose most of the stuff we cherish, like photos and messages. However, you should still school up on backups to make sure you are ready for the worst.

We’ll look at the ways you can back up your data with Apple’s own measures, as well as third-party ways to keep your data safe.

How to back up an iPhone to iCloud

Apple likes to make life easy if, and it’s a big ‘if’, you buy into the Apple way of doing things. Its devices are knitted together by iCloud, the company’s online backup service.

This is built into all iPhones and makes securing your data blissfully easy.

To check you have iCloud backup activated, go to Settings on your device, tap your name at the top of the list and select iCloud, near the top of the menu system. On this page you’ll see a list of all the apps and services that are currently hooked up to iCloud.

Photos is the big memory drain. Tap on the Photos entry in the iCloud page and you get an idea of how it works. As standard in 2019, iPhones are set to a mode called “Optimize iPhone Storage”.

This uploads your photos to iCloud at full resolution, and, when your iPhone starts to run out of space, quietly replaces those local files with smaller, less detailed ones.

Game Center is also very important. It saves your progress in many games, so you don’t have to restart completely if you upgrade your phone or lose it.

But how does iCloud backup work? Your iPhone will automatically update its cloud backup regularly. For example, right now at 9:46am, our iPhone shows its iCloud backup as last updated at 7:39am.

You can do this manually too. In Settings > iCloud > iCloud Backup you’ll see the master switch for your iCloud backup, and the option to force a refresh of what’s held in iCloud.

iCloud is breezy, easy and reliable. But if you use it quite a bit, you’ll soon butt up against the Apple upsell. You get 5GB of online storage as standard, which won’t go very far for photographer types.

Head to Settings > Manage Storage Plan > Change Storage plan and you can upgrade to up to 2TB of space. You can choose to pay $1.49 per month, which is cheap peace of mind.

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