We’re pretty dependent on our devices these days. Even my 12-year-old daughter felt the pain as she was a victim of the iOS 9 update bug and her phone had to get totally wiped. Luckily we have a good plan for backups.

It seems almost every day I see someone post a “hey, if you’ve been trying to get a hold of me, sorry, got a new phone and lost all my numbers” update. If they had their stuff backed up, wouldn’t be an issue.

2 Steps for Fail-Proof Apple Device Backups:

Step 1: Turn On iCloud Backup

In your device, go to Settings > iCloud > Backups and make sure it’s turned on. Make sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi for this.

That’s all there is to it! Now you can sleep easy knowing that if you drop your phone in the pool or your kid throws your iPad across the room and it shatters, you can just get a new device and restore it from your backups!

Step 2: Backup to Your Computer via iTunes

Your device should be associated with a computer running iTunes (either Mac or PC). That device is then connected to whatever iTunes/iCloud account you have set up within that computer.

Even though you now have your phone backed up to iCloud (see Step 1), it’s good to do an iTunes backup as well as it will then keep all your apps, movies and music in check so you won’t have to re-download to restore a backup. This backup also helps you keep any apps/music/videos/books that you didn’t purchase through iTunes backed up.

Just open iTunes and then connect your device to your computer. Once you’re connected, click the device icon that appears to make sure your settings are all dialed in:


You’ll then see the options for Backups for that device within your iTunes account (under Summary on the left menu):


You’ll notice a few things:

  • “Automatically Back Up” is set to iCloud. This we covered in Step 1 above, but this ensures your device has the important data always backed up regardless of whether I plugged it in.
  • On the right, under “Manually Back Up and Restore”, is what we’re talking about in this section. You want to manually come in and do a full backup (I have my Encrypted so it remembers all my passwords).
  • Under “Latest Backups” you’ll notice 2 different items: 1) the iCloud backup and 2) the computer backup. So right now, I’m fully covered!

Set yourself a reminder to do a full backup at least every few weeks. Definitely do a full manual backup prior to doing any software updates.

That’s all there is to it!

Just for peace of mind, here’s how all your “stuff” can/should be backing up:

  • Apps: through your Step 1 and Step 2 above, but connected to your iCloud account
  • Music, Videos, Books: through your Step 1 and Step 2 above, but connected to your iTunes account
  • Photos: through iCloud Photo Library (Settings > iCloud > Photos to confirm iCloud Photo Library is on)
  • Contacts: backed up to your iCloud account (Settings > iCloud > make sure Contacts is turned on)
  • Calendar: in sync with your iCloud account (Settings > iCloud > make sure Calendars is turned on)
  • Email: handled by your email provider depending on your settings (unless you use @me.com or @icloud.com email account, then they are handled in Settings > iCloud > Mail)

Go forth and backup!


With over a decade of experience, I have managed online marketing for a wide range of industries including biotech, high-tech, financial, higher education, non-profit, manufacturing, hardware providers, and startups. My specialty is helping business make the right turn with their online efforts focusing on lead generation and analytics.

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