You have two primary options to backup your iOS device. You can backup to your computer, or backup using iCloud. Most people will want to backup to their computer. But frequent travelers and those without a computer will want to use the iCloud method. You can also backup to both.
Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today’s episode let’s look at the difference between iCloud and iTunes backup for your iPhone and figure out which one you should use.
So I get questions about whether or not you should be using the iCloud backup option or just regular iTunes backup to your computer for your iPhone or other iOS device. I also find a lot of people using the wrong one. It is important to understand the difference between the two and figure out which one you should use.
First it is important to understand that there are actually three ways that your data can be backed up. The first way is if you use Cloud Services. Now watch episode 835 and it explains how Cloud Services works like iCloud. Things like contacts and events with iCloud are saved on the server. So you don’t actually have to back them up because they are not actually just on you iPhone. They are also in the cloud. If you were to loose your iPhone and get a new one you would just sign into your iCloud account and you have all that stuff there. So you don’t really have to backup that stuff up because is it automatically backed up by its very nature.
But there are things on your iPhone that do need to be backed up. For instance your Settings or Apps that you may have downloaded and saved documents and saved other pieces of information say even games that have saved game states that is all saved on your iPhone. That needs to be backed up as well. Of course there are pictures that you have taken on your iPhone that you haven’t yet uploaded to iPhoto on your Mac or to your PC.
Then there is a third set of things on your iPhone that don’t get backed up no matter which method you use because these don’t need to be. These are things like music that you’ve purchased or music that you uploaded from your computer or Apps that you have downloaded. These are things that you’ve got copies of already so they don’t need to be backed up. If you are syncing photos from iPhoto on your Mac to your iPhone those photos should be in iPhoto on your Mac so there is no need to create another copy, a third copy of them, as a backup to your iPhone.
The same thing for Apps. Those apps exist on Apple servers. You download them, you update them. There is no reason for you to have a personal backup of that app because if you were to loose your iPhone you would simple restore the iPhone and then redownload those apps. Those apps are available for you to download again. There is no reason to have a backup copy of your own.
So let’s take a look at iTunes now. I’ve connected my iPhone to iTunes and I’ve turned on the left side bar in the View menu so I can easily select the iPhone here. I’ve gone to the Summary page. This gives you all the different options for backup.
So one of the things you will see here under Backups area you can see you can choose between iCloud and This Computer. This computer is the old way of doing it and the current way for most people and also allows you to create an encrypted backup here locally as well. You can switch to doing an iCloud backup.
It is important realize that if you switch to doing an iCloud backup it doesn’t mean that you can’t do both. If you switch to doing an iCloud backup that is the automatic setting. But you will still be able to come here and hit this Back Up Now button to backup or you can Control click on the iPhone itself and get the option to backup to your Mac. So you can still manually backup to your Mac while automatically backing up to iCloud.
You also have some options here below. For instance you can turn on Sync with this iPhone over Wi-Fi so you don’t actually have to connect physically a cable to your Mac. It is just enough for them to be on the same network and then you can perform you sync including the backup.
You can also set it to Automatically sync when this iPhone is connected which can make backups even more convenient. If you don’t have a computer so you can’t access those settings you can go in your iPhone to Settings app under iCloud and you see the Storage & Backup option there and that is where you can switch on the iCloud backup.
So which one should you be using. Well in most cases you should just use the regular iTunes backup, not the iCloud backup. What the iCloud backup is great for is for someone that either doesn’t have a computer to backup their iPhone to or they travel so much or are away from their computer so much that they rarely get to backup their iPhone that way. Someone that travels all the time can backup using Wi-Fi at work, at home, at hotels, at other places they stay and you don’t have to worry about being away from your computer for weeks on end and not getting a backup.
But otherwise if you do have your computer readily available the standard iTunes backup is fine.
Using iCloud backup is going to be slower because it is going to be over Wi-Fi and then over your internet connection and if you have say at home limited bandwidth with your internet there then it can really slow things down or eat away at your bandwidth allotment. This can really be a problem if you take a lot of pictures with your iPhone, especially pictures and video, because those files are large and as long as you are in your camera roll and there are things that haven’t been backed up elsewhere that means they are going to be backed up over iCloud, over that internet connection which is going to be slow.
So regular iTunes backup is fine for most people especially if you sync everyday or at least several times week which you should be doing anyway for other reasons. If you travel a lot though iCloud backup is a good alternative and if you travel sometimes it might be a good idea to actually use both. Just remember to do your manual backup to your Mac every once in a while when you sync.
The most important thing to do is to at least use one of these options and do it regularly so that if you loose your iPhone, and it is so easy to do that, then you have all your data.
Hope you found this useful. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.