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iPhone Backups – Is There a Difference Between iTunes and iCloud?

Hi Gary, I am a Patreon subscriber and I am trying to see if I can drop doing the iTunes backup of my iPad and iPhone? I have latest Mac software, and iOS too. There used to be a difference that if you only used iCloud, health data and some other stuff was not backed up. ie no full restore possible. Is the new Transfer software that seems to start when you buy a new phone, get over this limitation with an iCloud backup?

Comments: 5 Responses to “iPhone Backups – Is There a Difference Between iTunes and iCloud?”

    6 months ago

    Apple has a very clear page that tells you the difference between both of these backup methods.

    Some people may still like the local method if their bandwidth is limited or metered, or they need to do frequent restores from backups, such as testers or developers. And if you don’t want to pay $0.99 for some extra iCloud space but would need that space to do your backup.

    But otherwise, iCloud wins in most cases. It will backup anywhere and anytime, not just when you remember to do it. And even if you have a ton of things on your iPhone, your iCloud backup may be tiny. Mine is, because apps aren’t backed up (they just restore from the App Store) and neither is music (Apple Music) or photos (iCloud Photo Library). So it is basically settings and some app data. And a lot of app data is iCloud now too.

    I don’t know about the health and other data issue. As far as I know, all of your data is backed up except the obvious stuff that shouldn’t be, like your Touch ID fingerprint data. I don’t remember there being an issue with the Health app.

    6 months ago

    Thanks Gary. I would love to stop doing the iTunes backup. Do you know much about the ‘Transfer’ feature to a new phone with regard to backups? is everything transferred from one phone to the new one?

    6 months ago

    Jonathan: Do you mean the Quick Start method of transferring from an old iPhone to a new one? Apple has a page about that here:
    Yes, everything should be transferred. Though I’m sure apps must come from the App Store, not the transfer. But if you are in this situation with a new phone, why wouldn’t you use it? It isn’t like your old phone self-destructs at the end. You can check your new phone to make sure it is all in order before discarding it.

    6 months ago

    Brilliant!! Thank you. yes this is the way to go. I feel safe to delete the iTunes backups I have for both the iPad and iPhone. Could do with the space! :-)

    5 months ago

    Great, thanks Gary for sharing. Never notice this before

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