Using and Customizing iPhone iCloud Backup

By default your iPhone will be backed up wirelessly to iCloud using iCloud Backup. Most iPhone users probably don't even know they have this turned on, but it will save them if they lose their iPhone. You can see how much space your iPhone backups are using and customize your backup. You can remove data from apps that you don't really need to be backed up.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Using and Customizing iPhone iCloud Backup.

So one of the best features of iCloud is the iCloud Backup of your iPhone. A lot of people have this and don't even know it's happening. In years past if somebody lost their phone they would be disappointed to find that all their photos were gone and all their data is going and all of that. That's because they weren't backing up to their Mac or backing up to their PC using iTunes.

But with iCloud Backup iPhones are automatically backed up to iCloud. You can, of course, turn this off, but it's on by default. So a lot of people just have it on and then are delighted to find out when they lose their iPhone that a new iPhone can just restore all their stuff. Even photos that were taken just before they lost their phone.

Now this is on by default. You can check it by going into Settings and then your Apple ID and then looking at iCloud and there's a setting for iCloud Backup. You can see it there at the bottom. If you go in it's just a switch to turn it on. You can manually backup now. Backups happen when you're connected to power and WiFi. So typically if you go home at night and you plugin and charge up your phone and you're connected to WiFi that's when the backup is going to happen. But it'll happen at various times. If you're traveling just make sure every once in awhile you're connected to both WiFi and power so you're iPhone can do a backup.

Now if you want to see what's going on with your backups you can go to Manage Storage in iCloud Settings. You'll see, in addition to the bar at the top that shows you Backups, you can tap on Backups and see what you've got there. So actually in this account I have not only this iPhone but also an iPad. Both are using some space. If I tap on the iPhone, this one, it will give me some information. So, for instance, I can see when the last backup was. I can see the size and it will give me an estimate of how much more is going to be added to that for the next backup.

Now also I get a list of apps and I can turn apps On or Off. This is great because if you're trying to stick with the free tier on iCloud, which is 5G of space right now, you can turn off apps that you don't care about backing up. For instance Audible is going to store all of my audio books there. I don't need to back those up. Audible has those backed up and I can always grab the book again from Audible. It's also going to sync my bookmarks and things to their service. I don't need it to save any data from Audible. I could turn that off if it was bigger. If you have video apps, you know the apps where you can download movies and stuff to watch, you can also turn those off because you don't need that data backed up and that's going to take a lot of space.

So you can go through and figure out which apps are important. Which apps are not. Turn it off to limit the amount of space that you're using in your iCloud Backup. So that's how you manage that. It's a great thing to have. It's great especially for typical iPhone users who maybe aren't really connecting to their computer and backing up that often. It just keeps everything backed up and I'm sure it solves a lot of headaches for Apple and employees at Apple stores who can easily give somebody a new iPhone and get all their data back and, you know, have everything setup like before even though the user didn't really even think about backups at all when they had their old iPhone.

Comments: 6 Responses to “Using and Customizing iPhone iCloud Backup”

    1 month ago

    Does the iPhone backup also backup all of the Contacts, Emails etc???

    1 month ago

    Murray: Maybe, but you probably have Contacts all saved to iCloud, right? If not, then why not? As for Emails, it may back up what you have locally cached on the iPhone, but maybe not. Again, it shouldn’t matter since you are using a cloud service for email, right? (iCloud, Gmail, or any IMAP server). If you aren’t using a cloud service for contacts and email, but you are concerned about backups, then you should be using a cloud service for contacts and email. You shouldn’t rely on simple device storage backup for that.

    4 weeks ago

    Gary, if I create a new contact on my iPhone how long should it take to show up in contacts on my iPad?

    4 weeks ago

    Karl: If both are on, connected to Wi-Fi and power, it should be from 1 second to 2 minutes.

    4 weeks ago

    I have an Iphone 6, and i keep getting a message that there is not enough space in icloud to back it up., and it hasn’t been backed up in weeks. I plug it in everynight, and its always connected to wifi. I checked in settings
    and have only used 2.9gb out of the 5. There should be plenty of room to back it up. How can I fix this?

    4 weeks ago

    Rita: Following along with the tutorial here, what does it say about your next backup size? Have you tried to do what I suggest in this video and look at the apps you have backing up and maybe turn some of them off?

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