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Back Up and Restore - Apple iOS

How to back up and restore files on your Apple iOS device using iCloud or a computer.

Introduction

This step-by-step guide shows you how to back up and restore files on Apple iOS, which is the operating system used on your iPhone.

This guide includes screenshots of iOS 15.2.1 and macOS 12.0 Monterey but the steps are similar in other versions of iOS, iPadOS and macOS which are the operating systems used by Apple devices.

You can back up your iPhone data to the cloud with iCloud, or to a computer. This data can then be restored to return your apps, data and settings to how they were at a previous point in time.

Backups

Our devices are home to all of our important data. But if that device is compromised, damaged, lost or stolen, your data may be lost. Whether it’s hardware failure, theft, natural disaster or your device being infected with a virus, recovering data can be expensive or impossible.

That’s why it’s so important to regularly back updata to the cloud or an external storage device, like a hard drive.

A backup is a digital copy of your most important information.

When backing up data, copies of your files (e.g. photos, documents, videos, etc.) are saved to an external storage device or to an online server like the cloud.

Having a backup means you can restore your files if something goes wrong. It is a precautionary measure so that your data is accessible in case something happens to your computer. We recommend backing up your files regularly.

Tip: Check your backups regularly so that you are familiar with the recovery process, and ensure your backups are working properly.

Back up iPhone Data with iCloud

Backing up your iPhone’s data to iCloud means you can restore it to another device if your iPhone is lost, stolen or damaged. Once you enable iCloud backups, your iPhone will be automatically backed up to iCloud going forward without you needing to do anything.

When you sign up for iCloud, you automatically get 5GB of free storage. If you need more iCloud storage, you can upgrade to a premium subscription from your iPhone.

If at any point your iCloud storage becomes full, an alert will be shown in your device Settings, and automatic backups may pause until you free up some space or buy additional storage.

We recommend turning on multi-factor authentication for your Apple ID and iCloud account to help protect your files being accessed by cybercriminals.

Step 1

Select Settings.

Back up and restore Apple iOS steps

Step 2

Select your Apple ID.

Back up and restore Apple iOS steps

Step 3

Select iCloud.

Back up and restore Apple iOS steps

Step 4

Select iCloud Backup.

Back up and restore Apple iOS steps

Step 5

Use the toggle to turn on iCloud Backup.

Back up and restore Apple iOS steps

Restore iPhone Data with iCloud

If you need to restore your iPhone data, you will be able to by signing into your Apple ID when setting up the device you wish to restore data to. This is done from the initial set up screen seen after turning on a new or factory reset device.

Step 1

Select the language for the device, connect to Wi-Fi and create a passcode.

Back up and restore Apple iOS steps

Step 2

Select Restore from iCloud Backup. Sign into your Apple ID when prompted and choose the backup you wish to use.

Back up and restore Apple iOS steps

Step 3

Your iPhone will be restored to the previous iCloud backup. Keep it connected to Wi-Fi until it is complete. This process may take some time.

Back up and restore Apple iOS steps

For more information please visit Apple’s website

Back up iPhone Data to a computer

You can also back up your iPhone to a computer. You might consider this option if you have a lot of data or don’t have reliable access to fast internet. It can be done on either macOS devices or Windows (via iTunes).

The backup procedure listed for macOS is a new feature added in macOS Catalina (10.15), so if your computer is still using a previous version, you will need to update macOS or follow the iTunes method described for Windows – the steps are similar.

For macOS

Step 1

Plug your iPhone into your Mac device and select Finder.

Back up and restore Apple iOS steps

Step 2

Select your phone in the left sidebar. Then select Back up now.

You can also to back up your iPhone to iCloud or to your Mac, as well as options to automatically back up your device when connected.

Back up and restore Apple iOS steps

Step 3

Select Encrypt Backups.

Back up and restore Apple iOS steps

Step 4

Enter the password to encrypt the backups and select Set Password.

Back up and restore Apple iOS steps

An encryption password will keep your backup files secure and ensures that all of your data will be backed up. If you don’t use an encryption password, sensitive data such as health data, website history, call history, Wi-Fi passwords and saved settings will not be included in your backup. Use an encryption password if you want to back up this data and secure any other files in your backup, such as photos.

If you forget this encryption password, you will not be able to access your backup. Choose a password that is strong, unique and memorable, such as a passphrase. Consider storing your encryption password in a password manager.

For more information on passphrases and password managers visit cyber.gov.au

For more information please visit Apple’s website.
 

For Windows

Step 1

Plug your iPhone into your Windows device. Open iTunes and select your iPhone in the top left corner. 

Back up and restore Apple iOS steps

Step 2

In the sidebar select Summary and then select Back up Now.

You can choose to back up your iPhone to iCloud or to your computer, as well as options to automatically back up your iPhone when connected via cable or over Wi-Fi.

Back up and restore Apple iOS steps

Step 3

Select Encrypt Backups.

Back up and restore Apple iOS steps

Step 4

Set your password and select Set Password.

Back up and restore Apple iOS steps

An encryption password will keep your backup files secure and ensures that all of your data will be backed up. If you don’t use an encryption password, sensitive data such as health data, website history, call history, Wi-Fi passwords and saved settings will not be included in your backup. Use an encryption password if you want to back up this data and secure any other files in your backup, such as photos.

If you forget this encryption password, you will not be able to access your backup. Choose a password that is strong, unique and memorable, such as a passphrase. Consider storing your encryption password in a password manager.

For more information on passphrases and password managers visit cyber.gov.au.

Step 5 

You will see the iPhone back up progress, keep it plugged in until finished.

Back up and restore Apple iOS steps

For more information please visit Apple’s website.

Restore iPhone Data from a computer

If your iPhone is lost, damaged or stolen you can restore your files, apps and settings by restoring a backup. This can be done on either macOS devices or Windows (via iTunes).

The backup procedure listed for macOS is a new feature added in macOS Catalina (10.15), so if your computer is still using a previous version, you will need to update macOS or follow the iTunes method described for Windows – the steps are similar.

For macOS

Step 1

Plug your iPhone into the machine and select Finder.

Back up and restore Apple iOS steps

Step 2

Select your phone in the left sidebar. Then select Restore Backup. If you used an encryption password, enter it here.

The most recent backup will then be restored to your iPhone.

Back up and restore Apple iOS steps

For Windows

Step 1

Plug your iPhone into your Windows device. Open iTunes and select your iPhone in the top left corner.

Back up and restore Apple iOS steps

Step 2

Select Summary in the left sidebar then select Restore Backup. If you used an encryption password, enter it here.

The most recent backup will then be restored to your iPhone.

Back up and restore Apple iOS steps
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