Ultimate Guide: How to Back Up Your iPhone

Tips • Updated on Mar 6, 2024

iphone backup

There is no denying that iPhones run into fewer problems than other smartphones. And we must appreciate Apple’s regular updates and attention to detail.

Yet, it does not mean that iPhones NEVER encounter issues!

Over these years, we have seen many issues affecting iPhone devices, especially during upgrades. We do not mean to scare you here.

Instead, we want to emphasize that iPhones, too, are subject to risk.

And we believe it is a good enough reason to back up your iPhone as often as possible.

Let’s listen to the people who create these iPhones — at Apple.

A backup allows you to copy and save the information from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. If you replace your device, you can use a backup to transfer your information to a new device.

The actual need for iPhone backups

It’s not the complete story. The company does not talk about instances when your iPhone stops working or needs a reset. In case you didn’t know, iPhone resets are more common than you think.

You may have to reset your iPhone if

  • You face software errors
  • Want to get rid of contents inside
  • You want to sell the device
  • Carry out hardware/software repairs

And, when you reset your iPhone, all the data is lost. So, it will become (almost) like a brand-new iPhone.

What do you do about the data?

When upgrading to a new phone, you can transfer the data manually. But what if you don’t have access to the old device?

It’s where an iPhone backup comes in handy. If you have a complete iPhone backup, you can restore it to your new device — and you are ready to go.

Here’s the thing, though.

There are many ways to back up an iPhone. If you are new to the Apple ecosystem, it is easy to get confused between these options.

But, worry not; you are in the right place.

In this ultimate guide, you can find everything you need to know about iPhone backups and how to back up your iPhone.

At SweetBits, we have been using iPhones for over a decade, and we know what you want from the perfect iPhone backup experience.

Read also: The Ultimate Guide to Mac Backup | PC Backup

Ways to back up an iPhone

As we said earlier, you can back up your iPhone in a few ways. Let’s explore these options, discussing their pros and cons.

Method #1 Finder/iTunes backup

You can use Finder or iTunes to back up your iPhone if you have a Mac or PC. Of course, because Mac comes from Apple, you get a bunch of extra options when backing up your iPhone. However, the core features stay the same.


The Process

Backing up your iPhone using Finder (on Mac)/iTunes (on PC) is an easy process. Once you have connected your iPhone to the Mac/PC using a USB cable, the device will detect the iPhone. Then, you can open Finder/iTunes and navigate to the Backups section. You should be able to create a new backup or manage existing ones.


  • It is easy and does not require the installation of third-party apps
  • You can create a full backup of an iPhone in a single click
  • Finder/iTunes lets you manage other aspects of the iPhone
  • It is the safest method since Finder/iTunes is made by Apple


  • It does not offer room for customizing the backup
  • Some features are not available on iTunes (Windows)

Method #2 iCloud backup

iCloud Backup is perhaps one of the best features of the iPhone. It means you can store an entire backup of your iPhone on Apple’s secure servers. You can access and restore these backups whenever you want. It is a great way to protect your iPhone data from accidental loss.


The Process

On your iPhone, you can go to Settings -> iCloud -> iCloud Backup and toggle the button for iCloud Backup. Once you have enabled the option, your iPhone will periodically back up the content to iCloud servers. It is all encrypted and requires your Apple ID credentials to work.


  • It does not require a connection to Mac/PC
  • iCloud Backup will create a comprehensive data backup
  • You can restore backups using a WiFi connection
  • It takes care of dynamic app data as well


  • The 5GB of free iCloud storage is barely enough for iCloud Backup
  • You cannot decide what you back up; lack of customization

iCloud backup: data privacy concerns and alternatives

While iCloud backups offered a convenient way to store your iPhone data, privacy concerns remained due to the lack of end-to-end encryption. However, iOS 16 introduced a significant improvement with Advanced Data Protection. This feature allows you to encrypt your iCloud backups, including messages, photos, and files, ensuring only you have access to your data. But do remember that losing the encryption key means losing access to your data as well. Apple won’t be able to help you recover it.

If you prioritize even greater control over their data or seek additional features, exploring third-party cloud backup services with strong encryption might still be preferable. Popular examples include Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive and IDrive.

Method #3 Using third-party backup apps

If you do not like Finder or iCloud backup options, you can rely on third-party iPhone backup software. These tools are available for Mac and Windows and allow you to create customized iPhone backups with ease. In other words, third-party iPhone backup apps often bring the best of both worlds.

The Process

Of course, the process of using third-party apps to back up the iPhone will vary based on the app. However, in most cases, you can connect your iPhone to a PC/Mac via USB or WiFi and create a backup. You will also get access to additional features in the package.


  • The iPhone backup process is easy and intuitive
  • The method doesn’t require you to pay for iCloud storage space
  • Depending on the tool, you can create backups via WiFi
  • You get additional iPhone management features in the app


  • You may have to pay an additional price for the third-party app
  • Some (bad) apps can offer a subpar iPhone backup experience

Best iPhone backup tools for Mac and Windows

As we said earlier, many third-party apps are available for iPhone backup.

However, you must choose the best app if you need a superior User Experience. At the same time, you should also ensure the safety of your device.

Here’s what we did. We created a list of the best iPhone backup tools available for Windows and Mac.

#1 iMazing

iMazing is an all-in-one iPhone management tool that works well for backups. In addition, it is available for both PC and Mac, offering almost the same set of features.

imazing backup

Compared to Finder/iTunes backups, iMazing offers a lot of advantages. For instance, you can wirelessly back up your iPhone automatically. At the same time, the program does not compromise the security of your iOS backup; everything is end-to-end encrypted and AES-256-encrypted.

iMazing is also smart because it will notify you about regular backup sessions. So, if you are behind schedule, you get a notification. Most importantly, though, iMazing Backup lets you customize what you want to back up. For example, you don’t want to back up photos? Alright, iMazing can set it up for you.

We should not forget that iMazing is an all-in-one iPhone management suite. So, you can easily access many features like Photos management, Backup Extraction, Configurator, Profile Editor, Calendar Manager, Phone Management, and WhatsApp Data Transfer.

Pricing: iMazing has a free version. However, if you need the complete set of features, you can get a license for 3 devices for just $49.99. The developer also offers upgrades and educational discounts.

#2 Dr.Fone – Phone Backup (iOS)

Dr.Fone – Phone Backup (iOS) is an excellent choice if you want to back up your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to your PC or Mac. It is part of the Dr.Fone Toolkit for iOS. It is also available for PC and Mac.


As you can guess, Dr.Fone – Phone Backup (iOS) has many features. First and foremost, you get an optimized backup option. You can back up and restore data as you wish. There are also options to preview the contents of a backup and enable incremental restore.

As we saw in the case of iMazing, Dr.Fone also lets you back up wirelessly. In addition, there is a great option to automate the backup process based on your preferences. However, we did not find ‘smart’ features to remind you about upcoming backup sessions.

Here is the problem, though. Dr.Fone – Phone Backup (iOS) can be pretty expensive for a single backup tool. With this package, you get only the backup option — nothing else. So, you need to purchase extra modules if you want additional features such as phone transfer and data management.

Pricing: $29.95 per year for a one-year license for 1-5 mobile devices. You can also get a lifetime license for $39.95 for 1-5 mobile devices.

#3 AnyTrans

AnyTrans from iMobile is another all-in-one manager for your iOS and iPadOS devices, available for Windows and Mac.


Even though the tool focuses primarily on data transfer, the backup options are pretty awesome. As you can guess, it comes with an option for flexible backup, meaning that you can customize what you back up. At the same time, AnyTrans does not compromise on the security front.

Once again, we could not find many advanced features in the backup department. However, the flexibility of the app is a different story altogether. For instance, you can access and extract local backups and iCloud backups.

So, if you need a complete management suite that offers standard backup options for your iPhone, you can never go wrong with AnyTrans. Compared to other tools on this list, the product also comes with a reasonable price tag.

Pricing: $39.99 per year for unlimited devices per Mac. $59.99 for the lifetime plan, for unlimited devices per Mac.

How to back up your iPhone with iMazing?

After comparing their features and multiple aspects, we believe iMazing is the best way to back up iPhones easily. One, it brings the best of both worlds in that you can customize and automate the backup process. Two, you can enjoy smart features like notifications and additional scheduling.

We wanted to show you how easy it is to back up an iPhone using iMazing.

Step #1

iMazing connect

Download and install iMazing on your PC/Mac and connect your iPhone or iPad to the computer. We recommend using the official (or MFi-certified) USB-C or Lightning cable for the connection.

In a second or two, iMazing will detect your device.

You must enter the iPhone/iPad passcode and Trust the computer to continue with iTunes.

Step #2

Now you have to navigate to Backups from the sidebar menu. Since there are no existing backups, you can click on the ‘Back Up Now’ button to proceed.

Step #3

iMazing backupoptions

In this step, you can find different options regarding the backup. For instance, you can set up an automatic backup schedule.

Alternatively, you can change preferences regarding backup encryption and backup location. Once you have made the changes, you can click on the Back-Up button.

Step #4

iMazing backuping

Now, you can see the Backup process page. You can wait while iMazing completes the iPhone backup task.

You can also close the window and do something else. iMazing will notify you once the backup is done.

That’s it! You have successfully backed up your iPhone using iMazing.

See also: How to Backup an iPhone or iPad to an External Drive or Another Location

Which is better?

Now, it’s time to decide which one of these methods is the better way to back up an iPhone.

Here’s what we think:

  • Finder/iTunes Backup is good if you want a hassle-free way to back up your iPhone. It’s so simple that a kid can do it.
  • iCloud Backup is also great because you don’t have to worry about cables and schedules. It is an easy way to keep periodic updates easier.

However, both these come with their share of problems.

For instance, Finder/iTunes Backup is not flexible at all. More importantly, you are stuck with the limited controls on iTunes. iTunes/Finder is also known to show many issues.

On the other hand, iCloud Backup can be pretty expensive. You should spend a considerable amount per month to get iCloud storage from Apple.

We think third-party iPhone backup tools are the better options after considering both the points above.

In particular, we recommend iMazing, which is feature-rich and intuitive simultaneously.

Here are some advantages we loved:

  • You have to pay only once; everything else is stored on your PC/Mac
  • You can back up your iPhone in both wired and wireless modes
  • There are ways to customize and automate the backup process
  • You get smart reminders if you are behind on the backup schedule

We think these are enough to make things awesome. But importantly, think about your specific needs and preferences to choose the best backup method for you.

Factors to consider

Picking the right iPhone backup method boils down to three key factors: data volume, backup frequency, and storage preference.

  • Large data stores? Consider iTunes or specific third-party tools offering ample storage. If your data is smaller, iCloud’s free tier might suffice.
  • Want automatic backups? iCloud is convenient. Prefer manual control? iTunes or third-party options offer more scheduling flexibility.
  • Finally, choose your storage location: local on your computer with iTunes or cloud-based with iCloud or other providers.

Ultimately, choose the option that best fits your specific data needs, desired backup frequency, and storage preference.


How frequently should I back up my iPhone?
You should back up your iPhone regularly, preferably weekly. Consider increasing the frequency if you frequently add or modify important data like contacts, messages, videos or photos.

How do I backup everything on my iPhone?

You can back up everything on your iPhone using Finder/iTunes, iCloud, and third-party apps. Each method has its share of advantages and disadvantages. For instance, Finder Backups are not flexible, but the process is easy.

How do I back up everything before I get a new phone?

If you want to upgrade to a new iPhone, iCloud Backup may be the best option. You can back up everything to Apple’s secure servers in a single click. Then, when you have the new phone, you can sign in using your Apple ID, and everything should be excellent.

How do I back up my iPhone without iCloud?

You should use a third-party iPhone backup software if you do not want to pay additional charges for iCloud storage. This way, you can ensure maximum-quality backups without worrying about extra monthly costs. Here’s a guide on how to backup iPhone without iCloud.

What’s the difference between iCloud backup and iTunes backup?
iCloud backup stores your data in the cloud, making it accessible from anywhere and convenient for automatic backups. In contrast, iTunes backup requires connecting your iPhone directly to your computer for a local storage solution.


What do you think about our ultimate coverage of backing up your iPhone?

It’s also better to have multiple backups for your iPhone. For instance, even if you have set up iCloud Backup, you can take local backups once in a while.

By the way, it does not matter which way you use; you should always keep your iPhone backed up.

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