Being too busy to worry about backup, is like being too busy driving a car to put on the seatbelt.
~ T.E. Ronneberg
How to backup iPhone is the talk of the day. As promised in the title backing up your iPhone is both free and easy but of course you need to have an iPhone. You do have one right, you’re not just searching for this info for fun!
Okay, I joke. Of course you have an iPhone. Now, do you have an iPhone 3GS or newer? You do, bravisimo you are in luck.
You have an iPhone 3G or older? Sucks to be you. No, I joke, there is a way to backup some of your stuff which we’ll get to later.
Let’s first look at how to backup iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S.
How to backup iPhone with iCloud
The way to backup your iPhone if it is version 3GS or newer is easy especially since Apple came out with iCloud which syncs and backups everyone across your devices.
Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. It doesn’t backup everything, what it does backup is backup your settings, mail, contacts, calendars, photos, music and documents. So for all intents and purposes as far as your iPhone is concerned, iCloud backs up everything.
However, please do not rely on iCloud as your backup for your computer. It DOES NOT backup Microsoft Office products for example and it doesn’t backup your PDFs or folders. So beware.
Anyway, let’s get back to backing up your iPhone to iCloud.
First of all you need to make sure that you are running iOS5, so you want to make sure you have updated to the latest software version. The best way to do this is to plug your iPhone into your computer and open up iTunes and make sure you have the latest iTunes installed.
Then click on your iPhone link on the left menu bar and then click on Check for Update. iTunes will guide you through it.
Once you have iCloud installed on your iPhone with iOS5 you can set your iPhone to automatically start backing up every day.
You go into your iPhone settings and then click on iCloud and then on Storage & Backup and then you slide the Backup button to On.
If you don’t have an iCloud account you will need to set one up with an email address of your choice as well as a password. Keep this information somewhere secure and handy as you will need it if you ever want to restore from your iCloud backup. It is free to create an iCloud account and you get 5GB of free data storage.
Your iTunes bought music as well as your apps, books and Photo Stream do not count towards this free storage so 5GB is actually quite a bit.
However, Photo Stream only keeps the last 1,000 photos in the Cloud so you’ll want to use another backup service if you have many thousands of photos. Additionally, your cameral roll on your iPhone does count towards your 5GB quota so what I do is keep very minimal amount of photos in my camera roll. Actually, I keep none. After I’ve downloaded my photos to my laptop they are then backed up through a third party.
Like most of Apple’s products their additional storage that you can purchase is expensive. To buy more iCloud storage costs you $20 a year for 10GB (15GB total with your free 5GB), $40 for 20GB and $100 for 50GB.
In contrast, I pay less than $5 a month for 150GB of backup storage for my whole laptop.
So once you’ve setup iCloud and turned backup on, it will run on a daily basis so long as your phone is locked and connected to a power source and is connected to the internet via wifi.
I have found that in reality or real life, my iPhone only backs up every few days as I don’t plug it in to a power source on a daily basis. Still, this is usually sufficient for my purposes. If you want daily backups you’d do well to plug your iPhone into a power source every evening when you go to bed.
Nevertheless, you can backup your iPhone manually whenever you want too. Just go to Settings -> iCloud -> Storage & Backup -> and then click on Back Up Now.
You can also manually change what it is that is getting backed up by your iPhone under Settings -> iCloud and then you can slide the button to have back up on or off for Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Bookmarks, Notes, Photo Stream, Documents & Data and you can also ensure that Find My iPhone is on or off there as well.
The default for all settings is on. And that’s just how I keep mine. That is how to backup iPhone. It’s pretty simple.
But we’re not done, what if you have an iPhone 3G and not the newer ones? Let’s see.
How to backup my iPhone 3G or older
To back up an older iPhone like a 3G or older you’ll need to use a software provider. I use iDrive.
As long as you’re using iOS 4.3 you should be golden. Just download their app and it’ll walk you through it. iDrive also gives you 5GB free when you sign up for an account and this app will allow you to backup your iPhone contacts as well as your photos. Not fully featured but good enough until you get a newer iPhone.
If you’re looking for an unlocked Apple iPhone 3GS you can find one here for a pretty decent price. I also recommend iPhone: The Missing Manual if you really want to get the most out of your iPhone. After reading this, I reckon I was only using about 10% of my iPhone’s brain!