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Backing Up Your iPhone and iPad

Apple's iPhone and iPad devices have three easy to access backup systems available: iTunes backup to computer, iCloud backup, and Wi-Fi sync.


With more of our lives lived on and through the personal data devices that we use there is an immediate need to guarantee the data stored there is recoverable. Gone are the days when most people were able to recite the phone numbers of their closest friends. Gone are the days when new numbers were written down first and then later transcribed into a book or notepad until that number was memorized. Gone are the days when a camera had film and pictures had negatives as a backup to the photos being lost.

Now everything we do from gathering and keeping contact information to taking and storing pictures happens on a single, small device that is as easily misplaced as it is stolen or destroyed.

How Do I Protect My iPhone or iPad Data?

Apple's iPhone and iPad devices have three easy to access backup systems available: iTunes backup to computer, iCloud backup, and Wi-Fi sync. Each of these backup options is simple to configure and use. When used in combination, these three backup systems provide an almost bulletproof backup system for your iDevice.

iTunes Backup To Computer

Whenever your iDevice is plugged in to the computer that hosts iTunes, a sync is made between the iDevice and the home computer. During this sync process, iTunes makes a copy of the files on your iDevice on your local machine. The local machine backup used to be the default method for iDevice data protection until the introduction of the iCloud service. Now local machine backups are a secondary selection for non-iCloud backups and can be done as a manual option from the iDevice interface in iTunes.

iCloud Sync Backup

The now-default option for backing up an iDevice is iCloud sync. The iCloud sync option can be found in the same location as the local machine backup selection in the iTunes iDevice control interface. Under the automatically back up heading you will find a radial selection for iCloud. Selecting this option will backup essential aspects of the iDevice. In order to configure the specific aspects of your iDevice for backing up to the iCloud, you must first access the iDevice's settings. In the settings menu there will be a heading labeled iCloud and within this menu will be the advanced options available to iDevices.

Wi-Fi Sync Backup

Wi-Fi sync provides an alternative to iCloud and storing your private data in the cloud. The main benefits to Wi-Fi sync are the backups are on your computer, your backup storage is only limited by your home computer's drive size, and the Wi-Fi sync will activate anytime the iDevice is charged without needing to be connected to the local machine. The Wi-Fi sync backup operates the same as a local machine backup without needing to connect the iDevice directly to a computer. The option to enable Wi-Fi sync is found on the dame iDevice iTunes control interface under the "Options" menu that is below "Backups." Place a checkmark in the box next to "Sync with this (iPhone or iPad) over Wi-Fi."

Now when your iDevice is charging the sync process will automatically begin. You may also force the Wi-Fi sync from your iDevice if you are on the local machine's network. Access the iDevice's settings and select the "General" menu. In this menu there will be a selection called "iTunes Wi-Fi Sync" that will open to the manual Wi-Fi sync button. On this page, select the network of your local machine and press the "Sync Now."

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