As a new iPhone or iPad user, you're more concerned about using those exciting apps that you've been reading about and making the best use of the iPhone/iPad. Photos, videos, instant messaging, email.. that's what people largely do when they get new iPhones/iPads.
But as you use your iDevice, you begin to store data on it. Right from the time you save contacts to the Phone/Contacts app, your iPhone/iPad begins to store data that requires a backup so that you always have a safety net for the data. Thanks to iCloud and the smart integration via iTunes, you can take back ups pretty fast and easy.
Back up via iTunes
Typically, iTunes on PC/Mac is configured to backup your iPhone/iPad every time you connect it and sync the device. Some users change the settings and the default behavior stops but mostly, if you're a new user, the default settings makes sure iTunes takes a backup of your iDevice whenever you connect it.
Backing up on iTunes has its own advantages over backing up on iCloud. You have a raw physical data in folders that you can shift/move around as you want. And you don't have to worry about someone hacking into your iCloud account. The data is almost always safe (the exception being when your PC runs into some trouble).
To backup manually in iTunes 11.x:
- Connect your iPhone/iPad to the PC/Mac
- Open iTunes on the computer
- Right-click on your device from the sidebar and click on Back up now...
- Or, click on the device name from the top and then under the Summary tab, click on Back up Now (found under Backups).
You can also delete a backup if you don't want many backups to pile up on your disk. Here's how to delete backups to free up disk space.
Back up via iCloud
Apple and many others recommend this backup more because this is supposed to be a safer and an easier method. There is no plugging in and there is no need to manually backup. iCloud more or less automates the entire process so much that you don't have to worry at all.
To setup iCloud backup:
- Open the Settings app from your iPhone/iPad
- Tap on iCloud
- Now, scroll down and tap on Storage & Backup
- Switch ON iCloud Backup (You will be warned that the iPhone will not auto-sync when you connect to iTunes. More on this later. For the moment, tap on OK)
- If you're connected to a Wi-fi network, tap on Backup Now to initiate the backup.
With iCloud backups, your iPhone/iPad gets backed up automatically to your iCloud account. There's 5GB of free storage that comes with your iCloud account (upgradable) and this will be used for the backup. (Photos from Camera roll, Safari data, Mail, Calendar and almost everything else is backed up.)
The only big change is that next time you connect your iPhone to the computer, iTunes will only sync but not backup. You will have to manually backup your iPhone through iTunes to save a copy of the data on your computer.
So that's how to backup your iDevice and make sure you don't run into any data-related problems when you reset your iDevice.