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What does my Backup actually backup?

data backup

When it comes to iOS devices one thing is for certain, each device records, remembers, recalls, keeps, tracks, processes, complies our Personal Data on a daily basis. But what if something happens to that device? A shattered iPhone or iPad is never expected but is always a possibility. Devices can be replaced, however most Personal Photos, Files, Movies, Music and Documents--Also known as Data--cannot be replaced with money alone. On that Note, How in the internet do I get my device backed up? Here is a comprehensive guide to help you choose which backup method to use.

iCloud was released in 2011 and compatible with iOS 5 and later or OS X Lion 10.7.5 or later. Other Apple Products released that year include iPhone 4s, an updated MacBook Air, iPad Air 2, the Apple Thunderbolt Display.

iCloud backups are performed from the iOS device that needs to be backed up, and do not require another Computer to be completed. In Order for a device to backup to iCloud Backup must first be enabled. To check if iCloud Backup is enabled see our previous post by clicking the button below.

iCloud backups require an Internet connection. The preferred type of connection is WiFi, but wired network and Cellular network also work to backup to iCloud. Non-WiFi Connections may require additional setup.

Once Connected there must be enough available storage space in the iCloud account to store the created backup. Every Apple ID account comes with 5 GB of iCloud Storage; however, Apple has published information on how to purchase iCloud+ additional storage if you require more than 5 GB or have already used all your iCloud Storage space. Click on the Button below to be directed to Apple's Documentation on Upgrading iCloud Storage.

iCloud backups contain nearly everything stored on the iOS device, including App Data, Device settings, Home Screen layout, any Apple Watch data, all messages in the Messages app, any Photos and Videos on the device.

iCloud backups DO NOT include:

  • Information already stored in iCloud, such as iCloud Photos, iCloud Music purchases, iCloud Contacts, and iCloud Calendars.

  • Any data loaded onto the device from an Internet Account, such as Gmail or Exchange. Apple iCloud Mail Data.

  • Apple Pay Information and Settings.

  • Face ID or Touch ID Settings.

If you have enabled iCloud backup, you will be relived to know iCloud automatically attempt to backup every time certain conditions are met. Wen your iOS device is Connected to WiFi, connected to a Power source and the device is locked, iCloud attempts a backup.

Enough about iCloud. If you do not want to use iCloud or if you want an additional layer of security, you can also consider using a physical hard drive to backup your device.

Physical Hard Drive Backup

This method provides a local backup on your computer, which can be particularly useful if you have a large amount of data or if you prefer not to rely solely on cloud storage.

data backup

Step-by-Step Guide to Backing Up Using a Physical Hard Drive:

  1. Connect Your Device to Your Computer:

  • Use a USB cable to connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to your Mac or PC.

  1. Open Finder (on macOS Catalina and later) or iTunes (on macOS Mojave and earlier):

  • On macOS Catalina and later, open Finder.

  • On macOS Mojave and earlier, open iTunes.

  • If prompted, enter your device passcode or trust this computer by following the on-screen instructions.

  1. Locate Your Device:

  • In Finder, your device will appear in the sidebar under "Locations."

  • In iTunes, you should see an icon representing your device near the top left of the window.

  1. Choose Backup Options:

  • In the Summary tab (or General tab in Finder), you'll find options for backing up your device.

  • Select "Back up all of the data on your iPhone to this Mac" (or "This computer" in iTunes) to create a local backup.

  • If you want to encrypt your backup to include account passwords, Health data, and HomeKit data, check the "Encrypt local backup" box and create a password.

  1. Start the Backup:

  • Click "Back Up Now" to begin the backup process.

  • You can monitor the progress in the status bar at the top of the iTunes or Finder window.

  1. Transfer the Backup to a Physical Hard Drive:

  • Once the backup is complete, you can find the backup files on your computer.

  • On macOS, backups are typically stored in ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/.

  • On Windows, backups are usually found in \Users\[Your Username]\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\.

  • Copy the backup folder to your external hard drive for safekeeping.

Time Machine Backup on macOS

Another robust backup method available for Mac users is using Time Machine, Apple's built-in backup feature. Time Machine automatically backs up your entire system, including system files, applications, accounts, preferences, music, photos, movies, and documents.

Setting Up Time Machine:

  1. Connect an External Hard Drive:

  • Connect an external hard drive to your Mac. It should be formatted for macOS to use it with Time Machine.

  1. Select Your Backup Disk:

  • Open Time Machine preferences from the Time Machine menu in the menu bar.

  • Click "Select Backup Disk," then choose your external hard drive from the list of available disks and click "Use Disk."

  1. Configure Backup Options:

  • After selecting your backup disk, Time Machine will start making periodic backups automatically. You can manually start a backup by selecting "Back Up Now" from the Time Machine menu.

  • Ensure "Back Up Automatically" is checked in the Time Machine preferences.

  1. Restore From Time Machine:

  • If you need to restore your data, you can enter Time Machine from the menu bar and navigate through your backups to find the specific files or entire system state you wish to restore.

Comparing iCloud, Physical Hard Drive, and Time Machine Backups

iCloud Backup:

  • Pros:

  • Convenient and automatic, as long as the device is connected to WiFi and power.

  • Can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.

  • Stores backups securely in the cloud.

  • Cons:

  • Limited to available iCloud storage space (5 GB free, with options to purchase more).

  • Requires an internet connection to back up and restore.

Physical Hard Drive Backup:

  • Pros:

  • No storage limitations other than the available space on your computer and external hard drive.

  • Does not require an internet connection for backup or restore.

  • Backups can be encrypted for added security.

  • Provides a physical copy that you can control and manage.

  • Cons:

  • Requires a physical connection to a computer.

  • Manual process unless you set it to automatically back up when the device is connected.

  • Potential risk of data loss if the hard drive fails, so it’s wise to use a reliable drive and possibly keep multiple backups.

Time Machine Backup:

  • Pros:

  • Fully automated once set up, with hourly backups.

  • Backs up the entire system, making it easy to restore to a specific point in time.

  • User-friendly interface for browsing and restoring files.

  • Cons:

  • Requires a dedicated external hard drive with sufficient storage.

  • External drive must be connected regularly for backups to occur.

Additional Backup Tips

  • Regular Backups:

  • Make sure to back up your device regularly, especially before major updates or repairs.

  • Multiple Backup Methods:

  • Consider using both iCloud and a physical hard drive or Time Machine to have a redundant backup, ensuring your data is protected in multiple locations.

  • Check Backup Integrity:

  • Periodically check your backups to ensure they are up-to-date and accessible.

In conclusion, backing up your iOS device and Mac is essential to safeguard your personal data. Whether you choose iCloud for its convenience and accessibility, a physical hard drive for comprehensive local storage capabilities, or Time Machine for automated system-wide backups, the key is to ensure your data is regularly and securely backed up. By following this guide, you can confidently protect your precious memories and important information from unexpected events.

Stay safe and always keep your data backed up!

data backup


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