Mobile phones these days are the bedrock upon which we build our digital lives. With at least half of the world’s population using smart devices and with over half of the world’s web traffic coming from mobile phones, the number of users storing their personal data on smartphones today exceeds 50 percent — so it was shown in the Bitdefender research. We might seldom think about it, but those are colossal amounts of information that we entrust our smartphones with: from photo collections, text messages and documents to payment information and health data, accessory setups, settings, and much more… all blithely kept in a single copy.
At the same time, while iOS devices might not be so prone to malicious apps being downloaded from third-party marketplaces, they remain in danger of getting lost, damaged, or stolen — and, needless to say, severe data loss may entail catastrophic results for its owner.
In this article, we’ll go over the surest ways to keep your iPhone’s important data safe no matter what happens — because it’s always better to take action to prevent distress than to deal with its aftermath.
Apple’s Backup Solutions
While the world-wide network offers you a multitude of applications and services that claim to be able to back up your entire system, the truth is they can only do so in part due to software limitations. In case you seek to back up not just your media files, but also your contact list, text messages, settings and applications data, iCloud and iTunes will be the only complete options for you to do so.
Available on every iPhone with at least iOS 5, iCloud is a built-in backup feature that can preserve your iPhone’s data automatically, offering up to 5GB of files to be uploaded for free. However, with photos and videos filling up the storage pretty quickly, you may need to upgrade your iCloud Backup plan for a monthly fee. Additionally, if you take a lot of pictures, you can back up your most recent 1000 photos in My Photo Stream without them being counted against your iCloud storage limit.
The prices for additional space are kept within the average range, and include three plans to choose from: 50GB for $0.99, 200GB for $2.99, and 2TB for $9.99.
If you’d like to give it a shot, here’s how to enable iCloud on your device:
Step 1. Connect your device to a Wi-Fi network
Step 2. Go to Settings > iCloud > Backup
Step 3. Enable iCloud Backup (is not enabled already)
Step 4. Finally, tap Back Up Now
Once done, you check your backup by diving into the Settings block > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage, and selecting your device. You should see your latest backup listed.
Being a convenient media library, player, and streaming platform, iTunes also allows you to copy literally everything from your iPhone (pictures, videos, text messages, app data, etc), and do it as often as you want — since the app is free, your backup is free. All it takes to preserve your files is to install iTunes to your computer (PC or Mac) and permit your phone to communicate with your machine — either via Wi-Fi, or by connecting the devices with a USB cable. Just sync content from your computer to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch — and manage your entire media collection in one place.
Nonetheless, there is one important thing to keep in mind when resorting to this method. Even though iTunes allows you to set up automatic backups, you will most likely end up turning it off as it uses up a lot of network bandwidth (such as LTE, 3G, or 4G) at the wrong time. That means, the backup will have to be performed manually
If you still find this backup method suitable for your needs, follow these steps:
Step 1. Connect your iPhone to your computer.
Step 2. Open iTunes.
Step 3. Click File > Devices > Backup, or hit the “Backup Up Now” button from the Summary page.
Finally, to ensure the safety of your files, it is vital to choose a convenient schedule and perform backups on a regular basis.
Non-Apple Online Storage Options
Online storage services are another great option to consider for those seeking a reliable backup means. Usually cheaper than the storage offered by iCloud, these apps not only automatically backup or sync data from your iPhone to the cloud, but also grant you the freedom to switch to Android at any time and still have access to all your files via phone (which can be especially convenient for people who don’t plan to stay with Apple forever). What’s more, some cloud environments can additionally provide you with the extra protection of your data, applying double encryption or some other helpful tools designed to significantly reduce the risk of leakage or theft of the information in the cloud.
Notwithstanding the undeniable advantages they propose, online storage services don’t represent all-in-one backup solutions: they can be used to back up all your photos, videos (sometimes) and contacts, but In most cases won’t apply to your text messages, voicemail, settings, app data, and other things you have only on your phone.
Along with that, cloud storage still can become a peachy supplement when you’re running out of space on your free iCloud Backup space, or serve as a great alternative when there is not enough space on your computer’s hard drive for iTunes backup. After all, there’s an additional benefit of using this backup method which implies you can have access to all your files and view or share them with people over the Internet or through the iPhone app, even when you’re not using your own devices.
Google Drive, Amazon Cloud Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and Dropbox are some of the most widespread online storage services, but there are many options available on the net for every taste. Some of these services will have separate apps that you can download to take advantage of individual features. For instance, you can download Google Photos, a separate app from Google Drive, to manage your photos online, or set up your mail, contacts, calendar, and notes to sync with services like Gmail and Outlook.
Finally, the most complete iPhone backup solution available today is a layered backup. Having one centralized repository for all your digital data is at the core of every backup plan, which typically is your home computer or laptop. To ensure the safety of your iPhone data simply back it up to your computer and then back up your computer to the cloud.
With that, when the safety of your digital data is crucial to your life (say, the vast amount of business-related information, contacts, and files is stored on your phone), the best practice to ensure that is through backing up the data to your computer, and then backing up the computer to the cloud.
Safeguarding your iPhone data in this way will require just a few steps:
Step 1. Start by setting up the real-time backup. Use the iCloud (free) along with My Photo Stream to keep your phone backed up as you use it.
Step 2. Next, backup your iPhone to your computer. Again, you can do it either with the help of iTunes (performing backups manually on a regular basis), or using an online storage application to automatically sync/share/copy all the important data on your iPhone. If preferred the latter, don’t forget to check what type of information is going to be preserved (as many backup applications don’t provide backup for text messages, app data, etc).
Step 3. Lastly, backup your computer to the cloud. Once the previous steps are done, all that’s left to do is to protect the data now contained on your machine by backing it up to credible cloud storage.