How to Back Up Your iPhone to iCloud

What to Know

  • Back up your iPad and iPhone to iCloud to prevent loss of photos, contacts, and more.
  • Set iCloud backups to run automatically for peace of mind.
  • To back up to iCloud, open Settings and tap the banner at the top of the page, tap iCloud, then tap iCloud Backup. Toggle on Back Up This iPhone. 

* This article is from our Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

You need a recent iCloud backup before you switch to a new iPhone, update to iOS 17, or restore your iPhone or iPad should something happen to it. Here’s how to back up your iPhone to iCloud manually or set automatic iCloud backups to make things easier.

How to Back Up an iPhone or iPad to iCloud

It's important to make an iCloud backup for your iPhone or iPad, because iCloud backups store all of your data and settings, and can be used to restore your device as needed. To learn more about backing up your iPhone, iPad, and other devices, sign up for our free Tip of the Day newsletter. Now, here's how to do an iCloud backup on your iPhone or iPad:

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  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Tap on your Apple ID profile at the top.

    Tap name
  3. Tap iCloud.

    Tap iCloud
  4. Scroll down and select iCloud Backup.

    tap icloud backup in settings to back up iphone or ipad
  5. If it's not already enabled, tap the Back Up This iPhone toggle. The toggle will be green when enabled.

    toggle on back up this iphone
  6. If you haven’t previously enabled iCloud Backup, you may receive a warning message that your device will no longer automatically back up when connected to your computer, but only if you had the computer backup feature enabled previously.
  7. If this warning message pops up, tap OK.
  8. Enter your iCloud password if prompted.
  9. If your iPhone is not connected to Wi-Fi and you don't have cellular backups enabled, the Back Up Now option will be gray, and you won’t be able to tap it.

    can't back up iphone to icloud
  10. If this occurs, connect to Wi-Fi or return to the iCloud Backup menu and toggle Back Up Over Cellular on. We only recommend Back Up Over Cellular if you're comfortable using a large amount of cellular data to perform backups.

    toggle on back up over cellular to backup to icloud without wifi
  11. Tap Back Up Now to begin backing your iPhone up to iCloud.

    tap back up now to backup iphone on icloud

With iCloud Backup turned on, your iPhone or iPad will automatically begin backing up when your device is plugged in, connected to a Wi-Fi network, or with Cellular Backup enabled, and locked. However, that will only happen if you have enough iCloud storage. If you need to get more iCloud storage, we have a how-to that’ll make it easy. You can also delete old iCloud backups to make more room. If your photos won't upload to iCloud, read this.

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Author Details

Jim Karpen's picture

Author Details

Jim Karpen

Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.