How to Back Up Your iPhone to iTunes on Your Computer

There are two ways to back up your iPhone. You can back up your iPhone to iCloud or back up your iPhone to iTunes. I like to have copies of both. An iCloud backup is kept in the cloud, while an iTunes backup is kept on your computer. You don’t need an internet connection to back up your iPhone to iTunes. Apple recommends having both an iCloud and a local backup. Here’s how to back up your iPhone to iTunes on your computer.

Related: How to Encrypt Your iTunes iPhone Backup

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To back up your iPhone or iPad to iTunes on your computer, you first need to have the iTunes software installed. It comes installed on Mac computers, and Windows users can download iTunes here.

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To back up your device to iTunes:

  • Connect your iPhone to your computer using the USB charging cord. iTunes will launch automatically; if it doesn’t, open iTunes.

  • In iTunes, locate the icon for your iPhone or iPad, found in the upper left section of iTunes. Click the icon.

  • Here you’ll see options for backing up your iPhone. One option gives you the choice of selecting whether you want automatic backups to happen via iCloud or iTunes.

  • In this case I have iCloud selected. If I select "This computer," then every time I connect my iPad to my computer, it will automatically be backed up.

  • If iTunes isn't already booted up on your computer, you can select an option that will automatically boot it up when you connect your device.

  • Even if you choose to continue to use iCloud for automatic backups, you can still manually back up your iPhone to iTunes on your computer by selecting Back Up Now.

In the future, if you need to restore a backup, click on Restore Backup.

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Jim Karpen's picture

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.