About backups for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

You can copy and save the information on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch by backing it up. If you replace your device, you can use its backup to transfer your information to a new device.

Decide which method is best for you

This article can help you decide which backup method is best for you. In case you ever need an alternative backup, you can make a backup in iCloud and another using your computer.

iCloud

  • Stores backups in iCloud
  • Offers up to 2TB of storage (your first 5GB are free)
  • Always encrypts your backups
  • Lets you create and use backups from anywhere with Wi-Fi

Computer

  • Stores backups on your Mac or PC
  • Storage depends on your Mac or PC's available space
  • Offers encrypted backups (off by default)
  • Lets you create and use backups from your Mac or PC

iCloud backups

With a Wi-Fi network connection, you can make a backup of your device using iCloud. You don’t need to plug your device into a computer or even be at home to back up with iCloud. 

iCloud backups include nearly all data and settings stored on your device. iCloud backups don't include:

  • Data that's already stored in iCloud, like Contacts, Calendars, Notes, iCloud Photos, iMessages, Voice Memos, text (SMS) and multimedia (MMS) messages, and Health data*
  • Data stored in other cloud services, like Gmail and Exchange mail
  • Apple Mail data
  • Apple Pay information and settings
  • Face ID or Touch ID settings
  • iCloud Music Library and App Store content (If it's still available in the iTunes, App, or Apple Books store, you can tap to re-download your already purchased content.)

Learn how to make an iCloud backup or how to manage iCloud storage and delete backups that you no longer need.

* When you use Messages in iCloud, Health data on iOS 12 or later, or Voice Memos, your content is automatically stored in iCloud. If you turn on iCloud Photos, your content is also automatically stored in iCloud.

Backups you get from your computer

On a Mac with macOS Catalina 10.15, you can use Finder. On a Mac with macOS Mojave 10.14 or earlier, or a Windows PC, you can use iTunes to make a backup of your device using your computer. Syncing your device with your computer isn't the same as making a backup. A backup from a computer includes nearly all of your device's data and settings. A backup from your a computer doesn't include:

  • Content from the iTunes and App Stores, or PDFs downloaded directly to Apple Books
  • Content synced from iTunes, like imported MP3s or CDs, videos, books, and photos
  • Data already stored in iCloud, like iCloud Photos, iMessages, and text (SMS) and multimedia (MMS) messages
  • Face ID or Touch ID settings
  • Apple Pay information and settings
  • Apple Mail data
  • Activity, Health, and Keychain data (to back up this content, you'll need to use Encrypted Backup in iTunes.)

Learn how to make a backups from your computer, how to find them on your Mac or PC, and how to delete backups that you no longer need.

Can I use my device's backup for another kind of device, like an iPhone backup for an iPad?

You can restore a device from a backup of another kind of device, like using an iPad backup for an iPhone, but certain types of content won't transfer. This content includes photos, Messages and attachments in Messages*, Voice Memos, and apps that aren't compatible with the device that you’re setting up. For example, apps compatible only with iPad won't transfer to your iPhone.

* If your devices use iCloud and Messages in iCloud, your iMessages and text (SMS) and multimedia (MMS) messages are automatically stored in iCloud. 

 

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