How to Back up iPhone Without iTunes

Backups are essential to smartphones, tablets, or computers you may own as they’re helpful in bringing them back to their previous configuration even when you reset them or move on to a new device. When it comes to iPhones, you can copy all the data that’s on your device and store them on the cloud or locally so that you may use it later.

When you back up the data on your iPhone, you may be easily able to restore contents and settings on your device when you reset it after repair or set up a new iPhone with your previous data and settings. Prior to macOS 10.15, you had to rely on iTunes software on a Mac to back up your iPhone but iTunes no longer exists but that doesn’t mean you have run out of options.

In this post, we’ll help you figure out different ways to back up data from your iPhone.

Related: How to Delete iTunes Backup on Windows 10

Using iCloud on your iPhone

When you make a backup of your device using iCloud, you don’t require a cable or the need to establish a connection between your iPhone and a computer. iCloud backups can store the following items through WiFi:

  • App data
  • Apple Watch backups
  • iPhone settings
  • Home screen and app layout
  • Messages received and sent using iMessage, text (SMS), and MMS
  • Photos and videos stored on your iPhone
  • Purchase history from Apple services, like music, movies, TV shows, apps, and books
  • Ringtones
  • Visual Voicemail password

What this means is, iCloud won’t be able to back up the following items onto your Apple account: iCloud Music, App Store content, Apple Mail data, Face ID or Touch ID settings, Apple Pay data and settings, data already stored on iCloud, and data stored in other cloud storages, like Gmail and Exchange mail.

In order to start backing up your information on your iPhone without connecting it to any other device, you will first need to make sure that your iPhone is connected to the internet via a WiFi network, an unmetered one preferably.

With that out of the way, you can now proceed to make your iCloud backup by opening the ‘Settings’ app and selecting your name from the screen.

Inside the Apple ID screen, tap on the ‘iCloud’ option.

Next, scroll down on the iCloud screen, and select the ‘iCloud Backup’ option.

In the next screen, toggle the switch adjacent to ‘iCloud Backup’ and then tap on ‘Back Up Now’.

All your iPhone data will now start getting backed up on iCloud and to make sure everything gets uploaded properly, keep your device connected to your Wi-Fi network.

You can check the progress of the backup at any time by coming back to this screen.

When your backup is complete, the ‘iCloud Backup’ will also show the last time it was able to successfully sync your iPhone data.

You can store up to 5GB for free on iCloud beyond which point, you can opt for additional storage that starts at $0.99/month for 50GB. You can check out additional iCloud Storage plans here.

Using the Finder app on a Mac

When you use your Mac to back up data from your iPhone, the backed up data covers almost all of your device’s data and settings except for the following items:

  • Face ID or Touch ID settings
  • Apple Pay data and settings
  • Content from iTunes, App Store, Apple Books
  • Content synced using Finder or iTunes
  • Data already stored in iCloud – iCloud Photos, iMessage, text (SMS), and multimedia (MMS) messages
  • Activity, Health, Keychain data
  • Apple Mail data

Before you start backing up your iPhone data on a Mac, you need to make sure that both the iPhone and Mac devices are updated to their latest OS versions. For this procedure to work, your iPhone should be running iOS 12 or later and your Mac should run macOS Catalina (10.15) or newer.

With both the iPhone and Mac powered ON, connect them using a USB-to-Lightning cable that comes with your iPhone.

After connecting your iPhone to your Mac, open the Finder app on the Mac.

Inside the Finder app, you should be able to see your iPhone in the left sidebar. If not, click on the ‘Locations’ section from the sidebar to expand it. You’ll be able to view your iPhone listed here. Click on your iPhone.

If this is the first time you’re connecting your iPhone to the Mac, then you’ll be prompted with a dialog asking you whether you “Trust iPhone”. You will need to click on ‘Trust’ on your Mac.

In the next step, you will have to tap on the ‘Trust’ option on your iPhone when it prompts you with the “Trust This Computer” dialog.

After you selected the ‘Trust’ option, enter your device passcode on your smartphone.

Once this authentication is complete, you will be able to see your iPhone data inside the Finder app on your Mac. This is your iPhone device management screen which hosts all the controls that you will need to back up your iPhone.

Inside this screen, click on the ‘General’ tab at the top and select the ‘Back Up All the Data on Your iPhone/iPad to This Mac’ option under the ‘Backups’ section.

In case you also own an Apple Watch, you need to check the ‘Encrypt local backup’ box on this screen so that the Finder also backs up your Health and Activity data from the Watch.

After this, click on the ‘Back Up Now’ option on the Finder screen. Your iPhone data will now start getting backed-up on your Mac and you will be able to see the progress on your device’s Finder screen.

Once you have connected your iPhone and Mac using a cable and completed a backup, you can also enable the ‘Show this iPhone when on Wi-Fi’ option under ‘Options’ and then ‘Apply’.

This option will let you back up data from your iPhone onto your Mac wirelessly when both devices are connected to the same WiFi network.

Using Third-party software

If you aren’t interested in saving your iPhone data onto Apple’s iCloud or on your Mac computer, then you aren’t out of options. Apple allows you to depend on third-party programs that you can use to back up content from your iPhone to a Mac or a PC and when using these programs, you may get additional backup options like selecting your storage location, see hidden files, recover deleted content from your iPhone, and more.

These backup options differ between programs so you have the freedom to choose which app to use and rely on. You can use any one of the following third-party software depending on your requirements:

That’s all we have on backing up your iPhone without iTunes. For more coverage on iOS, iPhones, and iPads, check out our dedicated iOS section


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