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How to back up your iPhone or iPad with iTunes or Finder

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Wondering how to back up an iPhone or iPad? We can help. In this guide, we’ll explain how you can use iTunes or Finder to back up your device.


Nowadays, we rely too much on our devices to store sensitive data. A phone’s core functionalities are no longer mostly limited to texting and calling. For example, smartphones now house our photos, documents, passwords, bank card information, and more. This means that you could potentially lose several gigabytes of invaluable data if your device is damaged or stolen. The good news is that you can make full backups of your iPhone/iPad through Finder or iTunes on a computer. This way, you can restore all of your data on a new iDevice with a few clicks. Below are the steps you need to follow to back up your iOS or iPadOS device.


What’s included in an iPhone/iPad computer backup

Finder or iTunes backup

Apple says a computer backup of an iPhone or iPad includes “almost all of your device’s data and settings.” You won’t get iTunes or App Store content, imported MP3s, videos, books, photos, data already present in iCloud, Face ID or Touch ID settings, Apple Pay details, and Apple Mail data. If you’re making an unencrypted backup, you won’t get Activity, Health, and Keychain data as well.

Encrypted or unencrypted backups?

Apple allows users to create both encrypted and unencrypted backups of their devices on a computer. The encrypted backups are not only more secure than the unencrypted backups, but they also include more information, like your saved passwords, health data, Wi-Fi settings, call history, and website history. iTunes or Finder doesn’t encrypt the backups by default. You have to choose the option, following which the app will encrypt all future backups and rewrite any existing backups with an encrypted version.

How to make an iPhone or iPad backup using iTunes on PC or Mac

iTunes is used to create a computer backup of your iPhone or iPad on PC and Macs running macOS Mojave or older versions. While iTunes is pre-installed on Mac, you’ll have to install it on your PC via the Microsoft Store.

  1. Connect your iPhone or iPad to your PC or Mac using the Apple-supplied or compatible USB cable. You may be asked for your device passcode and whether you trust the computer on your device — give the necessary permissions on your iPhone or iPad. Notably, iTunes also allows you to connect your iPhone or iPad wirelessly. Still, to enable the feature, you’ll need to connect your device using a cable for the first time, so we’ll use a USB cable for a more straightforward process for this guide.
  2. Open the iTunes app.
  3. Click the Device button on the top left of the iTunes window.
    iTunes device icon

  4. You’ll now see the backup options under Summary.
    iTunes backup options

  5. Select This Computer under Automatically Back Up for a local backup of your device.
  6. If you want to create an encrypted backup, tick the Encrypt local backup option. Or leave it unticked for an unencrypted backup.
    iTunes backup progress

  7. If you choose an encrypted backup, you’ll be asked to create a password. Remember this password for future access. Once you enter the password, iTunes will automatically start the backup process.
  8. If you’ve chosen to create an unencrypted backup, click on Back Up Now to start making a local backup.

Using Finder on macOS Catalina or newer

You can use Finder to back up your iPhone or iPad in macOS Catalina and newer versions.

Finder backup options

  1. Connect your iPhone or iPad to your Mac with a USB cable. You may be asked for your device passcode and whether you trust the computer on your device — give the necessary permission on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Open Finder on Mac.
  3. Select your device from the left panel.
  4. You’ll now see backup options under the General tab. Select Back up all of the data of your iPhone/iPad to this Mac.
  5. If you want to create an encrypted backup, tick the Encrypt local backup option. Or leave it unticked for an unencrypted backup.
  6. If you choose an encrypted backup, you’ll be asked to create a password. Remember this password for future access. Once you enter the password, iTunes will automatically start the backup process.
  7. If you’ve chosen to create an unencrypted backup, click on Back Up Now to start making a local backup.


This is how you can back up your iPhone or iPad locally on your computer using iTunes or Finder. In other how-tos for iOS devices, you can also check our guide on how to factory reset an iPhone or iPad. We also have regularly updated buying guides on the best iPhone and best iPad on the market.

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