In the age of smartphones, our iPhones and iPads have become digital vaults, storing irreplaceable photos, vital contacts, essential messages, and app data. But what happens if your device takes a tumble into the toilet, gets mysteriously misplaced, or succumbs to a technical glitch? This is where the magic of iCloud backups comes into play!

However, a nagging question often pops into our minds: What does backing up to iCloud actually do? Fear not, fellow iPhone and iPad users! This comprehensive guide sheds light on the wonders of iCloud backups, explaining what data gets backed up, why it's important, and how it ensures your precious information is always protected.

Understanding Backups: The Digital Safety Net

Imagine your iPhone or iPad as a bustling city, constantly generating new data – photos from your weekend getaway, messages with loved ones, and progress in your favorite mobile game. Backing up to iCloud is like creating a secure, off-site replica of your city. In case of a disaster (device loss, damage, or software glitches), you can restore your city (data) from the backup, ensuring your information is safe and readily accessible on a new device.

What Does Backing Up to iCloud Do?

iCloud Backup
iCloud Backup

Simply put, backing up to iCloud creates a digital copy of the information stored on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. This copy is securely stored on Apple's servers, acting as a safeguard against data loss on your device.

Creating a Digital Copy of Your Device

Imagine your phone as a cluttered desk filled with documents, photos, and essential tools. An iCloud backup meticulously copies the contents of that desk, creating a separate, organized version in a secure location.

What Gets Backed Up?

While iCloud backups don't copy everything on your device, they capture a significant amount of crucial data. Here's a breakdown of what gets saved:

  • Device Settings and Preferences: This includes your wallpapers, ringtones, language preferences, and Wi-Fi passwords. No more manually reconfiguring these settings when switching to a new device.
  • App Data and Documents: The progress you've made in games, notes you've taken in productivity apps, and even custom settings within specific apps are all backed up.
  • Photos and Videos: These precious memories are securely stored in iCloud, ensuring they're not lost.
  • Contacts and Calendars: Your entire network of contacts and meticulously planned schedules are safely stored in the cloud. No more worrying about losing phone numbers or important appointments.
  • Messages and Call History (with Limitations): While iCloud backs up your message history (iMessages only), it doesn't include the actual message content on free storage plans. Call history is also backed up, allowing you to see a record of past calls.

What Doesn't Get Backed Up?

It's important to understand that iCloud backups aren't a catch-all solution. Here's what isn't included:

  • The Media Files Themselves (with Exceptions): This might seem counterintuitive, but iCloud doesn't automatically back up your music, movies, or podcasts unless you've specifically purchased them from the iTunes Store. Photos and videos are exceptions, with options for optimized or full-resolution storage (which impacts your free storage space).
  • Third-Party App Data (Unless Offloaded): App data specific to third-party apps (like games or social media) might not be included unless the app developer has enabled iCloud backup functionality within the app itself. Some apps might offer their own cloud storage solutions.

Note: There is a best tool for you to backup data between iCloud and other cloud services automatically.

  • Offline Backup: Don't rely on the network connection, but use the data traffic for backing up cloud files.
  • Direct Backup: Don't go through the local storage, but directly back up files across different clouds online.
  • Auto Backup: Back up data regularly without having to manually initiate each backup.

Benefits of Using iCloud Backups

Now that you understand what gets backed up, let's explore the advantages of using iCloud backups:

  • Get your stuff back fast: Lost or broken phone? No problem! Restore your data from iCloud to a new device and get back up and running quickly.
  • Move to a new phone easily: Upgrading to a new iPhone or iPad? iCloud backups take the hassle out of transferring your data, settings, and everything else.
  • Worry less, enjoy more: With your data safely stored in iCloud, you can relax knowing it's protected, even if something happens to your device.

Setting Up and Managing Your iCloud Backups

Now that you're convinced of the benefits, let's explore how to manage your iCloud backups:

Part 1. Turning on Automatic Backups:

  • Go to Settings and tap your Apple ID.
  • Select iCloud and find "iCloud Backup".
  • Make sure the switch is turned on.

With this enabled, your device will back up automatically when connected to Wi-Fi, locked, and charging.

Part 2. Performing Manual Backups:

  • Follow steps 1-2 from above (Settings > Apple ID > iCloud).
  • On the "iCloud Backup" screen, tap "Back Up Now".
  • Connect your device to power and Wi-Fi for a smooth backup.

Part 3. Managing Your iCloud Storage:

  • Go to "Settings" and tap your Apple ID.
  • Select iCloud to see a storage bar.
  • If you're low on space, consider:
    • Buying more iCloud storage.
    • Using "Optimize iCloud Photos" to save space.
    • Deleting old backups from unused devices.

By following these steps, you can ensure your important data is always backed up securely in iCloud.


In today's data-driven world, safeguarding your digital life is paramount. iCloud backups offer a reliable and convenient way to protect your precious memories, essential documents, and communication history. By understanding what gets backed up, the benefits it offers, and how to manage it effectively, you can leverage iCloud backups to ensure your data is always secure and retrievable. Remember, a proactive approach to data backup can save you immense stress and frustration in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

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