iCloud backups can keep your sentimental messages, photos, contacts, and apps intact should anything happen to your iPhone. By default, everyone with an iCloud account gets 5GB of iCloud storage. You can easily buy more if you want, but we’ll skip over that for now.
5GB of storage isn’t enough to make iCloud your primary storage, but it’s a reasonable amount for storing iCloud backups, assuming you don’t have too many photos (you can use Google Photos for free backups of your iPhone photos to make more room for your iCloud backups).
Since everyone has at least 5GB of iCloud storage, every Apple user should have iCloud backups turned on on their iPhone. Here’s how to do it.
Backup Your iPhone With iCloud
First, open the Settings app on your iPhone.
At the top of the Settings app, you should see your name and contact photo. Go ahead and tap it.
This will pull up the settings for your iCloud account, where you can view your devices, edit Family Sharing, and so on. For our needs, we’re going to tap the iCloud option.
Here you’ll see a list of everything you can synchronize with iCloud; each option that you turn on will synchronize with all of your devices. This is handy (and recommended) if you have more than 5GB of iCloud storage, but if you only have 5GB, keep as few of these turned on as possible so that you can focus on backups.
Scroll down a bit and tap iCloud Backup.
Here you’ll see a switch, which you can tap to turn on iCloud backups for your device. Once you tap the switch, it’ll turn green.
You may get a popup informing you that iTunes backups will no longer take place; this is perfectly fine since you won’t need iTunes backups anymore. Go ahead and press Ok if you get this popup.
You’ll now see an option that allows you to backup your iPhone now. You can and should do this, as it’ll start saving your iPhone data right away. If you decide not to do this, your iPhone will back up to iCloud the next time it’s charging, connected to WiFi, and locked.
How do I restore an iCloud backup?
First, make sure that you have a recent backup of your iPhone to restore from. Then, reset your iPhone to factory settings and begin setting it up as a new device.
During the setup process, your iPhone will ask you if you’d like to restore from an iCloud backup. Proceed with this option, sign in to your iCloud account, choose your backup, and prepare to wait. Once finished, your iPhone will be identical to the way it was at the time of your last backup.
Can I run out of storage for iCloud backups?
Yes, you can run out of iCloud storage as a result of backups. If this happens, you’ll get a notification letting you know that you don’t have enough storage for backups. You can resolve this by purchasing more storage for a monthly fee.
Alternatively, you can go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backups > [your device]. You can then turn off individual apps, preventing them from backing up. This will reduce the amount of storage required to backup your phone.
How long do iCloud backups take?
The first iCloud backup will take the longest, anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours depending on how much data you have on your phone. After that, backups will be much faster, around one to ten minutes in length (it took us ~4 minutes on an iPhone 11 with 35GB of used storage and an 8GB backup).
What is an iCloud backup?
An iCloud backup is an image of your iOS device that’s copied to iCloud. This means that in the event that your iPhone was completely destroyed or lost, you would still have access to all of the data on your iPhone. All you would need to do is purchase a new iPhone, sign in to your iCloud account, and choose to restore your backup.