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Jim Rossman: There's no computer needed when you're ready to back up your phone

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Published in Science & Technology News

This week's reader question concerns backing up an iPhone without using a computer.

"I know I need to update the iOS software, but I'm afraid I might lose my saved information if there are any glitches. I have an iCloud account and routinely back up my data. But, being technologically challenged, I am not sure how to retrieve info I might lose."

In the early days of the iPhone, backups had to be done by connecting the phone to a computer, but as cellular service got faster, it became feasible to send your data over the internet to Apple's iCloud servers to back it up.

You can still back up your iPhone to your computer with the Lightning cable, but it is a lot easier to go with just the iCloud backup, which sends the data directly from the phone to the cloud.

These days every Apple ID account includes five gigabytes of storage you can use to back up your iPhone data.

This was pretty good when iPhones had eight or 16 gigabytes of onboard storage, but with current iPhones having up to 256 GB, you can fill up your five free gigabytes in a hurry.

 

Personally, I pay Apple $2.99 per month for 200 GB of iCloud storage that I share with my wife to back up both our iPhones.

The next level up is two terabytes of iCloud storage for $9.99 per month.

My wife and I are currently using 60 GB for photos, 4 GB for iPhone backups, 6 GB for documents from our apps and 5 GB for iMessages. This leaves us 124 GB for future use.

If you open the iCloud preference pane, you can choose which apps are allowed to push their data to iCloud.

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