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Backing Up With iCloud

Until Apple launched iOS 5 and the iCloud service in 2011, creating and maintaining a complete backup of your iOS device on your primary computer required you to use the iTunes Sync process. This option (which is still available) meant that you needed to manually connect your iOS device to your primary computer via the supplied USB cable, and then run iTunes on your computer.

iOS 6 Still Offers Wireless iTunes Sync

Today, in addition to using iCloud to wirelessly sync your iOS mobile device and app-specific data, you have two additional options available. You can use the iTunes Sync process or the Wireless iTunes Sync process. If your primary computer and iOS device connect to the same wireless network, you can manually sync your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch wirelessly. The USB cable connection between your computer and your iOS device is not needed.

Using the Wireless iTunes Sync feature, your wireless iOS device should be plugged in to power and must be linked via Wi-Fi to the same wireless network as your primary computer. After the wireless connection is initiated, you can begin the wireless backup process from within Settings on your iOS device. However, iTunes must be running on your primary computer, and the iTunes Sync over Wi-Fi Connection option that’s available when using the iTunes software on your primary computer (a Mac or PC), must be selected.

To create a backup of your iOS device using the Wireless iTunes Sync feature, follow these steps:

  1. On your primary computer, launch iTunes.
  2. Before you can use the Wireless iTunes Sync process for the first time, connect your iOS device to your primary computer via the supplied USB cable. When the connection between your device and computer is established, on the left side of the iTunes screen, under the Devices heading, click on your iOS device’s name.
  3. Near the top center of the main iTunes screen, click the Summary tab to see details pertaining to your iOS device.
  4. On the Summary screen, use the mouse to add a checkmark to the Sync With This iPhone [iPad] Over Wi-Fi option that’s displayed under the Options heading (as shown in Figure 6.7).
    Figure 6.7

    Figure 6.7. To use the Wireless iTunes Sync feature, it must be turned on from within iTunes on your primary computer and on your iOS device. On your primary computer, click the Sync With This iPhone [iPad] Over Wi-Fi option. iTunes version 10.7 is shown here. The screen looks slightly different if you’re running iTunes 11 on your computer.

  5. You can now disconnect your iOS device from your primary computer. The USB cable is no longer needed.
  6. Make sure that your primary computer and your iOS device are connected to the same wireless network using Wi-Fi on both the computer and iOS mobile device.
  7. From your iOS device, launch Settings.
  8. Tap on the General option.
  9. When the General menu screen appears, scroll down to the iTunes Wi-Fi Sync option, and tap on it.
  10. If you haven’t already done so, plug in your iOS device to an electrical outlet.
  11. On your iOS device, tap the Sync Now button that appears on the iTunes Wi-Fi Sync screen (as shown in Figure 6.8). The Wireless iTunes Sync process will begin. The end result is a backup of your iOS device that’s stored on your primary computer’s hard drive (just as if you had used the traditional iTunes Sync process by connecting the devices via the supplied USB cable).
    Figure 6.8

    Figure 6.8. Initiate the Wireless iTunes Sync process from within the Settings app on your iOS device, whether it’s an iPhone (shown here), iPad, or iPod touch.

iCloud Backup: No Cable Needed

One additional and useful feature of iOS 6 is the ability to create a complete backup of your iOS device wirelessly, and have the related backup files stored on online (“in the cloud”). Using this feature, your iOS device can be connected to any Wi-Fi Internet connection. Your primary computer is not needed. Thus, the backup can be created from anywhere, and you can later restore your device from anywhere a Wi-Fi Internet connection is present.

When activated, your iOS device automatically creates a backup to iCloud once per day (when the device is connected to the Internet via a Wi-Fi connection but isn’t otherwise in use). For this to happen, your iPhone or iPad also needs to be connected to an external power source. However, at any time, you can manually create a backup of your device to iCloud from within Settings. This can be done when your device is running on battery.

To activate and use the iCloud Backup feature, the process is the same for an iPhone or iPad.

Follow these steps to activate and use the iCloud Backup feature on an iPhone or iPad:

  1. Make sure that your iOS device is connected to the Internet via a Wi-Fi connection.
  2. From the Home Screen, launch Settings.
  3. Tap on the iCloud option.
  4. Tap on the Storage & Backup option that’s located near the bottom of the iCloud menu screen within Settings.
  5. About halfway down on the Storage & Backup screen, tap on the virtual switch that’s associated with the iCloud Backup option. Turn the virtual switch to the on position.
  6. A new Back Up Now option appears near the bottom of the Storage & Backup screen (as shown in Figure 6.9). Tap on it to begin creating a backup of your iOS device. The backup file will be stored on iCloud.
    Figure 6.9

    Figure 6.9. Manage and launch the iCloud Backup feature from the Storage & Backup screen, accessible from within the Settings app.

The purpose of creating and maintaining a backup of your device is so that you have a copy of all your apps, data, files, content, and personalized settings stored, if something goes wrong with your device. If and when you need to access the backup to restore your device using iCloud, when prompted, choose the Restore from iCloud option.

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