So you’ve decided to give it a go. … And backup your iPhone to your MacBook.
It’s quick to do. Takes less than 5 minutes.
Got a MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Or iMac running MacOS Big Sur?
Then this is how you backup your iPhone data. Now that a backup through iTunes is not an option.
And bonus is. You can back up your iPad, or iPod Touch this way.
Plus sync your calendar and contacts across your MacBook, iPhone and iPad.
How To Backup iPhone To MacBook
1. Open a Finder window.
2. Connect your iPhone to your MacBook with a USB cable.
3. Click on your iPhone in the sidebar.
4. Pick General in the button bar in your Finder window.
5. Click ‘Back up all of the data on your iPhone to this Mac.’
6. Click the ‘Backup Now’ button to back up to your MacBook.
You can have an encrypted backup by clicking “Encrypt local backup.”
How Do You Backup An iPhone On A Mac?
Let’s get to the detail of how to go about backing up your iPhone to your Mac computer. With pictures to help you along so you know exactly what to click, when and where.
1. Open Up A Finder Window.
You’ll find Finder in Your Mac’s Dock. Double click on Finder to open up a new window.
2. Plug Your iPhone Into Your Mac.
Depending on the age of your Mac and iPhone. You’re going to need the right cable ends to plug in.
No doubt you’ll have a lightning to USB type A cable. And use it to charge up your iPhone.
The MacBook Pros from 2015 have USB C ports on them. As have MacBook Air’s since 2018. And iMac’s since 2017.
For your newer Mac with USB C ports than you’ll need:
A lightening to USB C cable. Or an adaptor to change your lightening type A cable end to USB C. Older Mac’s had USB type A ports. And you plug your lightning cable right in.
Or you can use a USB C hub with type A ports on it. Satechi do a good one if you’re thinking of getting one. You can use the linked words to take a look at a review on it.
3. Look Down Your Finder Window’s Sidebar.
And you’ll see your iPhone listed under Locations. You’ll notice a handy little iPhone like icon.
Click on your iPhone.
The first time you plug in your iPhone to back it up. Your Mac asks a question.
Your Mac will ask if you trust your iPhone.
Click on the ‘Trust’ button.
You’ll also need to open up your iPhone. Use your iPhone touch or face id to open it up. Or tap in your passcode.
4. Click The Radio Button To Backup To Your Mac.
This next window is where the action happens.
If you’ve used iTunes backup for your iPhone before on MacOS Mojave. Or earlier MacOS versions, you’ll find a lot that’s familiar.
At the top you’ll see your iPhone and a round up of your phone’s vital statics. There’s an arrow on the picture above that shows you where.
Click the General button.
By the ‘Software’ heading you’ll see the current version your iPhone is running. And If there’s a new iOS version available for your iPhone. Just below is the ‘Backups’ heading. There you’ve two radio buttons.
You click the second radio button to back up your iPhone to your MacBook
An arrow in the picture shows where.
If you want to back up your health and activity data to your Mac than you’ll have to click on ‘Encrypt Local backup’ for an encrypted backup.
Your MacBook won’t backup your sensitive IOS info unless you click that option.
You’ll need to put in a password.
5. Click The Back Up Now Button.
To kick off the backup of your iPhone to your MacBook you click on the ‘Backup Now’ button.
You’ll see the progress of your iPhone backup along the bottom of your finder window. While your Mac goes through the steps of backing up.
And that’s it.
You’ve made a backup of your iPhone to your MacBook.
When Your IPhone To Mac Backup is Finished
You’ll know your iPhone to Mac backup is complete.
Because at the bottom of the finder window a colored bar returns. With the different categories of info you have on your iPhone.
And above that you’ll see the date and time of your Mac iPhone backup confirmed in the finder window.
The arrows in the picture shows you where.
The only thing left to do is to eject your iPhone.
Click on the Eject arrow. The circle in the picture shows where.
Backup and Sync Your iPhone Calendar And Contacts To Your Mac
You can backup and sync your calendar and contacts to your MacBook.
How to do this?
While your iPhone is plugged in. In the same finder window. You’ve more headings alongside the General heading button.
It’s worth taking a look at each option.
Because you can decide what’s copied and backed up between your Mac and your iPhone. By changing the options.
Click the Info heading.
Then check the boxes to sync your contacts. And to sync your calendars.
You can go into more detail in this window after you have chosen those options.
If you’ve your contacts in groups. Or you’ve many calendars for example.
iPhone To MacBook Backup Strategy
Just as it’s a good idea to do a regular backup of your MacBook.
Regular backups of your iPhone to your Mac once a week is well advised.
Pick a day and a time you’ll remember. Or put a reminder into your iPhone.
Then follow this strategy.
- Back up your MacBook first to an external drive.
- Then plug in your iPhone and back that up to your Mac.
- Then take a final backup of everything to that external drive.
It means at any point. You’ll have a backup you can step back to.
And definitely back up your iPhone before doing an iOS upgrade. Because you never know when the next iOS upgrade could break your iPhone. Or an app on your iPhone you depend on.
Then because you have a backup on an external drive. You can go back to your previous IOS version.
How Your Mac Keeps The Backups Of Your IPhone
Your Mac creates a backup folder under your Home folder. And in that backup folder your Mac stores your iPhone device backup in a backup file.
Each backup you take replaces your old iPhone backup file.
That’s why it’s best to take a Mac backup to an external drive. Before your next backup of your iPhone.
Because then you’ve backed up your iPhone’s old backup on your MacBook. Ahead of a fresh back up your iPhone. That way you can always restore your iPhone to the backup before your last backup if you need to.
And if you’ve deleted key information accidentally from your iPhone. You can use your backup to restore back your iPhone.
Is It A Good Idea To Backup My IPhone Before I Get A New One?
Because you can use your old iPhone backup and restore it onto your new iPhone. Then all your apps, your calendars, and contacts. And your iPhone photos are there for you. Just as you like them set up. All on your new iPhone.
Protection If You Lose Your iPhone: Use Your Mac Backup
Should the worse happens. And you lose your iPhone. You can use the backup on your Mac to restore your backup to your new iPhone.
Why Backup Your iPhone To Your MacBook Instead Of An iCloud Backup?
Several really good reasons.
1. The Risk of iCloud Storage Break In.
There is always the rick of having your cloud storage broken into. Yes, we’ve all had those phishing emails and the like. And those emails are aimed at getting your Apple id and iCloud account access details. So that crooks can get to your precious data.
And these days our IOS device’s internal storage has more in it. Including quite sensitive data.
If you’re not using iCloud backup then. Then those phishing email can go take a hike.
2. Cloud Storage Can fail.
Big cloud data center failures have happened in the past. And will happen in the future. If all your iPhone data is only on iCloud then you’re exposed.
I hear you say. – But when the cloud comes back on-line I’ll get to my data and my iCloud Backup.
But not necessarily. Check the small print. There is no guarantee of your data by Apple.
Keep a copy of your data local.
3. On Going Cloud Usage Charges.
Of course, there’s that pesky little charge. And it mounts up as you’ve gobbled up your free iCloud storage space.
When you’re backing up everything in an iCloud backup. Your MacBook and IOS devices. The amount of storage in the cloud you use mounts up.
Backup your iPhone to your MacBook, then you can backup your MacBook to an external drive. When you’ve a lot of photos and movies on your iPhone. Then you’ll want to consider storing them on an external hard drive anyway. And use an external drive as extra backup for your iPhone.
Is This The Way To Backup My IPhone To My Computer Without ITunes?
Apple changed the way you do an IOS backup. When you backup your iPhone locally to your MacBook since Catalina. – MacOS 10.15. You do your local IOS device backups using a Finder window.
You can’t open iTunes and backup that way anymore.
You should backup your iPhone to your MacBook if you’re planning to upgrade to the latest iOS. Or you’re planning to upgrade your iPhone.
And what would happen if your iPhone got lost, stolen, or destroyed?
Your life could be upended for weeks or even months.
You can use the backup files for reinstalling all your data. Yes, you could back up your data to iCloud. But not everyone is comfortable with that. Now you know how to keep your IOS data local.
Thanks for reading.
About Simon Irons
As an admin I spend my day helping folks with their Mac issues. From the guy at work, through to unofficial 911 support for family and friends. I swear they have me on speed dial.
For fun I like testing out and playing with new stuff. I think Apple make the best products on the planet.
In my spare time I like to fish and play around with boats.