Do you want to be able to back up your iPhone wirelessly?
Using a cable to backup your iPhone to your Mac computer is such a hassle.
Here you’ll find the answer to backing up your iPhone sans cable.
And at the bottom. The things to watch out for.
Can You Backup iPhone To Mac Without Cable?
Yes, as long as your iPhone and your Mac are on the same wireless network.
You backup your iPhone to your Mac over WIFI in Finder with MacOS Catalina and later MacOs’.
And you iTunes backup using WIFI in MacOS Mojave or earlier Mac operating systems. Or an iCloud backup with both Finder or iTunes via your Mac.
You will need a USB cable to set it all up. When set up you can click on your iOS device to manually backup. Or leave your iPhone plugged into power for an automatic backup.
Backup iPhone To Mac Without Cable – Finder Versus iTunes
The way you backup your iPhone and not use a USB cable changed in MacOS Catalina. That was the point when Apple retired the iTunes app.
So, if you’re on a Mac computer running MacOS Mojave or an earlier release of the Mac operating system. You’ll continue to set this up. And use iTunes for your iPhone to Mac backup.
From MacOS Catalina onwards.
Managing your music moved to the Music App. And Photos to the Photos app. And your iPhone backup to your Mac moved under the Mac Finder app.
You can use Finder to backup only. Or choose to backup and sync your iPhone.
And in Finder you have even more options on what to sync.
Sync: Copy data to your iPhone. Or from your iPhone back to your Mac. So the chosen data is the same).
And you can set the detail of what you synchronize to your Mac in Finder.
By clicking on the options in the Button bar.
You can pick what to sync under Music, Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts, Audio, Books, Photos, Files and Info.
And this change from iTunes to Finder continued in MacOS releases Big Sur and Monterey.
No Cable Backup iPhone To Your Mac In Finder
Yes, you can back up your iPhone to your Mac with no cable required in Finder.
But before you do your backup. You’ll need a cable to set it all up.
And both your Mac and your iPhone logged in with the same Apple id.
You’ll need to beg, borrow or set it up with your own USB cable. After you’ve set it all up in finder you can put away your cable. – For backup anyhow.
To get started: Open up a Finder window.
Using your cable. Connect iPhone into a USB port on your Mac. Wait the few seconds for it to appear under Locations. And click on your phone’s name.
Depending on your iPhone settings. You may need to open your iPhone with your passcode, Touch id or Face id.
And if it’s the first time you’ve plugged in your phone to your Mac, you’ll have to click to trust your iPhone. And Tap on your iPhone to trust your Mac computer.
In your Finder window click on the General tab in the button bar and scroll down to options. Then check the box. ‘Show this iPhone when on Wi-Fi’.
And you may want to check the box.
‘Automatically sync when this iPhone is connected’.
Click Apply. And you’re done. You can then Eject your iPhone.
You’ve done it!
You’ve set up your iPhone to backup to your Mac computer without a cable over WIFI.
You’ll find more detail how to go about it in this article How To Connect iPhone To Mac Without USB.
And a WIFI backup using Finder works for your other IOS devices as well. You can use this set up for your iPad and iPod Touch.
Without Cable. Backup iPhone To Your Mac In iTunes
When you’re running MacOS Mojave or earlier. You set up your iPhone backup to your Mac no cable using the iTunes app.
But you will need a USB cable to set everything up.
You open iTunes. Plug in your iPhone into your Mac with the USB cable. Scroll down to Options. And put a check in the box ‘Show this iPhone when on Wi-Fi’.
Optionally you can check the box ‘Automatically sync when this iPhone is connected’.
Then you click Apply and you can eject your iPhone.
You’ve then set up your iPhone to backup. Or iTunes sync to your Mac without a cable.
And you can set up your other iOS devices to backup with no cable.
Just go through the same with your iPad or iPod Touch.
Minus Cable Backup iPhone To iCloud From Your Mac
An alternative to storing your iPhone backup on your Mac. Is an iCloud backup.
Whether you’re using the iTunes app, or Finder.
You set it up the same way, with your USB cable to start.
You open iTunes, or Finder. Plug in your iPhone on USB. Open your iPhone.
Then you put a check in the box against the text. ‘Back up your most important data on your iPhone to iCloud’
Scroll down to Options. And also put a check in the box ‘Show this iPhone when on Wi-Fi’.
You can also choose the box ‘Automatically sync when this iPhone is connected’.
Then click the Apply button.
Eject your iPhone.
And you’ve set up for an iCloud backup of your iPhone via your Mac. And no cable needed to do it. As long as you’ve iCloud storage space available.
And this works for your iPad or iPod Touch iOS devices.
What You’ll Notice When You iPhone Backup With No Cable
1. A WIFI backup is slow.
Much slower than a backup with a cable. And that’s because the speed of WIFI is about half the speed of backing up over USB.
In my testing it took quite a while for my iPhone to show up on WIFI. Both devices – your Mac and iPhone must be on the same WIFI.
2. When your iPhone shows up in a Finder window.
You’ll see it listed under Locations.
When you see it listed and you want to backup. You click on your iPhone’s name in Locations.
You may need to type in your passcode or open your iPhone with your Touch id or Face id. Before you see your Mac’s backup screen in Finder or iTunes.
Whether you do or not depends on a USB setting. It’s set in your iPhone’s settings.
3. Two Backup Options.
You’ll notice in the above image that you have two options to choose from when you’re backing up.
You can click the’ Back Up Now’ button. To backup only.
Or to backup and sync iPhone over WIFI. You click the ‘Sync’ button. And your iPhone will synchronize your iPhone data according to what you’ve set up in the button bar.
4. If you want your health data and app passwords backed up.
You’ll also need to check mark the box ‘Encrypt local backup’. For an encrypted backup. And assign a password for your backup.
You do that either in the Finder App if you’re backing up that way. Or under iTunes.
5. If you’ve checked the box ‘Automatically sync when this iPhone is connected’.
Your Mac will automatically backup your iPhone over WIFI and no cable needed.
But your iPhone must be on the same WIFI network. Screen locked and plugged into external power.
6. Whether you use a USB cable or not.
iPhone photos are not backed up and or sync’d in Finder to your Mac. You use the Photos app to import your photos from your phone to your Mac. Or Image Capture or the Preview app. Either way you’ll need a USB cable to do it that way.
Or use AirDrop to send your iPhone photos to your computer no cable. Or you can send them without a cable with Bluetooth. Click on the linked text to find out how.
7. After you’ve backed up your iPhone to your Mac, MacBook Pro or Air.
You can then backup your Mac, to an external hard drive to save your iPhone backups over time.
8. Keep hold of your USB cable.
Because you can’t update your iPhone iOS software through your Mac without a cable.
Or restore iPhone without your cable. And that means you’ll need a USB cable somewhere you can use when you need to.
As you can see, there are many ways to back up your iPhone without a cable.
And learnt there are a few things to watch for when you’re backing up over WIFI.
While you’re here do take a look at our other iPhone related posts.
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.