Making backups of your iPhone is important. Here’s how to do it on a Windows PC.
Wondering how to backup iPhone to iTunes on a PC? It’s a common question and one that Apple could have made the process for a little easier.
But first, before we get into the actual steps, let’s first explain what is what.
- iPhone: You know what this is. It’s your smartphone that you use and want to back up.
- Backup: This is the important process of making a duplicate of all the data on your iPhone and saving it somewhere else. Backups are important because they ensure you have an extra copy of all your data on your iPhone should something happen to the device – like it being lost, stolen, or damaged beyond repair.
- iTunes: This is the desktop application that you use to manage your music and media libraries on a PC. Apple used to make iTunes for a Mac, but it has since subsetted the program in favor for multiple apps that manage individual media, such as the Music app, the TV app, the Books app, and more. But if you have a PC, all those individual Mac apps are essentially still combined into one in the form of iTunes.
What An iTunes iPhone Backup Does And Doesn’t Save
An iPhone backup via iTunes will save most of the unique data on your iPhone and duplicate it on your PC. However, some things on your iPhone are not saved during a backup. This is the list from Apple of what is NOT backed up during an iTunes backup:
- Purchased content from the iTunes, Books, and App Stores. This is because all these media are tied to your account already, so you can redownload it at any time from Apple’s servers.
- Media imported into your iPhone that’s on your PC already. This is media you have added to iTunes, like music or movies, that you have NOT purchased through Apple. This media is not backed up because it’s already stored on your computer (but as an aside – ALWAYS make backups of the data on your PC, too).
- iCloud data. This includes things like Messages, photos, and Apple Mail that is already stored online in your iCloud account.
- Touch ID or Face ID settings. These aren’t backed up because of security reasons.
- Apple Pay information. This data is not backed up due to security reasons.
There is one more thing to mention, iPhone iTunes backups can also backup your sensitive activity, health, and keychain data, but you’ll need to make sure you encrypt the iTunes backup first. We’ll show you how below.
How To Backup iPhone To iTunes On A PC
OK, now it’s time to backup your iPhone to iTunes on your PC. Here’s how:
- Open the iTunes program on your PC. You can find it in the Start menu.
- Connect your iPhone to your PC with its Lightning to USB cable.
- You might be asked on your iPhone to enter your passcode or “Trust This Device” (your PC). If you are, enter your passcode or tap to confirm you trust your PC.
- In the iTunes sidebar, click on your iPhone.
- On your iPhone’s screen in iTunes, click on the Summary field.
- On the Backups portion of the screen, select “This Computer” as the backup location.
- If you want to backup your iPhone health, activity and keychain data, you’ll need to check the “Encrypt Local Backup” box too. Enter a password for the encrypted backup and DO NOT FORGET IT. If you encrypt your iPhone iTunes backup you will not be able to restore your backup to an iPhone without the password.
- Click the “Back Up Now” button. The backup process could take a long while depending on the size of the backup. When it is done, you’ll see the date and time of the latest iTunes iPhone backup listed below the “Back Up Now” button.
And that’s it! You’ve now backed uproar iPhone to iTunes on your PC.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Should I backup my iPhone?
Yes. 100% yes. Always make backups of all your data – iPhone or otherwise. This way you always have a second copy of your data should the first be destroyed.
Q: Do Macs still come with iTunes?
No. Apple stopped developing iTunes for Mac several years ago. This is because Apple broke the iTunes app up into individual apps for Music, TV, Books, and more.
Q: Do PCs still have iTunes?
Yes. Apple still makes the iTunes app for the PC even though they no longer make it for the Mac.
Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.