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How to Backup iPhone to Mac

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7 min read

Can you imagine your life without a smartphone? It’s amazing how a small device enables us to do work tasks, keep up with the hectic news cycle, stay in touch with friends and family no matter where we’re, and capture the most significant events in life. Having all of that information in our pockets makes us feel powerful yet vulnerable. We can lose a smartphone someday – with all the essential information and significant memories on it. If you want to avoid this scary scenario, you must backup your iPhone. You may accomplish this in a number of different ways, and the one you pick will depend on your preferences and habits. In this guide, we’ll show you four practical ways to back up the iPhone to MacBook. Let’s get started to see how they work.

How to backup your iPhone, iPad to Mac

The most common iPhone backup methods are using iTunes*, iCloud, Finder, and third-party software. 

*iTunes is the old yet very convenient method for creating backups. All you had to do was plug your iPhone into the Mac, spin up iTunes, and start the process of backing your iPhone up. However, the method isn’t available for MacOS Catalina (2019) and newer macOS versions. When Apple ditched iTunes, it left many users asking, “how to backup iPhone on Mac?” Well, if you’re on a Mac with macOS Mojave or earlier, you can still backup your iPhone with iTunes. 

Here’s the default method for how to backup iPhone to computer hardware like a Mac:

  1. On a MacBook with macOS Mojave or earlier, open iTunes
  2. Connect your iPhone to your MacBook with a USB cable
  3. Follow the onscreen instructions if you are prompted for your device passcode or to trust this computer. 
  4. Select your device on your Mac
  5. Click Back Up Now
  6. When the process is complete, you can see if the iPhone backup finished successfully.

backup iphone to mac

How to backup iPhone to Mac with iCloud

First, know there’s no need to use your Mac to backup iPhone with iCloud; you can do it on your iPhone without plugging it in! Just follow these steps:

  1. On your iPhone, open Settings
  2. Tap your Apple ID banner at the top
  3. Choose iCloud
  4. Then tap iCloud Backup
  5. From here, you can select Back Up Now.

iCloud backup iPhone

If you don’t want to manually back your iPhone up, make sure the iCloud Backup option at the top of the screen is toggled on. This will back your iPhone up automatically and periodically when it’s charging.

You can access your backup data from anywhere with Wi-Fi (as long as you know your Apple ID and password, of course!), and all of your iPhone backup data is saved in the cloud rather than on your computer, saving you vital storage space. 

However, you only receive 5GB of free iCloud storage, which is a drawback. You’ll have to pay more if you need it. It’s also important to note that iCloud backups do not include your music, playlists, or other audio or video content.

Backup iPhone to MacBook without iCloud

Here’s the default method for how to backup iPhone to computer hardware like a Mac without iCloud:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac
  2. Open Finder
  3. On the left-hand side, select your iPhone under “Locations” (Note: If it’s your first time connecting your iPhone to your computer, select “Trust”)
  4. In the button bar, select “General”
  5. Under “Backups,” select “Back up all of the data on this iPhone to this Mac”
  6. Select “Back Up Now”

connect iPhone to Mac

The good news is knowing how to back up iPhone to Mac is still as simple as plugging it in! You can also choose to encrypt the backup, if you like.

How to back up your iPhone to MacBook using Wi-Fi

Once you’ve successfully configured syncing between your MacBook and iPhone, you can enable Wi-Fi syncing to eliminate the need for future wired connections between the two devices. Here’s how:

  1. In Finder, choose your iPhone and click General
  2. Scroll down to Options and select Show this iPhone when on Wi-Fi
  3. Click Apply.

When both devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network, you should now be able to view your iPhone in the Finder app on your MacBook.

AnyTrans is a more flexible backup solution to satisfy all your needs and preferences. For example, with AnyTrans, you have the option to make incremental backups in addition to backing up the entire content each time. It considerably saves time and disk space by only producing new backups for data that has changed or been added since the previous backup. If you want, AnyTrans can also remotely and automatically back up your iPhone on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. You don’t even need to take your iPhone out of your pocket.

automatically back up your iPhone

Here’s how to backup your iPhone with AnyTrans:

  1. Open AnyTrans on your Mac
  2. Connect your iPhone to the computer using a USB cable
  3. Click Device Manager in the top left corner
  4. Click the Content to Mac button.

Why can’t I back up my iPhone to my MacBook?

If you can’t back up iOS devices with Mac, try the following solutions:

  1. Check your USB cable
  2. Try using another USB port on your Mac
  3. Check your macOS version and if it backs up iPhones to Finder or iTunes backup
  4. Unlock your iPhone and click Trust on your Mac to backup an iOS
  5. Reboot your computer.

How to restore your iOS device backups on a Mac

Now you know how to backup iPhone to computer hard drives, but how can we restore our iPhone from a backup?

If you followed the first set of instructions and have a backup of your iPhone on the Mac, here’s how to restore it:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac
  2. Open Finder
  3. On the left-hand side, select your iPhone under “Locations”
  4. In the button bar, select “General”
  5. Under “Backups,” select “Restore Backup”
  6. Select the backup you want to restore from the drop-down list
  7. Enter your password
  8. Select “Restore.”


restore iphone to mac

Alternatively, you can use Get Backup Pro to restore backups smoother.

If you choose to backup your iPhone with Get Backup Pro, it’ll ask you which files and folders you want to backup. This way, you can backup only the essential stuff and save your disk space. 

Even better, with Get Backup Pro, you can restore your backup to any device. And that device shouldn’t necessarily have Get Backup Pro installed on it! So it’s really easy to pick up where you left off. Just select the backup in the left bar menu and click Restore. 

restore your backup to any device

How to manage old iPhone, iPad backups on Mac

Now that we’ve answered the burning question, “how do I backup my iPhone to my Mac computer?” let’s discuss how to manage those backups!

The process will feel very familiar to our other instructions, but there are some subtle differences. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac
  2. Open Finder
  3. On the left-hand side, choose your iPhone under “Locations”
  4. In the button bar, click “General”
  5. Under “Backups,” choose “Manage Backups”
  6. Choose the backup you want to remove from the list
  7. Click “OK.”

This only deletes backups which are stored on the Mac. It’s also really binary; Apple lets you store backups of your iPhone, but the purpose is to have a backup to restore to. What if you only want to backup data? We suggest Get Backup Pro.

Get Backup Pro mac

Another common issue with backup is your Mac getting too full if you perform many backups. Yes, you can delete them manually as we described above. However, there is a much better way to keep your Mac clean and tidy. It’s CleanMyMac X – the app that helps millions of users get rid of data they don’t need and keep the system running smoothly.

Here’s how you clear space with CleanMyMac X:

  1. Open CleanMyMac X 
  2. Choose Smart Scan from the sidebar menu
  3. Click Scan
  4. Wait till the app finds the unnecessary files
  5. Confirm deleting the files by clicking Run.

Smart Scan storage space

Safely and easily backup iOS devices with Mac

As you can see, routinely backing up your iPhone is quite important, but it’s also very simple, especially if you know reliable ways. Of course, you can always backup iPhone to MacBook using iCloud. It’s super easy. However, if you decide to make iOS backups to iCloud, you might lose access to your files if you delete them. On top of that, you only receive 5GB of free iCloud storage, which is a drawback. You’ll have to pay more if you need it. It’s also important to note that iCloud backups do not include your music, playlists, or other audio or video content.

Fortunately, there are apps such as Get Backup Pro, AnyTrans, and CleanMyMac X that will enable you to always keep your data secure, regardless of whether you want to transfer it to another device or run into an unforeseen problem with your current one. With Setapp membership, which is one-stop access to 240+ apps, you can use all the tools mentioned in this article and even more. So you can experiment and choose what works best for you. Try Setapp for 7 days free!

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