3 Ways to Backup Your iPad

how to backup ipad

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Anyone who's ever lost precious data knows that making good backups of your data is essential. All computers encounter trouble sometimes and having a backup can be the difference between successfully recovering your files and losing days, months, or even years of data.

Backing up your iPad is just as important as backing up your desktop or laptop. There are three main ways to back up your tablet. The best option for you depends on your needs, but make sure you use at least one regularly. 

Option 1: Backup iPad With iTunes

This is the easiest way since it uses something you probably already do: Every time you sync your iPad to your computer, a backup is automatically created. This backs up your apps, music, books, settings, and some other data.

So, if you ever need to restore earlier data, you can choose this backup and you'll be back up and running in a snap.

This option doesn't truly back up your apps and music. Instead, this backup actually contains pointers to where your music and apps are stored in your iTunes library. Because of that, it's a good idea to make sure you're also backing up your iTunes library with some other kind of backup, whether it's an external hard drive or web-based automatic backup services. If you have to restore your iPad from backup, you don't want to lose your music because you didn't back it up.

Option 2: Backup iPad With iCloud

Apple's free iCloud service makes it easy to automatically back up your iPad, including its music and apps.

To begin, turn on iCloud Backup by:

  1. Tapping Settings

  2. Tapping iCloud

  3. Moving the iCloud Backup slider to On/green.

With this setting changed, your iPad will automatically back up anytime your iPad is connected to Wi-Fi, plugged into power, and has the screen locked. All data is stored in your iCloud account.

Like iTunes, the iCloud backup doesn't include your apps or music, but don't worry: you've got options:

  • For apps, you don't need to worry about backups: you can redownload any of your apps for free from the App Store at any time. 
  • Music is a little more complicated. You can redownload music purchased through the iTunes Store, but for music obtained elsewhere, you have two options: a backup using a hard drive or web-based service, or iTunes Match. For $25/year, iTunes Match adds all the songs in your iTunes library, no matter where you got them, to your iCloud account for later redownloading. This can take a while to set up, especially if you have a big iTunes library, but if you do this before your crash (and maintain your subscription), it makes recovering music easy.

Option 3: Backup iPad With Third-Party Software

If you'd prefer a complete backup, you need third-party software. The same programs that you can use to transfer music from your iPad to a computer can also, in most cases, be used to create a complete iPad backup. How you do that depends on the program, of course, but most will allow you to backup more data, apps, and music than either iTunes or iCloud does.

If you want to try this option, check out our tops picks for these sorts of programs.