How to Back Up iPhone 5

Keep your iPhone 5 data saved and secured

Learn how to back up an iPhone 5 and have a backup of your phone. You can back up your important information online using iCloud or back up everything on the phone locally to a Mac or PC. If you're wondering if backing up to iCloud is better than backing up to your local computer, it's a matter of preference between an online backup vs. a local backup. You can do both.

Information in this article applies to backing up an iPhone to any Mac with iTunes running macOS Mojave (10.14 or earlier), any PC with iTunes, to iCloud, and to a Mac via the Finder running macOS Catalina (10.15) or later, as indicated.

Backing Up iPhone 5 to iCloud

Backing up to iCloud is the easiest way to back up your iPhone 5, but here are a couple of things you need to consider before using iCloud for backups:

  • iCloud only offers 5 GB of free cloud storage. If you need more than 5 GB, upgrade your storage plan for a fee and subscribe for more storage space. 50 GB costs $0.99 per month, and more space is available for a higher fee.
  • Your iPhone needs a strong internet connection (preferably Wi-Fi) and must be connected to its charger.
  • The iCloud backs up nearly all data and settings on your phone but not the data stored in the cloud, such as Contacts, Calendars, Notes, iCloud Photos, and text messages, for example.

If you are worried about using the data on your mobile plan, back up using a Wi-Fi connection. If Wi-Fi is activated on your phone and it can reach a network, it will automatically back up over Wi-Fi rather than use a cellular signal.

When you're ready to set up your iPhone to back up to iCloud:

  1. Tap Settings on your iPhone Home screen.

  2. Tap your name or initials at the top of the Settings screen to access your Apple ID account.

  3. Tap iCloud to open your iCloud settings.

    iCloud settings on an iPhone
  4. Scroll down to iCloud Backup and confirm it is turned on. If it says Off, tap iCloud Backup and use the slider to turn it to the On/green position.

  5. You are notified this setting prevents your iPhone from automatically backing up when you sync with iTunes, tap OK.

    Turning on iCloud Backup on an iPhone
  6. Tap Back Up Now to start the backup process.

  7. Wait for the backup to complete.

    Starting an iCloud Backup on an iPhone
  8. When it is complete, the Last Backup time changes to the current date and time.

Backing Up With Mac Finder in Catalina or Later

Beginning with macOS Catalina (10.15), Apple removed iTunes from the operating system and replaced it with three apps: Music, Podcasts, and Apple TV. Because of that, you back up to Mac using the Finder in macOS Catalina and later. Windows PCs aren't affected by the change; iTunes is still available as a download from the Windows Store.

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac using the cable that came with the device.

  2. Open the Finder by clicking the Finder icon in the Dock or by clicking the desktop and selecting File > New Finder Window in the menu bar.

    Finder icon in the Mac Dock
  3. Unlock your iPhone.

  4. Select your iPhone in the Locations section of the Finder sidebar.

    Mac Finder with the iPhone highlighted in the sidebar
  5. In the Backups section of the Finder screen, select Back up all of the data on your iPhone to this Mac.

    Mac Finder with Back up all of the data on your iPhone to the Mac selected
  6. Choose Back Up Now.

    Mac Finder with Back Up Now selected
  7. When the backup is complete, disconnect your iPhone from the Mac.

Backing Up iPhone 5 Using iTunes

iTunes is the way to go when backing up your iPhone to your Windows computer or to a Mac with macOS Mojave (10.14) or earlier. One of the main advantages of using iTunes is it's compatible with both operating systems.

Having the latest version of iTunes installed will simplify things in this process; update iTunes before you back up. Once you have the latest version of iTunes, start the backup process.

  1. Launch iTunes on your computer.

  2. Connect your iPhone 5 to your PC or Mac. Once it is connected, select the iPhone icon next to the Media drop-down box.

    The device button in iTunes
  3. Ensure Automatically Back Up is set to This Computer.

    The Back Up To This Computer option
  4. Select Back Up Now.

    The Back Up Now button
  5. The backup is complete when the Latest Backup shows the current date and time.

    The Latest Backup information in iTunes
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