How to Back Up iPhone X

Choose how you keep your phone backed up

There's a ton of private data and priceless items on your iPhone X, from medical and financial data to irreplaceable photos and messages. If you don't want to risk losing this data (and you don't!), you have to regularly back up your iPhone X. There are a few ways to make a safe copy of your data. Here's how to back up iPhone X.

Man sitting at the top of a huge valley taking a photo with iPhone
Marco Bottigelli / Moment / Getty Images

While this article specifically discusses the iPhone X, the tips here actually apply to all iPhones.

How to Back Up iPhone X to iCloud

Maybe the simplest way to back up iPhone X is to use iCloud. When you use iCloud, backups run automatically when your iPhone X is locked, connected to Wi-Fi, and plugged into a power source. That means that a backup could run every night for many people. Here's how to back up iPhone X to iCloud:

  1. Begin by making sure your iPhone is signed into your iCloud account. You probably did this when setting up your iPhone.

  2. Connect your iPhone X to Wi-Fi.

  3. Tap Settings.

  4. Tap your name at the top of the Settings screen.

  5. Tap iCloud.

    Where to find iCloud on iPhone X.
  6. Tap iCloud Backup.

  7. Move the iCloud Backup slider to on/green.

    Screenshots showing how to turn on iCloud Backup on iPhone X.
  8. You're done! Your iPhone X will now automatically back up its data to iCloud whenever it's locked, on Wi-Fi, and plugged in.

Want to back up right now? You don't have to wait. Just tap Back Up Now to start a manual iCloud backup. Doing this won't interfere with automatic backups.

How to Upgrade iCloud Storage

If you're backing up iPhone X to iCloud, you'll probably need to upgrade your storage. Every iCloud account comes with 5 GB of free storage, but that'll fill up fast. Upgrades start at just US$0.99/month for 50 GB. To upgrade your iCloud storage, follow these steps:

  1. Tap Settings > [your name] > iCloud.

  2. Tap Manage Storage.

    Screenshots showing how find Manage Storage on iPhone X.
  3. Tap Change Storage Plan.

  4. Tap the plan you want to upgrade to and then tap Buy.

    Screenshots showing how to upgrade iCloud storage on iPhone X.
  5. Enter your Apple ID username and password to confirm. Your upgraded storage will be billed to the payment method on file in your Apple ID.

How to Back Up iPhone X Using macOS Catalina (10.15)

Prefer to keep your data out of the cloud and closer to home? You can also back up iPhone X to a Mac (or a PC; check out the next section).

How you do that depends on the version of the macOS that you're running. If you're running macOS Mojave (10.14) or earlier, skip to the next section. If you're running macOS Catalina (10.15) or higher, follow these steps to back up iPhone X:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac using USB or Wi-Fi.

    In order to connect your iPhone to your Mac over Wi-Fi the very first time, you need to use a cable. And when running Catalina, your interface for this is now the Finder (it used to be iTunes in per-Catalina versions of macOS).

  2. Open a new Finder window.

  3. In the Finder window's left-hand sidebar, expand the Locations section, if necessary, and click your iPhone X.

    If a window pops up, click Trust.

  4. The iPhone management screen loads in the Finder window. This screen lets you control the sync and backup settings for your phone. In Backups, click Back up all of the data on your iPhone to this Mac.

    Got an Apple Watch? Check the Encrypt local backup box. This ensures that your Health and Activity data is backed up.

  5. Click Back Up Now.

How to Back Up iPhone X to iTunes

Want to back up iPhone X to a Mac running macOS Mojave (10.14) or earlier, or to any version of Windows? You need to use iTunes. Here's what to do:

  1. Connect your iPhone X to your computer using USB or via Wi-Fi.

  2. Open iTunes (if it doesn't open automatically).

  3. Click the iPhone icon in the top left corner, beneath the playback buttons.

  4. In the Backup section of the iPhone management screen, check the box next to This computer.

    screenshot of backing up iphone using itunes

    Make sure to encrypt your backup if you have an Apple Watch to save your Health and Activity data.

  5. Click Back Up Now.

Why You Should Make Two Backups of Your iPhone X

Making two backups of the same data might seem like overkill, but we recommend it.

We recommend making one backup of your data on your computer and another in iCloud. That way, if something goes wrong with one, you can still rely on the other.

Think about it this way: Making a backup is smart, but what if you only make a backup on your computer and then something happens to the computer (it breaks, is stolen, your house burns down)? The answer is no more backup. It's very unlikely that both backups will fail simultaneously.

Making two backups of your iPhone X is more work, and you may never need to rely on the second backup, but if you ever need it, you'll be very glad you have it.