There are multiple ways out there to back up an iPhone. One can back up an iPhone to iCloud or one of its alternatives, back up iPhone to a PC or Mac using iTunes, or use a third-party application to back up your iPhone to a computer.
If you don’t want to spend on iCloud subscriptions (the free version offers just 5 GB), backing up your iPhone to your computer via iTunes is a good idea. Note that several free and commercial alternatives to iTunes around, but iTunes does its job well without any issues.
In this guide, we will see how to back up your iPhone to Windows 10 computer and also how to restore a previously created backup to your iPhone using iTunes.
What does iTunes back up?
According to Apple support, iTunes backs up text messages, photos in Camera Roll or Saved Photos, call history, notes, contact favorites, widget settings, sound settings, and more. Some media files, such as songs, videos, and some photos, are not included in the backup. Also, backups don’t contain apps. If you are using iCloud to back up photos, iTunes might not include photos in the backup.
Before we show you how to back up an iPhone with iTunes, it’s worth noting that iTunes doesn’t let you select items you want to back up. That is, it will back up everything from photos to contacts to messages. If you want to back up specific items like text messages, look for a third-party application.
NOTE: With default settings, the iPhone backup file is stored on the Windows 10 installation drive. If the Windows 10 drive doesn’t have sufficient drive space, you may change the default backup file location by referring to the directions mentioned in our how to change the default iTunes backup location in Windows 10 guide.
Backing up iPhone to Windows 10 PC with iTunes
Step 1: The first step is to download and install iTunes on your Windows 10 computer, if not installed already.
We recommend you get iTunes from the Apple website rather than downloading the Windows 10 Store version. We have noticed, multiple times, that the Store version of iTunes is not as reliable as the classic desktop version. Refer to our how-to download iTunes from Apple guide for directions on the same.
Step 2: Connect your iPhone to Windows 10 PC using the cable provided with your iPhone.
Step 3: Upon connecting the iPhone to the PC, you might get the following prompts on your iPhone screen. Tap the Trust option and then enter the passcode (if you have set one) to be able to access iPhone content on your computer.
Step 4: Launch iTunes on your computer. Click on the phone icon in the toolbar (refer to the picture below) to view details about the connected iPhone, including its storage capacity, serial number, and iOS version.
NOTE: If iTunes doesn’t detect your connected iPhone, refer to the solutions in our fix to iTunes not detecting iPhone guide.
Step 5: To back up your iPhone, navigate to the Backups section. To back up the iPhone to your Windows 10 computer, select the This Computer radio button, select Encrypt local backup option (if you want to password protect it), and then click on the Back Up Now button.
If you select the Encrypt local backup radio button, you will be asked to enter a password to protect the backup.
NOTE: We recommend you encrypt the iPhone backup if you have sensitive information on your iPhone, and you share your PC with others. Also, encrypting the backup file allows backing up account passwords, Health, and HomeKit data.
Depending on the size of the data on your iPhone, it might take minutes to hours to complete the backup job. For those of you wondering, you can continue using your iPhone without any issues when your phone is being backed up.
Once the backup operation is done, click on the eject button next to the iPhone icon in the left pane and disconnect the iPhone from your computer.
How to restore iPhone from backup using iTunes
Step 1: Connect your iPhone to the same Windows 10 computer where you have previously created a backup of your iPhone.
Step 2: Launch iTunes. Click on the small phone icon in the toolbar to see your iPhone details.
Step 3: In the Backups section, click the Restore Backup button. A window will pop up where you can select your phone and a field to enter the password if the selected backup is encrypted.
When the backup is being restored to your iPhone, your iPhone’s screen will display the “Restore in progress” message.
The time required to restore the iPhone backup varies from a few minutes to hours.
Our how to backup your iPhone to Mac using the Finder guide might also interest you.