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Issue #830: June 18-24, 2023

Q: I hope you can help me – this is an iPhone question so if this is not the right place to ask, I apologize for taking up your time.

 Can I back up my iPhone (14 Pro) on my laptop? I want to get a new iPhone soon so I know it needs to be backed up first. Will the backup include, not only pictures and apps, but messages, calendar events, phone numbers, etc.  Love your article!

 – Alicia P.
Fort Walton Beach, Florida

A: Oh yes, Alicia, this is definitely the right place to ask your question.  Many people consider It’s Geek to Me to be a place to ask only questions about their computer, and, to be honest, perhaps it started out that way.  But that was some 16 years ago, and the focus has changed a lot since then.  I’ve been calling it a “Computers and Technology Q&A column” for a long time now, and have been encouraging readers just like you to send in questions about any aspect of technology and technological devices.  I do my best to answer them, even if I have to do some research to find the answer.  As for yours, I happen to know the answer off the top of my head, but I’m going to find you an article online to read anyway.

So, first of all, the good news is that the answer is yes – you can back up your iPhone to your laptop.  If the backup is properly configured, it will include all the data you mentioned, as well as data that goes with other programs, such as game settings, voice recordings, health measurements and so on.

The secret to accomplishing all of this is to use Apple’s iTunes application.  I realize that the name makes it sound like something designed to access Apple’s music library, and iTunes does have that ability, but it also houses the back-up and restore capabilities for both iPhones and iPads.

Learning how to do a backup is a sizable undertaking, and I don’t know of anyone better qualified to teach you how than Apple, the company that manufactures the device.  I said above I’d find you information online to help you, and I’ve done exactly that.  If you’ll visit, you’ll find an article on Apple’s support website entitled “How to back up your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iTunes on your PC.”  Check it out.

Now, having said all that, I have two more pieces of information to impart to you.  The first is to tell you that you should already be using iTunes on a regular basis to synchronize your phone’s data to your PC.  Like any other computational device, an iPhone is vulnerable to unexpected failure, and if this happens to you, and you’re caught without a backup, you’ll be starting over from scratch with a replacement device.  If you have a backup, you can restore it to a new device and pick up where you left off.

The other thing I want you to know is that your presumption that the onus is on you to get your data from your old phone to your new one may not be correct.  Several generations of iPhone have come and gone since I did my last phone upgrade, but when I did, my phone service provider simply cloned my old phone to my new one right there in the store.  It was quick and required no work on my part.  When it was done, the new phone contained everything my old phone had, all integrated into the apps and features of the new hardware.  So, you might want to make a couple of inquiries before you try and do it all yourself.  Regardless, don’t let that stop you from getting a copy of iTunes and starting to make backups that you should have been making all along!  

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May 2024

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