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Under the Summary section you see in iTunes when you have your iPhone selected, you'll find the Backup area, where you can choose to back up your device to your computer through iTunes or to your iCloud account if you have one. Should you ever lose your phone or if something crashes on it and it needs to be completely restored, you can copy its contents and settings from your most recent backup. As I've mentioned, iCloud is Apple's free online storage and syncing service. If you haven't yet created an iCloud account, you can set one up by going to iCloud.com. Doing so gets you access to the iCloud services and 5 GB of storage space.
When you back up your device, you're backing up its settings, app data, app organization, messages, the photos and videos on the camera roll and so on. It also backs up information about the music and videos you've purchased from the iTunes store, so if you ever need to restore them, you'll be able to download them again from the store. Music and videos you've sync from your computer aren't backed up though. So if ever you need to restore your phone, you'll have to grab those files by syncing with iTunes again, which we've looked at how to do earlier in this chapter. The advantage of syncing with iCloud is that you're not tying your device to your computer.
For example, if you're on a trip and have trouble with your phone, you can restore it directly over the Internet from your phone without needing to connect it to your computer and iTunes. We'll see how to restore your iPhone in the Troubleshooting Chapter at the end of this course. Also, if you choose to back up to iCloud, your device will automatically back itself up on a daily basis, as long as it's plugged into a power source and connected to the Internet over Wi-Fi and your screen is locked. If you choose the back up to iTunes, your device will back up any time you connect it to your computer and sync it. You can also right-click on your device and choose Backup to perform a manual backup.
There's also an option here to Encrypt local backup. If you're worried about sensitive information from your phone being stored on your computer once you sync with it, you can check this option and iTunes will protect the backup with encryption. Now, you're not limited to always having to back up to iCloud or always backing up to your computer. In fact, you might want to occasionally alternate between these two options by choosing say Back up to iCloud first, so you have a copy of the back up on iCloud and then later choosing Back up to this computer and keeping a copy on your computer. The important thing is that you do backup your device periodically, so you'll be able to restore your settings and content, should you ever run into problems.
Again, I'll show you how to restore your device in the last chapter. Now, in iOS 6, you can check out your iCloud backup settings, by going to Settings, iCloud, and then scroll down and tap Storage & Backup. Here you can see how much storage space you have in your account and how much of that space is free. This is also where you can turn on iCloud backup directly from your device. If you've previously set up your device to sync through iTunes, you'll see this message telling you that your phone will no longer back up to your computer when you sync it with iTunes.
But you can always switch back at any time. If you're concerned about taking up too much space on your iCloud account, you can tap Manage Storage. Here, select your device and under Backup options, you'll find the list of the apps that are taking up the most space. And you can choose to turn individual apps off if you don't need to back up their data. So for example, maybe I don't need to use GarageBand Backup, so I'll turn that off, and I'll tap Turn Off & Delete to delete that backup data from my iCloud account. Remember, you can always switch back to syncing to your computer if you want to make sure you have a full backup.
Then you can go back to Manage Storage and here you can either tap Back Up Now, to backup to your iCloud account right away or just leave this ON, and your device will back itself up the next time you have it connected to a power source.
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