Don't forget to back up your iPhone or iPad before you download iOS 12

GettyThe iPhone XS and XS Max come with iOS 12 preinstalled.
  • iOS 12, Apple’s newest mobile operating system for iPhones and iPads, will be available to download starting Monday.
  • Make sure you’ve backed up your iPhone or iPad before you download and install the update – otherwise you risk losing your data.
  • Backing up your iPhone or iPad is a simple process that can be completed in either iTunes or your device’s Settings app.

Apple’s newest mobile operating system for iPhones and iPads, iOS 12, is about to launch.

iOS 12 will be available on Monday. If history is any indication, the software update for iPhones and iPads should be ready to download around 10 a.m. PT, or 1 p.m. ET.

Lots of people will download the update right away. But before you do that, it’s important to do one thing: back up your iPhone or iPad so you don’t lose your data.

All the data on your phone and in your apps could be lost in the updating process. That means your text messages, photos, and other data could suddenly vanish.

But it’s easy to protect your data, and there are two main ways to do it.

iTunes

On your Mac or Windows computer, open iTunes and click on your device icon in the top-left corner of the screen. Click on the “summary” tab on the left side of the screen, and you’ll see a “backups” heading with a big blue button that says “back up now.” (The button next to it will show you your other data backups, which are useful if, for example, one of them is corrupted.)

iCloud

All iOS devices come with 5 GB of iCloud data to start, but you can get storage plans that support up to 2 terabytes of data. (Here is a full list of iCloud pricing plans for more storage.) I pay $US0.99 every month for 50 GB of storage, which is more than enough space for my needs.

To back up your iPhone or iPad data to iCloud, go to your Settings app, tap on your name, and then tap “iCloud.” Click “iCloud Backup,” then the button that says “back up now.” That’s it!

Iphone x home screen divisionsDave Smith/Business InsiderSave your app data. Back up your iPhone or iPad before downloading iOS 12.

Regardless of whether you choose iTunes or iCloud to back up your device, each will show you the time and date of your last backup so you’ll know you’ve done it correctly.

If you care, or have enough time, I’d also recommend backing up your device a second time, in case one of your backups gets corrupted. (It’s not quite clear how a backup file can get corrupted, but this has happened to me in the past, so you might thank yourself later for having a backup of your backup.)

That’s all there is to it. Once you’ve backed up your device, you can go ahead and start downloading iOS 12. Major iOS updates like this one can take more than an hour, depending on your internet speeds, so make sure your iPhone or iPad is connected to power and a strong WiFi signal to speed up the process. (For context, the past two major iOS updates took me about 45 minutes to an hour to download and install.)

Once you’ve downloaded and installed the new software, check out our guide to the 15 best features iOS 12 has to offer.

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