How to backup your iPad to iCloud or a computer

Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderYou can backup your iPad to iCloud or your computer via iTunes with these simple steps.

  • You should always have a current backup of your iPad so that if it’s lost, stolen, or damaged, you can restore all of your data and apps to a fresh device.
  • Backing up to Apple’s iCloud is easy and automatic (if you’ve turned it on), so you can always have a current backup with no hassle.
  • If you prefer, you can manually back up to a computer using iTunes. It requires physically connecting your iPad using a USB cable.
  • If you’re running low on storage space in iCloud, you can choose what apps and data you want to back up, or you can buy an iCloud subscription for additional storage space.

While it’s a shame to lose your iPad– whether it’s because it’s broken, stolen, or literally misplaced – things could be a lot worse. If you have a current backup, you can restore everything to a replacement iPad and carry on as if nothing ever happened. The real tragedy is if you have no backup.

Thankfully, it’s very easy to keep your iPad backed up. A backup includes all of your device settings and preferences, installed apps, and data (including music, photos, video, books, and everything else on the device).

The easiest, most dependable backup is via iCloud – your iPad can be configured to back up automatically every day, as long as it is plugged in, has access to Wi-Fi, and the screen is locked. In other words, it will happen when it’s charging and not being used.

Automatically back up your iPad with iCloud

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Tap your name at the top of the settings screen.

IcloudDave Johnson/Business InsiderYour iCloud Backup settings are found in the iPad’s Settings app.

3. Tap iCloud and then tap iCloud Backup.

4. Turn on iCloud Backup.

Backup 2Dave Johnson/Business InsiderWhen iCloud Backup is turned on, your iPad will try to back up automatically every day. You can also trigger a backup manually.

5. Close the Settings app. Now your iPad will try to back up to iCloud every day.

Manually back up your iPad to iCloud

If you notice that your iPad hasn’t backed up in a while – this can happen when you don’t regularly have access to Wi-Fi or you leave your iPad on frequently, so it never has a chance to back up – you can trigger a backup manually whenever you like. To do that, just navigate back to the iCloud Backup screen and tap “Back Up Now.”

If you don’t have enough space on iCloud

It’s possible that you don’t have enough space on iCloud – particularly if you have more than one iOS device. You can choose to back up fewer items to make better use of the available space, or you can purchase more storage space.

To manage your storage:

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Tap your name at the top of the settings screen.

3. Tap iCloud and then tap Manage Storage.

ManageDave Johnson/Business InsiderCurious what is taking up most of your iPad’s storage space? You can find out here, as well as control which apps get backed up automatically.

4. Tap Backup and then tap the entry for your iPad.

Under “Choose Data to Back Up,” you should now see a list of all the apps installed on your iPad. (You might need to tap “Show All Apps” to see them all.) Since iOS stores all the data with its app, turning off an app like “Photos” also stops the iPad from backing up your photos and videos.

If you’d rather purchase additional storage, do this:

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Tap your name at the top of the settings screen.

3. Tap iCloud and then tap Manage Storage.

4. Tap Change Storage Plan. From here you can choose a storage plan and payment options.

Back up using iTunes

Rather than backing up to the cloud, you can choose to back up to your personal computer using iTunes. At one time, this was the only backup method Apple offered, and some people are still more comfortable with having a backup stored locally. That said, this is less convenient and more subject to failure (your iCloud backup is accessible from anywhere and won’t disappear if your computer’s hard drive fails, for example).

1. Start iTunes on your computer.

2. Connect your iPad to your computer using the appropriate USB connection cable.

3. Turn on your iPad and unlock it. If you see a message asking if you trust this computer, select “Trust.” Meanwhile, on your computer, if a dialog asks if you want to allow the computer to access information on your iPad, choose “Continue.”

4. Tap the device icon in the upper left part of the iTunes window.

IpadDave Johnson/Business InsiderAfter connecting your iPad to your computer, the iPad device button should appear in iTunes.

5. In the Backups section of the window, click “This Computer” and then click “Back Up Now.”

ItumDave Johnson/Business InsiderYou can manually trigger a backup from iTunes after connecting it to your computer.

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