iPhone Backup 101

iphone-water-260x225Rarely a week goes by without one of my friends losing contacts or photos due to a lost or malfunctioning iPhone so welcome to iPhone Backup 101.

I’m a mobile warrior and the father of an 8 month old daughter so my iPhone data is literally priceless. I don’t take chances. You could take my phone and toss it into the river right now and I wouldn’t lose a thing.

Would you like that peace of mind?

Here’s how I backup up everything.

Backup Contacts and Calendar

The key to preserving this critical info is having a copy of your calendar and contacts in the cloud that the iPhone syncs automatically.

The best way I’ve found is synching my Gmail account.

  1. Open Settings, go to “Mail, Contacts, Calendars”
  2. Add accounts, select Microsoft Exchange
  3. Enter your gmail address in the email & username field, then your password
  4. When the certificate verification dialog pops up click cancel and enter m.google.com as the server name.
  5. Select all 3 services to sync, Mail, Contacts, Calendars

Google has detailed instructions and screenshots if you need more help. Note that Exchange only allows one calendar sync so if you use multiple google calendars in follow these instructions. Oh and here are the instructions for yahoo.


My wife and I have taken just shy of 1000 photos since on our iPhones since my baby girl arrived last Aug. These are solitary moments and that photo is a treasure to us. Here’s how I make sure I don’t lose it.

  1. To the Cloud: PixelPipe – This is a brilliant app that allows you to upload photos to a variety of services. My 2 defaults are flickr and dropbox. I don’t wait untill I get home and sync I upload the photos within minutes of taking them. *Tip – Set up your “pipes” to services at Pixelpipe.com, it’s fast and easy.
  2. To the Computer: Picasa – Google’s excellent photo manager is the perfect way to import photos from the iPhone via USB. It detects which photos I’ve already copied so I know exactly where to begin and it shows me previews so I can choose only the ones I want.


  1. To the Cloud: Setup a YouTube account and it’s one click to upload the video.
  2. To the Computer: See Picasa above, videos works the same way.

the Apple Way

Before my mac friends have a coronary… Yes, Apple offers a service to do this called MobileMe. It’s $99 a year. I’ve never used it and personally my data is already in Google.

Your turn

I’d love to hear how you backup your phone so share your solution below or if you have questions just leave them in the comments.

9 responses to “iPhone Backup 101”

  1. Anonymous says:

     I use MobileMe only because it puts Outlook into the mix and syncs contacts and calendars from there and makes it available on my iPhone and iPad.  

    • Keith says:

      That’s a really good point. I often forget about outlook because I barely
      use desktop apps anymore. I appreciate the comment because someone else
      would have this question.

      Thanks Doug

      • Anonymous says:

        The office was all set up to use outlook when I took over and changing it seemed more trouble than it was worth. Although the fact that our email provider limits distribution lists to 20 addresses created a huge problem, since I have 200+ members! Constant Contact to the rescue! 

    • Anonymous says:

       MobileMe was great but with Outlook 2010 it lost it’s ability to use your main calendar.  So now I have two and only one syncs by MobileMe the other by cable connection.  It’s a pain – any tips?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks!  Useful guide.  What about Apps & App data?  This should sync / restore from a back up but doesn’t always seem to work and I lose in app purchases for example.  App specific problem?  Apple issue?  Any suggestions?

    • Keith says:

      Good Question Richard. I sync my app library with Appolicious
      so I can remember see what apps I’ve downloaded or
      purchased. I’ve also had apps disappear out of my itunes library and
      appolicious gives me a great list.

      You can see my library at http://netkno.ws/appo

      Thanks Richard.

  3. Matt says:

    Thanks for the info.. about Dropbox, I just set it up after I lost over 200 photos yesterday in a restore with a failed iphone backup.. so I lost all my texts and photos.. I hate how it takes a disaster to force us to change our ways.. I’m just thankful my contacts and calenders were setup to sync.. And i just found out one of my friends has been using Dropbox since it came out and he says he LOVES it.. so can’t get a much better recommendation than that

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