Backing up your devices consistently is something that every iPhone user should be doing. But if the worst happens, how do you check to see if you actually have any backups?
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The process is actually fairly simple, though it varies depending on whether you use iCloud or your computer to back up your device. Unfortunately, if your iPhone is lost or stolen, it becomes a bit trickier.
In any case, here’s how to find out if your device is backed up to iCloud, as well as how to actually find those backups.
How to find out if your iPhone is backed up to iCloud
Finding out whether your device is backed to iCloud is actually fairly easy if you still have access to it.
- On your iPhone, open the Settings app.
- Tap on your Apple ID card at the top. It’ll say your name.
- Tap on iCloud.
- Under Storage, select Manage Storage.
- Tap on Backups.
In this menu, you’ll see every backup you currently have stored in iCloud, including the current devices and other devices that you’ve set up to use iCloud backups.
From here, you can tap on each individual device to see more specific information. That includes the last backup, the size of your backups, and the estimated size of your next potential backup.
There are other options here as far as selecting which data to back up to iCloud, as well as a button to delete iCloud backups, but we won’t go into detail about those options in this piece.
How to find iCloud backups if your phone is broken
Backups are highly recommended for keeping your data safe and secure if your primary gets lost, broken or stolen. So what happens if any of those scenarios are the case?
Hopefully, you’ll have iCloud backups to fall back on.
As we mentioned, finding information on your device backups is a bit harder if you don’t have access to it. But it is possible.
We’ll run through some potential options there.
- If you have another iOS or iPadOS device, you should be able to head to Settings —> (Your Apple ID) —> iCloud —> Manage Storage —> Backups. From here, you’ll be able to see information about your various backups.
- No other Apple mobile device? You can check to see if you have iCloud backups on a Mac. Just head to System Preferences —> iCloud —> Manage Storage. You’ll be able to see the time and date of your recent backups in iCloud.
- If you don’t own a Mac but a friend or family member does, you can try creating a new user account on that Mac with your Apple ID and password. Then, you can use the step above.
- No access to any other Apple devices? You may need to use iCloud.com. Just head to iCloud.com and click your name in the upper-right corner. From there, click Account Settings. You won’t be able to see what data your backups are from, but you should at least be able to see if any backups exist by looking at the purple Backup bar in storage.
Finding local backups in iTunes or Finder
If you don’t use iCloud backups but you do back up your devices locally, then you should be able to see a list of backups stored on your computer — even if you device is broken or unresponsive.
Here’s how to do it for macOS Mojave and earlier.
- Open iTunes.
- Click on iTunes in the top menu bar and select Preferences. (On Windows PC, it’s Edit —> Preferences.)
- Click on the Devices tab.
- Here, you should be able to see a list of backups, the devices their associated with and the date of backup.
In macOS Catalina and later, the process is slightly different but basically the same.
- Open a Finder window.
- Click on the General tab.
- Click Manage Backups.
- Here, you’ll see a window similar to iTunes that’ll give you a list of backups their date.
What to do now?
Once you figure out you have a backup, you can rest assured that you can transfer the majority of the data that was on your old iPhone to a new device.
If your device is lost or stolen, you can also head to Find My and remotely wipe the device. That way, your data has less potential of falling into the wrong hands.
Mike is a freelance journalist from San Diego, California.
While he primarily covers Apple and consumer technology, he has past experience writing about public safety, local government, and education for a variety of publications.
He’s worn quite a few hats in the journalism field, including writer, editor, and news designer.