Synchronizing your iPhone to your computer does much more than simply dump its contents onto the hard drive. With an iTunes backup, you can ensure that you always have a way to restore your iPhone's current settings and content or seamlessly transfer everything with the purchase of a new device. Once you have implemented your first USB sync, you can later sync over Wi-Fi so you can avoid the hassle of a cabled connection. Though Apple regularly provides updates to its iTunes software, the synchronization process remains fairly similar across versions.
USB SyncingStep 1
Download and install the latest version of iTunes (link in Resources).
Connect your iPhone to your computer using the USB cable and allow iTunes to automatically launch if it is not already open.
Select your iPhone from the list of available devices and click "Apply" at the bottom to synchronize with your computer.
Wi-Fi SyncingStep 1
Connect your iPhone to your computer using the USB cable and allow iTunes to launch automatically. For future syncing, you will not need to connect using USB.
Select your iPhone from the list of available devices and then select the "Summary" tab.
Place a check in the box next to "Sync with this [device] over Wi-Fi." Eject the iPhone using the "Eject" icon next to the device's name.
Select your iPhone's name from the list of available devices in iTunes. As long as the two devices are on the same Wi-Fi network, your phone will remain available even without a USB connection.
Sync as usual, clicking "Apply" at the bottom.
Restoring from a Previous BackupStep 1
Connect your iPhone to your computer via USB or Wi-Fi and select it from the list of available devices when it displays in iTunes.
Click the "Summary" tab and select "Restore."
Confirm by clicking "Restore."
Allow your iPhone to restart and then swipe your finger across the screen when presented with the "Slide to Set Up" message. Follow the on-screen prompts in the iOS Setup Assistant to reinitialize the device.
- You can also configure individual sync settings if you do not wish to synchronize all content on your device. For example, select the "Summary" tab and place a check next to "Sync Only Checked Songs and Videos." From there, select the individual audio and video files you would like to sync before clicking "Apply" and creating your backup.
- Information in this article applies to iTunes 11 and iPhones running iOS 6. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.
- Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images