How to Manage Data Backups with iOS 5 and iCloud

A great new feature of iOS 5 and iCloud is the ability to back up your iOS device wirelessly to the cloud. This ensures that your data is always protected in the event that the device is lost or damaged.

Unfortunately, there are two considerations that users must now address. First, when you enable iCloud backups, the device will stop automatically backing up in the traditional manner when connected to iTunes. While cloud backups are more convenient, there may be times when a user wants the added security of a local backup.

iTunes Manual Backup

Thankfully, there is an easy way to initiate a manual local backup. First, connect your device to iTunes. Once it appears in the iTunes sidebar, right-click (or CTRL-click) the device’s name and select “Back Up” from the pop-up menu. This will initiate a full local backup that can supplement your incremental iCloud backups.

The second issue is iCloud storage space. Each user has a limited amount of space for storing backups and other data on iCloud. If you have a lot of data on your iPhone, especially application data, you can pick and choose which apps get backed up, ensuring that you have plenty of room for the data that really matters.

Navigate to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup > Manage Storage and select your device from the list of backups. You’ll be presented with a list of all the apps on your phone that are currently backing up their data to iCloud, how much space each app uses, and the total size of the backup.

iCloud Storage Management

Scroll through the list and locate the apps containing data that you don’t need to back up. For each of these apps, slide the “ON” switch to “OFF.” You’ll be presented with a confirmation message, indicating that any data the app currently has backed up will be deleted.

iCloud Backup Selection

You’ll have to revisit this page to turn off backups for future downloaded applications, but you’ll be able to precisely manage exactly what gets backed up and how your limited iCloud storage space is being used.