How to Back Up an iOS Device to Computer When iCloud Space Runs Out or is Unavailable
You can continue to create local backups of iOS devices even if you rely primarily on iCloud backing up iPhone and iPad and for storing those iOS backups. This is a really useful technique if an iPhone, iPad, or iPod ran out of iCloud storage space and you don’t want to deal with managing it manually at the moment, or you’re just temporarily without internet access and want to make a quick backup to the computer. This works for switching a backup location to a local computer on a Mac or Windows PC.
How to Switch iOS Backup Destination from iCloud to Computer in iTunes
Here is how you can switch the backup location of an iOS device from iCloud to the local computer in iTunes on Mac OS and Windows versions of iTunes.
- Open iTunes
- Connect the iPhone, iPad, or iPod to the computer (Mac or PC) using a USB cable
- Select the iOS device, then under the “Summary” tab look for “Backup” and check the radio box next to “Back up to this computer”
- Click “Apply”
- Right-click on the device in the iTunes sidebar and choose “Back Up Now”
You can verify the backup is stored on the Mac (or PC) by going to iTunes Preferences, clicking on “Devices” and making sure the most recent backup matches up with the current time and date.
Down the road if you reconnect to iCloud and backup there again you can always delete these local backups directly from iTunes and reclaim the disk space.
When you get iCloud capacity or internet access again, don’t forget to return to the settings and adjust Backup options to “Back up to iCloud” again when you are finished. Otherwise your iOS device will continue to want to backup to a local computer rather than iCloud.
Many users will find that they can’t backup an iOS device to iCloud on the free plan and therefore must pay for larger tiered storage plans for making iCloud backups, but given the importance of the type of data on an average iPhone or iPad that’s usually a worthwhile purchase for more iCloud storage for backing up important data, photos, videos, memories, and all else that is contained on an iOS device.
Remember to always backup your iOS devices, as a failure to backup can lead to permanent data loss!