Gone are the days of launching iTunes to back up an iPhone. Since the release of macOS Catalina, the Music app has taken its place. iOS device owners looking to back up their data locally must look elsewhere for a solution. Turns out Apple has moved the iPhone backup process to the Finder in macOS.
Mac users may have noticed there is no built-in way to change where macOS (formerly iTunes) writes backup information. This means every time an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch is backed up to the computer using Finder, it automatically uses the local drive. Rest assured, it is possible to tell your Mac to put backups on an external drive. Once the steps below are implemented, all iOS backup data will be saved to the new location.
Your iPhone data can be restored from iCloud when setting up a new device, or after erasing all data from a device using Settings -> General -> Reset -> Erase All Content and Settings.
You will be prompted by Setup Assistant by a new iPhone to set up as a new phone or restore from backup.
You can restore iTunes backups to your iPhone at any time. Follow these steps to choose a backup and sync the data to your iPhone.
- Connect the iPhone to the computer with a USB cable.
- Open iTunes and select your iPhone.
- If you have a new or erased iPhone, iTunes will prompt you to restore from backup.
- Otherwise, click the Restore Backup button.
- Choose the backup you wish to sync and click the Restore button.
Regularly backing up your iPhone to iCloud or iTunes is likely routine for most, but making an archived backup on iTunes probably isn't. The difference between the two is that an archived backup won't be overwritten by subsequent backups, which isn't the case with iCloud backups or automatic iTunes backups. Though usually not necessary, archiving a backup is essential if you plan to install an iOS public beta or if you think you might want to downgrade after installing a new iOS.