Backing up your iPhone is something that you should do on a regular basis. If you have a lot of photos, videos, and other important files on your device, losing them can be devastating. While iTunes and iCloud can help you back up your iPhone, they might not be enough, particularly if you are running out of storage space on your computer or if you want to have more control over your backups. Luckily, there is a way to back up your iPhone to an external hard drive. In this article, we will guide you through the process of backing up your iPhone to an external hard drive so that you can keep your data safe and secure.
Backing up your iPhone to an external hard drive has many benefits. For one, it means that you can keep your backups separate from your computer, which can help protect them in case of theft, fire, or other unexpected disasters. Additionally, an external hard drive provides more storage space than your computer’s hard drive or iCloud account, which means that you can back up more data. Finally, it allows you to easily transfer your data to a new computer or device, should you need to do so.
Before we get started, let’s take a look at what you will need:
- External hard drive (preferably with USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt connection)
- A computer running Windows or Mac OS X
- iTunes (latest version)
What Requires Your Focus?
To back up your iPhone to an external hard drive, there are several steps you will need to follow. Here are some things you will need to focus on:
- Connecting your external hard drive to your computer
- Setting up iTunes to recognize your external hard drive as the backup location
- Selecting the data you want to back up from your iPhone
- Starting the backup process
- Ensuring that the backup is successful and can be restored in case of need
Different Methods to Back iPhone Up to External Hard Drive
Method 1: Using iTunes Preferences Settings
This is the easiest and most straightforward method to follow.
- Straightforward setup
- Automatically backs up all data on your iPhone
- Fast backup process
- You cannot choose specific files to exclude or include in the backup
1. Connect your external hard drive to your computer’s USB port.
2. Open iTunes on your computer.
3. Click on iTunes > Preferences (if you’re on a Mac) or Edit > Preferences (if you’re on a Windows PC).
4. Click on the Devices tab.
5. Check the box next to "Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically."
6. Click on the Advanced tab.
7. Click on the Change button next to the iTunes Media folder location.
8. Select your external hard drive and create a new iTunes backup folder.
9. Click OK to save the changes.
10. Connect your iPhone to your computer using a USB cable.
11. Click on the iPhone icon in the top left corner of iTunes.
12. Click on the Summary tab.
13. Click on the Back Up Now button.
14. Wait for the backup process to complete.
15. To verify that the backup was successful, go to iTunes Preferences > Devices. You should see the backup listed there.
Method 2: Via Windows File Explorer (For Windows Users Only)
If you use a Windows computer, you can also back up your iPhone to an external hard drive using Windows File Explorer.
- Doesn’t require iTunes
- You can selectively back up files from your iPhone
- You can create multiple backups and save them to different folders
- The backup process is slower than the previous method
- You need to manually copy files from your iPhone to your external hard drive
1. Connect your iPhone to your computer using a USB cable.
2. Unlock your iPhone and trust the computer if prompted.
3. Open Windows File Explorer.
4. Click on your iPhone under "This PC."
5. Select the files you want to backup from your iPhone.
6. Right-click and choose "Copy" or use Ctrl+C keyboard shortcut.
7. Go to the folder on your external hard drive where you want to save the backup.
8. Right-click and choose "Paste" or use Ctrl+V keyboard shortcut.
9. Wait for the files to be copied to the external hard drive.
10. To verify that the backup was successful, make sure that the files are in the folder you specified.
Method 3: Using Third-Party Software (iMazing)
If you want more control over your iPhone backups, you can use a third-party software like iMazing to back up your iPhone to an external hard drive.
- You have complete control over your backups
- You can selectively back up files and data from your iPhone
- You can encrypt your backups for added security
- Third-party software can be expensive
- There is a learning curve to using new software
1. Download iMazing and install it on your computer.
2. Connect your external hard drive to your computer.
3. Connect your iPhone to your computer using a USB cable.
4. Launch iMazing and wait for it to recognize your iPhone.
5. Click on the Back Up button in the iMazing window.
6. Choose "Back Up to Folder" and select your external hard drive as the backup location.
7. Choose the files and data you want to back up from your iPhone.
8. Click on the Start Backup button and wait for the backup process to complete.
9. To verify that the backup was successful, open iMazing and make sure that the backup is listed under the "Backups" tab.
Method 4: Using Terminal on Mac
For advanced users who are comfortable with using the Terminal app, you can back up your iPhone to an external hard drive by using a command-line. This method requires some knowledge of Terminal and command-line tools.
- You have fine-grained control over the backup process
- You can automate the backup process
- You can exclude or include specific files in the backup process
- This method is not recommended for beginners
- You need to use Terminal and know the correct commands to use
1. Connect your external hard drive to your Mac.
2. Open Terminal on your Mac.
3. Enter the following command in the Terminal app:
sudo mkdir /Volumes/ExternalHD/iPhone
4. Press Enter and type in your administrator password if prompted.
5. Enter the following command:
sudo chown -R `whoami` /Volumes/ExternalHD/iPhone
6. Press Enter.
7. Connect your iPhone to your Mac using a USB cable.
8. Enter the following command:
open /Applications/Image\\\ Capture.app/
9. Press Enter.
10. Make sure that Image Capture recognizes your iPhone.
11. Choose your external hard drive as the backup location from the drop-down menu.
12. Choose the files and data you want to back up from your iPhone.
13. Click on the Import or Import All button to start the backup process.
14. Wait for the backup process to complete.
15. To verify that the backup was successful, go to the backup location and make sure that the files are there.
Why Can’t I Backup iPhone to External Hard Drive?
If you are having issues backing up your iPhone to an external hard drive, there are several reasons why this might be happening. Here are some of the most common reasons why you can’t backup iPhone to external hard drive and some fixes:
1. External Hard Drive is Not Recognized
Make sure that your external hard drive is connected to your computer and that it is formatted correctly (FAT32 or exFAT for Windows, HFS+ or APFS for Mac). If your external hard drive is not recognized, try connecting it to a different USB port or restarting your computer.
2. iTunes is Not up to Date
Make sure that you have the latest version of iTunes installed on your computer. You can check for updates by clicking on iTunes > About iTunes (if you’re on a Mac) or Help > About iTunes (if you’re on a Windows PC).
3. Not Enough Space on External Hard Drive
Make sure that your external hard drive has enough space to store your iPhone backup. You can check the available space by right-clicking on the external hard drive and choosing Properties (if you’re on a Windows PC) or Get Info (if you’re on a Mac).
4. Damaged USB Cable or Port
If your USB cable or port is damaged, you might not be able to connect your iPhone to your computer or your external hard drive. Try using a different USB cable or port to see if that solves the issue.
Implications and Recommendations
Backing up your iPhone to an external hard drive is an important step in protecting your data and ensuring that it is safe and secure. Here are some recommendations and implications:
- Back up your iPhone regularly, ideally on a daily or weekly basis.
- Store your external hard drive in a safe place, away from moisture, heat, and dust.
- Encrypt your backups for added security.
- Test your backups regularly to ensure that they can be restored in case of need.
- Consider using a cloud-based backup service as an extra layer of protection.
5 FAQs about Backing up iPhone to External Hard Drive
Q1: Can I compress my iPhone backup file to save space?
A: Yes, you can compress your iPhone backup file to save space. However, keep in mind that compressing the backup file can also make it take longer to restore your data in case of need. To compress your iPhone backup file, you can use a third-party compression tool like WinZip (for Windows) or Stuffit (for Mac).
Q2: Can I back up my iPhone without iTunes?
A: Yes, you can back up your iPhone without iTunes by using third-party software like iMazing or by copying files manually using Windows File Explorer.
Q3: Can I back up my iPhone to more than one external hard drive?
A: Yes, you can back up your iPhone to multiple external hard drives by creating multiple backup folders in different locations.
Q4: Can I restore my iPhone from an external hard drive backup?
A: Yes, you can restore your iPhone from an external hard drive backup by following the standard restore process in iTunes or selecting the backup file in iMazing.
Q5: How long does it take to back up an iPhone to an external hard drive?
A: The time it takes to back up your iPhone to an external hard drive depends on the amount of data you have, the speed of your external hard drive, and the type of connection (USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt). On average, a full backup can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours.
Backing up your iPhone to an external hard drive is a smart and simple way to ensure that your data is safe and secure. With the methods we’ve described in this article, you can choose the one that’s most convenient for you and start backing up your iPhone right away. Remember to test your backups regularly, keep your external hard drive safe and secure, and consider using a cloud-based backup service for added protection. Happy backing up!