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How to Do A Highly Selective Manual Backup of iPhone Files/Data

Last Updated : April 29, 2019 | Written by Jason

When speaking of "selective backup" or "manual backup" of iPhone data, we tend to habitually neglect the degree of selectivity capped over that phrase and mix it up with iTunes selective Sync feature, eventually ending up crestfallen at the loss of much data including photos, videos, and documents. Asked by many friends with a storage-strapped iPhone 7 about efficient manual backup solutions like backing up iPhone without photos and how to back up only iPhone contacts, I would like to do a simple illustration in this post and recommend a highly selective manual backup method as an easy way out.

What we have: iTunes Backup vs. iCloud Backup vs. DearMob iPhone Manager Manual backup

iTunes, iCloud and third party software are the major iPhone backup solutions we have for now. Therefore, the below backup comparison table is prepared to present a more illustrative fact - if you are looking for a highly flexible iPhone backup manager software tool, neither iTunes nor iCloud should be your first choice since they are not designed for that purpose. Read on to know why...

iTunes Backup iCloud Backup DearMob iPhone Manager
Backup manner Wired Wireless Wired
Full backup Yes Yes Yes
Selective Manual backup No Yes (not all types) Yes (all types)
Free storage space Yes No (5GB free) Yes
Encrypt full backup Yes No Yes
Encrypt specific data No No Yes (photos, videos & contacts)
Multiple devices backup No No Yes
Backup speed Slow Unstable Fast

Manually back up iPhone with iTunes in a selective manner? I'm afraid not.

First, iTunes can only do selective Syncs, and both parts of the "Sync" equation are not equally loaded - only from iTunes library to iOS, not the two-way balance.

How to Backup to iTunes

Besides, while iTunes backup is a whole-device backup, all or nothing, there's no way you can select a single iPhone/iOS photo or music file in iTunes and back it up to a computer.

To understand this, you must understand the origins of iTunes.

iTunes was originally designed for computer to iPod music management, as can be clearly seen from the iTunes logo of a "musical note". It was not developed with consideration for later iPhone/iOS content management as these devices are capable of self-generating new data. The iTunes problem of computer-centric syncing can result in loss of content on iPhone and other iOS devices, replacing the iOS library as a whole with the iTunes library, and confining your iOS device to only one computer for syncing with the help of Apple ID.

How to selectively backup iPhone data with iTunes? – No way. But you can always do

1. A Selective manual Sync of iPhone/iOS Data with iTunes Library from a Computer

Do note that: the syncing direction is from computer to iPhone, and the manually manage option is limited to songs and videos.

2. A Whole-device Full Backup of iPhone/iOS with iTunes

Do note that: all your data is backed up in a single backup file and iTunes backup is an incremental full backup that would overwrite previous backup files.

Then how about using iCloud for selective manual backup of iPhone data?

-- -Yep, but the bar of selectivity is set on apps.

But wait, you should also know the downsides of using iCloud for backup in threefold:

First, iCloud can only do an app-wise selective backup of iPhone. And this means you can only choose certain apps rather than a specific file under that app for backup.To be clear, selecting only 3 photos under Photos app for backup over iCloud would be impossible. Besides, iCloud was developed for the primary purpose of multi-device content syncing, for the convenience of accessing the same content/services from all Apple devices. iCloud's two-way sync implies that if one device deletes the data, it gets removed from all other iOS devices connected to the same iCloud account too, which means that you still have a high risk of losing data.

And finally, there is iCloud backup for iOS devices. After careful reading of "What does iCloud backup", you will come to realise that even if you are on an upgraded iCloud plan, audio ripped from your optical drives, CDs, DVDs,videos, photos copied from your PCs, podcasts, audio-books synced from your computers, they won't be backed up by iCloud at all, let alone a selective iCloud backup.

The key takeaway here is that iCloud can be a great wireless instant iPhone backup & restore solution, but it might not be the ideal place for a highly selective backup, nor for a complete full backup which might take forever days and hours.

How to Backup to iTunes

How to do a highly selective manual backup of iPhone data?

--- keeping only those of importance?

In this era of data overload, the need for storage space would be a bottomless hole if one keeps accumulating without organizing. Entrenching in elevated storage plans can only make your collection a muddled dump and subject your finances with endless fees. To kick out the junk and keep those items of importance, I would recommend DearMob iPhone Manager as an efficient tool to streamline your backup process.

How to Backup iPhone to Computer

In comparison with both iTunes and iCloud backup solutions, DearMob iPhone Manager makes this iPhone selective manual backup task very simple and precise - users can choose whichever piece of a message, contacts info, photos, videos, songs/ringtones, podcasts, and ebooks etc. under corresponding apps for backup - a file-orientated selective backup solution that gives you direct and clear access to specific content. You know exactly which data you are backing up. Also, to prevent any data breach, you can lock down and secure sensitive backup files with high level encryption.

Even if you are doing full backups on a regular basis, which DearMob does also provide, its selective backup feature can be a fail-safe to guarantee your most crucial files never get lost. Take iPhone photo backup and management for example.

To Manually Back up iPhone to PC either in Bulk or Selectively

How to Backup iPhone

To accomplish two needs at the same time, DearMob iPhone Manager, a professional iPhone backup software, allows you to choose either fully back up your iPhone data to PC/Mac, or manually backup of iPhone photos, music, videos, contacts or messages selectively with no data loss.

DearMob iPhone Manager

* Selectively backup iPhone, no iTunes;
* Password encrypt iPhone backup files;

Step 1 Connect your iPhone to a computer with DearMob iPhone Manager installed.

Step 2 Trust the computer and simply hover your cursor over the DearMob iPhone Manager main UI and click on Photo Transfer.

All your photos will be shown and categorized exactly as they are on your iPhone, by camera roll, favorites, portrait, bursts...

Step 3 Now you can do a single select or a batch select of photos under same albums, sources or dates for backup to a computers, either with encryption or without.

And you know that's just the tip of the iceberg. With DearMob, you can even remove undeletable iPhone photos, export and convert live HEIC photos, retain geotag info of all exported photos, and more. The same applies to all other iPhone content.

Manually Backup iPhone to Computer Selectively

A perfect iPhone backup solution - Back up iPhone without buying extra iCloud storage

--- A combination of iCloud and DearMob iPhone Manager

iCloud service was developed only for use within the Apple ecosystem and in return tightening that universe up. Although it can be either a free or fee-based service, the upgraded iCloud storage would only be ideal for big Apple device underwater divers who wish to hold the same data everywhere. Otherwise, you may not fully appreciate the splendor of iCloud service.

For those who stay sipping the Apple juice by owning only a single device like iPhone and remaining happily in the diverse world of Android plus Windows plus Apple, it’s totally unnecessary to upgrade from 5GB free iCloud storage on a monthly subscription. Simply disable those large storage hogs on iCloud - photos, videos, document file - and back them up with DearMob iPhone Manager. In doing so, you can always avoid "iCloud storage almost full" alert and fully make use of the free 5GB storage for critical iOS system backups and the like.

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