Want to know the first three pieces of advice we give to new iPhone owners? Back up, back up, back up.

Your iPhone is full of important and irreplaceable data, from precious photos and messages to health data, business contacts, emails and documents; not to mention dozens of laboriously downloaded apps and games and hundreds of songs. And assuming you don’t back up, you could lose it all if your phone is stolen or broken (which is a sadly common occurrence), or bricked by a malfunction during one of Apple’s regular iOS updates.

Far better to save the contents of your iPhone (and your iPad too, for that matter) in a safe off-device backup, in the cloud or on a Mac or PC, so you can restore the lot easily if something goes wrong. This also makes it easier to migrate to a new device without having to set everything up from scratch.

However, this sensible and apparently simple advice is sometimes easier said than done. Many iPhone owners get into bad habits, backing up rarely or not at all, and it’s worth wondering why this should be the case.  

The down sides of iTunes and iCloud

Apple’s two backup options are iTunes and iCloud, one for local backups and the other for the cloud. Both have down sides which can put people off from backing up as often as they should.

iTunes lets you back up the contents of an iPhone to a desktop computer. It’s free to use, but not always user-friendly; the software has been criticised for becoming bloated over the years and many iPhone owners find it fiddly. Backing up in this way takes up space on your computer, and if you use a low-storage laptop this isn’t a small consideration. Finally, it can only back up the entire contents of an iPhone or none at all; it cannot perform partial backups.

iCloud, as the name suggests, is cloud-based: the backup is stored on Apple’s servers and can be accessed from anywhere with a web connection, which makes it generally more convenient than backing up over iTunes. But bear in mind that Apple’s servers can be breached and have been breached in the past – there’s always the small possibility of a hacker getting access to your personal data and photos.

Backing up over iCloud can also be a frustratingly slow process, and like iTunes it cannot perform partial backups. But the biggest obstacle is cost: Apple allows each iPhone owner a free allowance of iCloud storage, but this is so small (just 5GB) that you’ll realistically have to pay an extra monthly fee for additional storage if you want to use it for iPhone backups.

DearMob iPhone Manager

Apple would prefer for you to use its own backup tools, but it is important to realise that there are other options out there. The one we’re going to discuss in this article is DearMob iPhone Manager, which has a number of advantages over iTunes and iCloud.

DearMob offers a range of additional tools that you don’t get with Apple’s offerings. Perhaps its biggest advantage is the ability to perform selective backups, which means you can individually back up and restore photos, contacts, messages, music and video, contacts and message files. In addition, the software supports and converts a wide range of formats – enabling you, for example, to back up HEIC files as JPG, ePub as TXT, contacts as HTML or XML and numerous file types as PDF if this is more convenient for you. It also offers two-way sync to multiple computers with no data loss, fast transfer speeds, password protection for selected files and the ability to perform a one-click full backup and restore.

How to perform a full backup

To give an idea of the way iPhone Manager works, let’s walk through the simple procedure for creating a local iPhone backup.

Step 1: Connect your iPhone and Mac or PC using a USB cable.
Step 2: Tap ‘Trust This Computer’ on the iPhone.
Step 3: Launch DearMob iPhone Manager and click ‘Backup’. 
Step 4: Click on ‘Backup Now’. A full iPhone backup file will be generated.

How to back up selected files

What about if you don’t want to back up all the files on your iPhone? Here’s how to use iPhone Manager to create a backup of selected photos. The procedure is largely the same if you’d prefer to back up messages, contacts, music, podcasts, Calendar entries, Safari bookmarks, Pages files and other types of data.

Step 1: With the iPhone plugged into your desktop computer, launch iPhone Manager and click on ‘Photo Transfer’. 
Step 2: Select the photos you'd like to back up. 
Step 3: Click ‘Export’, and wait for the file to be generated.

It’s as simple as that.

Download a free version of DearMob iPhone Manager for a limited time here.