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Backing up your device will safeguard your camera roll, accounts, documents and settings (mail, phone favorites, wallpaper, contacts and calendar). You do not need to backup iTunes purchases or apps. These can always be re-downloaded later, in the unlikely event that they disappear after the upgrade. Similarly, iCloud documents, such as Reminders and Notes live on Apple’s servers. These will be in the same state after the upgrade.
If you backup with iTunes, your apps will be backed up by default. iTunes purchases (movies, music, TV shows) can be backed up as well, however this is not necessary. I’ve found the process of moving iTunes purchases from my iPad to iTunes to be quite buggy and frustrating. It’s easier to just re-download the iTunes content again, if necessary. The upgrade process will not delete apps or iTunes purchases from your device.
There are two ways to back up your device — iCloud or iTunes. iCloud is the easiest, however, you might need to pay for more storage. Everyone is given 5GB of free iCloud storage. If you have a lot of personal data you will need to pay for more space. To backup to iCloud, simply tap Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup. Next, turn on iCloud Backup. Finally, connect your device to a WiFi network, plug it in a charger and lock the screen. iCloud will automatically back up your device. You can also tap the “Back Up Now” button. When the process is finished, you will see a status message with the last backup date and time.
You may want to turn off iCloud Backup after the backup is complete. I don’t use iCloud Backup because it consumes too much bandwidth. I can’t use my Apple TV when iCloud is backing up. I prefer backing up with iTunes. It’s faster and it doesn’t choke up my Internet connection. The iTunes backup uses your local area network instead of the Internet.
If you choose to use iTunes to backup, you can either plug your device into your computer or use WiFi sync. Check out this article for more information on configuring iTunes WiFi sync.
There are a few ways to backup your iOS device with iTunes. If you are not using WiFi sync, plug your device into your computer with the USB cable, then start iTunes. If you have configured WiFi sync, simply start iTunes. If iTunes doesn’t find your iOS device for WiFi sync, quit iTunes and start it again. If it still can’t find your device, follow these steps to troubleshoot the problem. iTunes 11 has improved WiFi sync. It almost always detects my iPhone and iPad. (continue…)