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I keep telling my Dad to upgrade his iPod touch from iOS 4 to iOS 5, and his response is "but I'll lose all my data". Can I be confident that simply backing up by right clicking in iTunes and clicking "backup" from the menu will backup the iPod exactly as it is, so that it can be restored with the only difference being the new OS? I seem to remember reading that iOS devices keep two partitions, one for data and one for the OS, so in theory this should be good to go. I'm just not sure if there's anything obvious that I'm missing.

Does backing up in iTunes preserve absolutely everything from photos to contacts to home screen layout? If not, is there a way to back it up manually?

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Well, your backups store all of your data, excluding media and apps. But, if you have been syncing with iTunes, all of your media should be already there. And, the upgrade process does not wipe data so you should be good to go.

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Upgrading the OS should keep all his data intact, but iTunes always makes a backup before syncing (and updating). You'll find everything you need to know about iOS device backups here:

http://www.macworld.com/article/144086/2009/11/tco_iphoneos3.html

I don't think it's mentioned explicitly in the macworld article but in my own experience I found out that the home screen layout is a part of the backup.

I have to note here that when iTunes makes a backup it tends to replace the previous backup with the new one. So if there's a backup you want to keep no matter what or you simply prefer to keep multiple backups (in case one of them turns out to be corrupted for example), you'll need to manually change the name of a backup.

http://techtips.salon.com/make-one-iphone-backup-3664.html

Good luck with the upgrade!

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