I have always used my Mac/iTunes to back up iOS devices.

One benefit I see is that my Mac Time Machine solution will backup the contents of the computer, including the iOS backups – I imagine that as creating something similar a to snapshot history of the iOS devices (assuming one can navigate to earlier Time Machine snapshots, and extract & restore the iOS backups therein).

Recently, Apple seems to have improved its iCloud Backup solution. Does Apple provide snapshot histories of iOS backups, or only the latest backup image?


2 Answers 2


There used to be a statement in the iCloud Terms and Conditions Version from March 1, 2017 (Internet Archive Link) that "iCloud will store your last three backups" (for a device).

However, this statement has been removed as of 2020. The Terms now only say that "If a device has not backed up to iCloud for a period of one hundred and eighty (180) days, Apple reserves the right to delete any backups associated with that device." (current iCloud Terms and Conditions).

Speaking from experience, iCloud does sometimes keep multiple backups for a single device, but as far as I know there is no way to control this behavior.

If you like to keep a snapshot history of your iCloud backups, I'd recommend to continue backing up using your Mac.


First you enable iCloud and all the services that you want to backup (for most it's all the checkboxes). During the night the iPhones makes an iCloud backup for that day.

So if you were to restore the iPhone, in setup process you could either choose to setup as new, backup from Mac or backup from the iCloud. If you choose iCloud, you would get everything back included all apps that would automatically download and network settings for example.

Here is the tricky part. While by default most people choose the iCloud backup to get their latests backup and that works for almost everyone, you can also set the iPhone as new, get back your iCloud data (contacts, messages, photos) but discard network settings and other settings that don't get included in the regular iCloud saves. When you do this on create a secondary backup that's available to choose when you will setup a new phone next time, so in a sense it's a snapshot. As to why you would need that, that's another questions and I for sure wouldn't rely on this method.

Here is an image of how it looks like when you have multiple iCloud backups to choose from on restore. Note also that you can delete other backups from previous phone from settings > iCloud > backups.

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