Apple offers very little iCloud storage and I am finding it quite difficult to backup both my iPad and iPhone.

I have set up my iPhone and iPad to sync wirelessly to my MacBook. Now every time they're connected to the same wifi, both my iPad and iPhone show up in Finder under the Locations section. From there I can press the "Back Up Now" button to back the device up via iTunes.

Does this happen automatically, just like iCloud backups? And what conditions do I need to meet in order for this to happen automatically (i.e. the iPhone/iPad needs to be connected to power)?


You need to set up iTunes to allow you to do the backup over WiFi and you need to sync the two devices at least once. After that you should be able to do it, provided;

  • Both devices must be on the same WiFi network
  • iTunes must be open on the Mac
  • The iOS device must be charging
  • I am running macOS Catalina and iTunes backups seem to happen in Finder and not iTunes. If I leave my MacBook switched on and the iOS device charging and on the same WiFi network, will the backup happen?
    – SidS
    Apr 21 '20 at 17:02
  • From my experience and @Minorite's answer, it seems that iTunes backups don't happen automatically and cannot be scheduled, like iCloud backups which are scheduled to run overnight.
    – SidS
    Jul 23 '20 at 14:28

No, there's no option in iTunes or Finder to make scheduled backups, they must be started manually (backup during sync is still a manual backup). If you want automatic local backups, you'll need a third-party iTunes replacer with that option.

  • Can you recommend any third-party software? I am thinking about creating my own MDM profile for my iPad and iPhone using the Apple Configurator 2 app on Mac. Apparently, I can back up my enrolled devices via command line. If that's possible, I can make my own command-line app which I can run on a schedule
    – SidS
    Jul 23 '20 at 14:26
  • @SidS iMazing, using it for backing up to NAS. Haven't seen any free alternatives, but cmd route may actually work if you plan to back up to a local drive..
    – Minorite
    Jul 25 '20 at 12:10

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