My iPad "synced" to iTunes once so I could set some settings. My iPad (iPad 2 iOS 5.0.1) is set to sync to iCloud. However when I set off a backup, iTunes opens on my PC and it seems that iTunes is doing the sync.

Is my data being saved in iCloud, on my PC or both? Can I get it to sync just to iCloud but be able to manage it via iTunes? I don't want the backup to eat space on my PC.

2 Answers 2


You can tell if you are backing up to iCloud by going to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup on your iPad. Look at the bottom of that page and it will indicate when the last backup was.

In iTunes, on the Summary tab there is a check box to backup to iCloud. If you ever want to backup to the computer you can Cmd-click on the device in the iTunes sidebar and select backup now ( or something like that).

Syncing and backup are not the same thing.

  • I was confused by iTunes "syncing" apps every time I connect to my PC...what exactly does that mean anyway? iCloud or the iTunes store seems to remember what apps I have regardless, but every sync iTunes takes 5 minutes to sync apps.
    – Ben Brocka
    Feb 11, 2012 at 21:02
  • IF you have iCloud backup selected then the backup portion of a sync goes to iCloud. iCloud will also sync the apps, music, etc. that was purchase via iTunes. Sync to iTunes on a computer will sync all apps, music, books, layout, etc. that is in your iTunes library. That may be a superset of the items you have purchased in iTunes if you've ripped music, movies or added PDFs to iBooks.
    – afragen
    Feb 12, 2012 at 16:05
  • I see, I found the folder where my apps were stored. They're taking up too much space (15GB), if I have this down right I can sync my iPad to iCloud, stop syncing apps from my PC and then restore my iPad from iCloud to keep my apps but stop syncing them to PC?
    – Ben Brocka
    Feb 12, 2012 at 16:14
  • Since iOS 5 the cord has been cut. You don't need to sync to the PC/Mac any longer, however, only apps, music, books, purchased in iTunes will be restored from iCloud.
    – afragen
    Feb 12, 2012 at 17:35
  • I did sync them though, and unsynced them to save space. All went well though, just found it odd I had to delete everything.
    – Ben Brocka
    Feb 13, 2012 at 0:57

Here's one way to tell:

  • Connect your iPad to your computer (via USB cable).
  • Start iTunes.
  • Look for your iPad on the left in the Devices section.
  • Select your iPad.
  • Look at the Backup section.

You should have the choice to either backup to iCloud or backup to this computer.

To save your data to iTunes, select the first option. And you can still manage your iPad's content via iTunes, using it to add apps, music, movies, etc. This is what I do with multiple iDevices.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .