I'm new to iTunes and everything doesn't make sense for me. I need to do backup of contacts, photos and music on my iPhone.

I've tried to follow several manuals how to do backup on my Windows PC but can't pass few steps.

  1. My iPhone is connected by USB cable and is detected by iTunes
  2. I can't select anything from iTunes -> File -> Devices as all functions are grayed out
  3. In many manuals peoples refer that I have to turn off iCloud. I dont't see iCloud anywhere on iTunes or iPhone
  • Fail - on my PC the DEVICES does not appear when I select "Show Sidebar". This is the most annoying piece of software I have worked with and I am the senior network engineer for a very large company. It seems like every time there is an update to iTunes I have to relearn how to do something in the interface. Very annoying.
    – user46725
    Apr 4, 2013 at 16:36

4 Answers 4


By the wording in your question - it appears that two things are in order:

  1. Short answer on what a backup is
  2. Short answer on how to start one

Answering the how to backup is easiest. From the view menu, be sure you choose "Show Sidebar" so that you have a place in the main iTunes window to see the device when it gets connected over USB. Make sure the main window of iTunes is visible and connect your phone. If you have a Mac, the phone usually shows up under Devices within half a second or two. On a PC, you may need to wait for antivirus scanners, or the OS to recognize the device and perform a step or two in the OS to allow the computer to talk to the phone. It too should eventually show up in the sidebar. Either way, once it appears, use the mouse to click once on it. It should show the summary tab, but if not, click that at the top of the window just below and to the right of the play/pause button.

Now iTunes will show you one of many screens to manage the device where it normally shows the store or your music library.

Backups section of iTunes 11

Here you can see on the left where the device might be configured to back up to iCloud. You can change that or leave it as it appears. On the right, you can click Back Up Now and get a local backup.

Now to answer the "what is backed up" - you can read over this article while your backup is running. HT4946: iTunes: About iOS backups In particular, music is not backed up since it either came from a computer or from the cloud, so iTunes and iOS assume you back up your computer and they back up the cloud so you don't need to waste space on your computer and time backing up something that was just synced to the iOS device as opposed to being created there or only being stored there.

Once your backup is complete - click on the info tab and perhaps consider syncing the contents from addresses and calendars which will make a copy of that data available on your computer as opposed to having it stored away in a backup file where you can't really get to the contacts other than restoring them again onto a phone (replacing the contacts that were on that device in the process).

  • Also - even though I wrote a lot of words, I still left out a lot of "what if" potentials. If your phone doesn't backup or if it doesn't appear in iTunes - please ask a new question (after checking that we don't have an exact duplicate question already) since we like to have lots of detailed questions rather than fewer but longer discussions where one person gets worked through 10 steps needed to perform a high level task like this could be if there are other questions.
    – bmike
    Dec 29, 2012 at 14:44

As for iTunes on April 2013

  1. Open iTunes
  2. Click top left little icon. It will give you the option to Show Menu Bar.
  3. When this appears, click on View / Show Side Bar. This will return iTunes to how it was.
  4. Click on your device and look at the menu above the right side of the page. All the options you had before are there.

Tip for today. Point "Plex" to "C:\Users\[your user name]\Music\iTunes\iTunes Music" The synergy of iTunes and Plex is awesome.


I have an iPhone 4S and a PC running Windows 7 64-bit.

Setting iTunes and your iPhone to back up to iCloud is, in my opinion, a world of pain. It just doesn't work.

On your phone, tap Settings>iCloud> and then turn off Contacts and Calendars. Turn on Mail, Reminders, Safari, Notes, Passbook, Photo Stream, Documents and Data, Find My iPhone.Exit out of Settings.

On your PC, connect your iPhone via USB cable. iTunes may open automatically. If not, open iTunes manually.

Click on the iPhone "icon" on the top RHS of the screen. A new page will open with the options "Summary, Info, Apps, Tones, Music, Movies, TV Shows, Photos, On This iPhone". Click on "Summary" if that page isn't already open.

Select Automatically backup "TO THIS COMPUTER". Select options "Automatically sync when this iPhone is connected", "Sync with this phone over wi-fi". The other options are up to you.

Click on "Info". I run Microsoft Outlook 2010 on my PC. Therefore, on the "Info" page I checked "Sync Contacts with" Outlook, "Sync Calendars with" Outlook and "Sync Mail with" Outlook. I get a very nice 2-way sync happening between phone and PC when I sync with iTunes.


I have a new 4s iphone. I have backed up my old phone in the cloud. I connect my new phone with usb connection. I access itunes, my device is recognized. I go to the view and open but there is no option to restore...my music will not load into my new phone...I am on a mac osx

  • Are you looking to ask a new question or perhaps edit this into more of an answer?
    – bmike
    Feb 8, 2013 at 20:36

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