So I bought a new iPhone 5 64GB and I enabled iCloud backup. For a while now it has not been able to backup my iPhone, since the 5GB of iCloud storage quickly ran out. I didn't feel like upgrading my storage plan, since there's anyway no storage plan that is able to backup 64GB. So I decided to store the backups on my computer.

I connect my iPhone to my Mac and iTunes 11 opens up. Nothing is where it used to be and when I finally find my iPhone in the top right corner I'm presented with two options:

  • Set up as new iPhone
  • Restore from the backup of ...

(My itunes is in Swedish, so this is what I think it would say in English.)

So whatever I choose I lose all my data, which is really stupid, since the point of doing backups is to not lose data.

Is there any way to backup my iPhone without first deleting all data?

Note: This question seems similar, but it's for iTunes 10: How to set up new iPhone without deleting its data?

  • Most (if not all) of the answers in the linked question are still valid for iTunes 11.
    – nohillside
    Feb 10, 2013 at 18:47

5 Answers 5


Don't worry, you don't loose all your data. You can choose "Set up as new iPhone".

Nothing gets synced or deleted after clicking this option.

After that, you can backup your iPhone.

Choose "encrypted backup" to also backup your settings and passwords.

  • 1
    I'd like a reliable source, because I've read that it does.
    – Erik B
    Feb 10, 2013 at 19:00
  • 2
    If you checked "automatically sync with itunes", yes, your data is maybe gone. But since it's a new iPhone and you never checked anything, it just activated the iPhone to this Computer and you are ready to go. Source: I've did it, and everything went fine.
    – ohboy21
    Feb 10, 2013 at 19:11
  1. Connect your iPhone and run iTunes on your Mac
  2. Right-click on the iPhone icon which appeared on the left side and click "Backup"
  3. iTunes will now back up your iPhone settings, messages, emails, camera roll photos, etc
  • I will try this when I come home, but I'm pretty sure Apple didn't make it this easy. Well I guess we'll find out.
    – Erik B
    Jul 11, 2013 at 16:02

The backup doesn't include media since all your media files should be either in iTunes or iCloud. Backups for my 64GB iPad and 32GB iPhone only take about 3GB of backup space each and that's only because TomTom app had off-line maps that take over a GB. It does include photos and video so that could be an issue.

  • 1
    This doesn't really answer the question, though.
    – Emil
    Feb 10, 2013 at 20:39
  • Huh? iCloud media I can understand, but iTunes stuff would be synced to the device, right?
    – SilverWolf
    Jan 23, 2018 at 21:08

If there is backup files in your iTunes, you cannot sync again to backup it, it will delete backup with your new iPhone data. So you need to restart a new account in iTunes and sync back the data to iTunes to backup iPhone.

  • 1
    Can you please elaborate what you mean with "new account in iTunes" and explain the procedure a bit more in detail? Right now it's a bit hard to follow.
    – nohillside
    Sep 25, 2013 at 5:47

I was in the situation, and what iTunes displays is a bit frightening and misleading. Fortunately, iTunes doesn't do something that would be outrageously stupid.

You can link your phone with one computer running the iTunes app to synchronize music, videos, audiobooks; all the things that are controlled by iTunes. So if I took my phone, with my music, that was always connected to iTunes on my computer, and connected it to iTunes on your computer, then "Set up as new iPhone" really means "Set up as a new iPhone connected to this iTunes app". The music and videos that were stored in my iTunes app are gone, but everything else stays intact and you can back it all up.

So basically you cannot have music from two different computers on your iPhone at the same time, but you can backup your phone on a fresh computer or on multiple computers. If you had music or videos from another computer on your phone that would be gone, but you don't have that, so you are fine.

(I ran into the problem when my wife wanted a ringtone on her iPhone, that was only ever backed up on iCloud, and you need to connect an iPhone to your computer to install a ringtone that you created yourself on your computer. So I have done this, and it worked).

Now where this is a problem is if you had tons of music on your computer, it gets stolen or breaks without you having a backup, and then you cannot connect your iPhone to a new computer without losing your music. Still everything else is Ok.

  • ..."Manually manage music and videos"?
    – SilverWolf
    Jan 23, 2018 at 21:09

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