We’ve all heard that backups are important. But how long does it actually take to backup your iPhone? Many people don’t know the answer, so we decided to investigate this for ourselves.
It turns out that it takes four hours and twenty-five minutes on average, or about an hour for each phone backup you make, from start to finish — assuming you have a fast Internet connection and don’t run into any hiccups along the way. This is just one more good reason why backing up your iPhone should be a priority.
So how long did it take for us to backup an iPhone?
We backed up three iPhones (one each with a 4S, 5C and 5S using iOS 7.1.1) on three different data lines to three different locations — and then we averaged the times together.
Internet Connection Speed: 3 Mbps Download
We connected to our local wireless network, and then ran the backup using iTunes. We started the backup at 9:50 AM EST and finished it at 1:15 PM, for an average time of about an hour and fifteen minutes.
The backup process was actually fairly straightforward, but there were a few moments of trial and error along the way.
As a reminder, the last step of the backup process is sending the backup to your computer over iTunes. If you have a lot of music and videos on your device, that could take quite some time as well.
And yes, this is how our data lines were connected throughout our test (each data line was individually tested for these results). We actually used one of the above data lines just yesterday to conduct an iTunes and iCloud backup of an iPhone 5C — so we can confirm that this is how things looked on our iPhones during a recent backup.
What about WiFi or Cellular?
It’s worth noting that if you use your phone for WiFi, then you could be backing up much faster than the four hours and twenty-five minute average. However, in our tests we were also uploading the backup over a cell connection, so we can’t really say if that affected the results.
Also keep in mind that if you’re running out of storage space on your iPhone, or your computer has a slow data connection, or you’re on a cellular data plan with very high usage limits (for example those offered by some cellular carriers), then these times might take much longer.
Which backup process is faster?
Backups are generally faster when you have iTunes set to automatically back up your iPhone, and when you have plenty of free space on your hard drive. (Remember that one of the recurring backup processes includes syncing your iPhone with iTunes over a local network connection.) So if you’re looking to speed up the backup process, then it might be worth deleting some apps or music from your device.
Also, as we noted above, backing up your iPhone over WiFi should be much faster than backing it up over a cell data connection — especially if you’re on a slow cellular plan.