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Deleting old iCloud Backups

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Q: I recently upgraded to the new iPhone, so on I backed my old one up and restored it to the new one. Now I keep getting notifications that I’m running out of storage in iCloud. If I select the option to delete the backup from my old iPhone from iCloud will that also erase the stuff from my phone?

- Cady

A: The short answer is no—deleting your old iPhone backup from iCloud is completely safe and won’t affect any of the data on your actual iPhone. In fact, even deleting the backup of your current iPhone won’t have any impact on what’s actually on your device. The information stored in your iCloud Backups is just that—a backup, or copy, of what is currently on your iPhone.

You can remove any device backup stored in iCloud by going into your iOS Settings app and selecting iCloud, Storage & Backup and then Manage Storage. This will display a list of all of the device backups stored in iCloud, with the device you’re currently using listed at the top and indicated as such. Selecting any backup by tapping on it will display the backup size, date and time the backup was last made, and a “Delete Backup” button at the bottom. Selecting the backup for the device you’re using will display additional options for configuring what to back up, but if you scroll down the “Delete Backup” button can still be found at the bottom of the list.

 

While removing this backup will not affect anything on your device, it will leave you without a backup until another one is made, so it’s a good idea to not delete your old backup until you’re in a position to make backup from your new device. As long as you’re on a Wi-Fi network, you can make an iCloud Backup on demand at any time simply by tapping the “Back Up Now” button at the bottom of the iCloud Storage & Backup screen.

 

It’s a good idea to do this manually immediately after you delete your old iCloud backup to ensure that you have a current backup of your data just in case. Once you’ve made this initial backup, your device will continue to be backed up to iCloud automatically one every 24 hours as long as your device is plugged in and connected to a Wi-Fi network.

 

Note that you can also make an on-demand backup to your computer using iTunes at any time, even if you normally use iCloud for automatic backups. Simply connect your iPhone to your Mac or Windows PC and click the “Back Up Now” button on the Summary screen for your device. This will make an extra, one-time backup to your computer and can be useful as an extra precaution if you’re really concerned about not having a current backup, especially if you’re having problems backing up to iCloud or don’t have a Wi-Fi connection readily available to make an iCloud backup.

 

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