Is iPhone Backup redundant?

This seems like something that was very useful in the early days, but with ubiquitous high-speed internet isn’t it just as easy to re-sync data from iCloud? I realize this is more of a nuke-and-pave approach, but why have a separate backup (also stored on iCloud) that doesn’t even include data from several apps (like Photos, Notes, Messages, Mail, etc.)

Seems redundant at this time.

I guess I’m a belt and suspenders kind of guy when it comes to backing up my data. I still do both.


I’ve gone back and forth with iCloud but I currently have iCloud Backup turned on for my iPhone, but I also plug it into my Mac and store an encrypted backup there, too. (Not sure we’re talking about the same things.) P.S. Redundant data protection is a good thing.

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There is a important difference, between a backup, and syncing via a cloud Service!

It would take me days to arrange my app icons, reconfigure all apps, rercreate all widgets, re-login into every service and so on. Perhaps I wouldn’t loose a lot of data without a backup, but certainly a lot of time.

Because a backup and iCloud are two separate things.


So none of those things are saved as part of iCloud sync?

um NO

iCloud is a SYNC service NOT a Backup!

Not to mention there are those of us who will not use iCloud except for find my mac and safari bookmarks.


No, Sync, takes data you may need elsewhere, e.g. information for your apps to function, some settings. But if, for example, you owned and used 2 different iphones, Sync would not keep the two phones looking the same, it may transfer some settings, but it ensures that your app data is available to all apple devices that need it (including Phones, Watches, TVs, Tablets and Computers).

A backup takes a point of time copy of the state of your device, including any app data you specify, so that if required, it can be restored to that same state. Your photos (for example) on iCloud Photos are not backed up because Apple feels that it has them covered with Sync (I also think that they don’t want to explain why they would be doubling up on their use of your storage). I don’t agree with apple and back them up from my Mac to Backblaze.

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OK, now that I think about it, this makes sense. If you have an iPhone and an iPad they not only have different apps available but different usages would make screen position of apps/groups probably useless.

To my original point, I guess that leaves me trying to minimize app data and the backup size. Trying to keep two iPhones under 50GB of backup space seems like it should be easier. Photos are all handled by Google Photos, none on iCloud. I guess it’s time to get serious and move more things to Google Drive…

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Your only problem here is that the ability to use iCloud and Apple iCloud backups is baked into the OS. By using Google Drive you lose some of that ability.

It sounds like you’re trying to save money on extending your iCloud storage. (don’t get me started on the fact an iPhone costs approx £700 upwards and Apple is skimping on the default storage level.)

I realise I don’t know your take on your finances, but for me the £2.99 a month it costs to step up to 200GB is worth it for peace of mind, but of course YMMV.

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There are two factors at play here. One factor is ease of use/reliability. For that main reason, I switched from Photos/iCloud to Google Photos. The second factor is cost. Once our photos/videos exceeded 200GB (a long time ago) I looked at the next tier up for both iCloud and Google. iCloud+ w/ 2TB is $120/yr. Google One 2TB is $100.

Combine those two and I moved all documents and files (as much as possible) to Google Drive and all photos/videos to Google Photos. I still have $12/yr for 50GB of iCloud, which offsets most of the cost savings, but the reliability/ease of use factors still tilt things to Google.

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I’m not one to make excuses for Apple. Every time I read a story of Apple’s desire to get a percentage of every transaction I hear the Beatle’s playing in the distance.
(Let me tell you how it will be)

But Apple is spending around $700,000,000 a year leasing cloud storage from Amazon and Google. I’d say the odds of Apple increasing our free iCloud storage are exceedingly thin.

Generally I’m in agreement. Two things though…

  • Not all iCloud accounts belong to people who bought phones. That would have to be factored in somehow.
  • The expected lifespan of an Apple device is probably in the 6-7 year range, and might include 3 different owners. So that would have to be factored in as well.

I realize that storage gets cheaper at scale, but at Apple’s size it’s definitely non-trivial. Also worth noting that iCloud isn’t just a “data at rest” service. It includes sync, file sharing, collaboration, etc. Bandwidth is also a non-trivial consideration.

All that to say, I don’t think 5 GB is reasonable for a purchaser of $700 phone either - but there’s a lot to consider as far as “doing it right”. I think that if Apple matched Google’s default offering (and upgrade pricing) that would be very reasonable.

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With Apple selling over 200m iPhones a year (let’s call is 210m) and the average selling price for each one being around $800 that makes approx 168bn dollars a year just for iPhones)

So the 30 cents it costs per new iPhone (not even counting older phones) is a pittance

Apple can afford it

Sure they can, but they won’t. Because they don’t have to. More free storage is not enough of an incentive to cause anyone to purchase an iPhone. And it’s not like giving someone a free charger with their iPhone. It’s an ongoing cost as long as the user stays with Apple.

Tim Cook and his leadership team appear to be great people. I’d enjoy having a coffee with any of them. But they are also ruthless when it comes to business. You don’t become the most valuable company in the world if you aren’t.

I wouldn’t expect a company to give me something for free just because I purchased something expensive from them. Doing that would raise their cost of goods sold which would increase the price they had to charge me to make the same profit. So in the case of “free” iCloud I would be paying for it whether I used it or not.

Apple is a large corporation that has to show continued growth or its stock will suffer. When that doesn’t happen . . .

“Apple marked a grim milestone this week, falling about $1 trillion below a peak reached in 2022.” - ABC News

We tend to think of Apple as invincible, it’s not. The pandemic is “over” officially and people aren’t buying tech the way they were. They are going out and spending their money on other things. Supply chain problems will continue to be a problem for the foreseeable future especially for a company dependent on China. And that doesn’t take into account the possibility of a world wide recession that some think is inevitable.

Meta (FaceBook) was worth over $1 Trillion around a year ago, today it’s worth about half that. Things can change rather quickly.

And how much of this sum is being paid to pay for the development, the construction, the actual build, the transport, the selling and the multiple taxes on all of this before a customer could get his hands on his iPhone?

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I don’t expect it to be free either. I think that in the grand value calculus, Apple is making a bad set of choices.

This reminds me of our local university.

I had some friends who stayed in the dorm. Back in the day, this cost about $2000 per semester. In the dorms, there was a lending library where you could borrow pots, pans, board games, etc. The cost to be able to use this lending library was $30 per semester. But they didn’t build it into the cost of the dorms, and nobody considered it or even found out about it before they moved in.

That meant that the people making the $30 decision were college students that were both significantly poorer, and in a markedly different state of mind then when they were paying the dorm fees.

The result was that you had a bunch of college students who would have extensively used this lending library if they had access to it, but they didn’t have the money. Had the university bundled the lending library with the dorm fees, everybody would’ve had access to it, and had a much better college experience.

In that case, it wouldn’t have been free. But bundling it with the initial purchase would have provided a substantial value. That’s kind of how I’m looking at this thing with Apple.

Their net income is about $100 billion which, by my understanding, would have all of those costs you mentioned taken out already.

I’m not saying that they will, just that they should. It’s stingy to say the least and it’s a really poor customer experience. Buy a new iPhone and then pay to sync your photos.

I’d have a different opinion if they were selling the iPhone at cost, but they’re making hundreds of dollars on every single phone.

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But that is their overall net income, not the profit from selling the iPhones, right!
And as @WayneG already wrote, Apple is spending at least $700.000.000 on CloudStorage right now, so there is not that much space for them, to give 2TB out as a indefinitely free gift to all iPhone Buyers… :thinking: