How to Update an iPhone Without Losing Data

by Avery Martin
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Software updates always come with the potential risk of data loss if an error occurs during the updating process. The iPhone provides a way to preserve your data by creating a backup on your computer. After creating a backup of your iPhone's data, all your content, data and settings can be restored in the event of a data failure. You can also use your backup to transfer the contents and settings of an old iPhone when upgrading to a new iPhone.

Back Up IPhone

Step 1

[Launch iTunes]( on the "home computer" used to sync content to your iPhone. On Windows, click the Start menu and type "iTunes" into the search box. On Mac, click the "iTunes" application in the Dock.

Step 2

Update your computer to the latest version of iTunes by clicking the "Help" menu on Windows computers or "iTunes" on Mac computers. Select "Check for Updates."

Step 3

Plug your iPhone into your computer using the supplied USB connector cable.

Step 4

Right-click on your iPhone when it appears in the Devices section of iTunes.

Select "Back Up" to create a backup of your iPhone.

Update or Restore iPhone

Step 1

Connect your iPhone to your computer and launch iTunes if it isn't already open.

Step 2

Select your iPhone from the Devices section and click the "Summary" tab.

Click "Check for Update" and install the update to your iPhone. Provided the update is successful, you don't need to restore your content to your iPhone. If the update fails, click the "Restore" button in the Summary tab, then select your iTunes backup when prompted.


  • Information in this article applies to iPhones running iOS 4, iOS 5 or iOS 6 and computers running iTunes 10. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.


  • If you want to use your iTunes backup to restore information to a new iPhone, use the Apple ID of your old iPhone when setting up the device. Then, set your sync options to sync content from your iTunes library to your iPhone.


Photo Credits

  • Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

About the Author

Avery Martin holds a Bachelor of Music in opera performance and a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian studies. As a professional writer, she has written for, Samsung and IBM. Martin contributed English translations for a collection of Japanese poems by Misuzu Kaneko. She has worked as an educator in Japan, and she runs a private voice studio out of her home. She writes about education, music and travel.

More Articles