How to enable automatic backups on your iPhone without upgrading iCloud storage

1. Not all your apps have to be backed up by Apple.
2. Remove less important apps from a backup list and enable iCloud backup.

How iCloud backup works

Your apps are saved in the Apple’s cloud, so that you can access them if you lose your device or replace with a new one.

What data is being saved in an iCloud backup?

  • Apps’ content – for instance photos in the Photo app, or books in a Kindle app.
  • App’s login credentials – so that you don’t have to log in again when you set a new device from a backup.
  • App’s current status – for instance, the current last-read position in the Apple Books app, the custom app icon, etc.
  • App’s settings and user preferences – for instance the chosen font, theme, shortcuts, etc.


To enable automatic backups of your iPad or iPhone within the free iCloud storage plan.


The free iCloud plan offers only 5 GB of storage. You will easily exceed this limit if you shoot a few videos or download one app too many.


Manage a list of backup enabled apps:

1. Remove apps which are not essential

Not all apps you have downloaded to your iPhone deserve to take a precious back up space. You get some apps to test, some other to play for a while. You decide to keep them on your device or forget to remove.

You can remove these apps from a backup list.

2. Remove apps which are synced by other services

Some apps are synced separately by their own platforms.

For instance, if you use Google apps – Gmail, Calendar, Drive, or Keep – you don’t need to back them up in iCloud.

When you set up a new iPhone or iPad, you will need to reinstall these apps, but the moment you sign in is the moment you get access to the latest content.

How to manage iCloud backup within free storage

1. Go to Settings » Apple ID » iCloud.

2. In the list “Apps Using iCloud,” deselect the apps you don’t want to have in your backup.

3. Find on this list the app called “iCloud Backup” and tap it.

4. Toggle the button to enable backup.

If your backup apps take less than 5 GB, the backup option will be enabled.

If your backup apps take more space than 5 GB, an alert will appear saying that more iCloud storage is needed and stating how much extra space is needed.

In this case, go back to the list of backup enabled apps and deselect some more.

Tip: Photos and videos usually take the most space. Install Google Photos and enable automatic backup option. When you open Google Photos and the back up is finished, you can remove photos from Apple Photos app, releasing a space you need for backing up the rest of your iPhone.

Note: Please keep in mind that if you want to re-enable backup for some apps, for instance, Apple Photos – and there is not enough free space – you will not be able to do it without upgrading iCloud plan.

Keep exploring. Here are other tips and lists for iPad users:

[gu-archive number=5 tag=”ipad”]


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