Speed Up iPhone Backups

12Aug10

How can I speed up iPhone backups so I’ll never have to cancel mid-backup again? They seem to take forever when a couple minutes really should do it.

A. First off, keep your iOS software current. Not only will the latest updates squash bugs and add features, they can improve backup times. To update, sync your iPhone, select it in the iTunes sidebar, then go to the Summary tab.

B. Pare down the number of applications on your iPhone. Application data like in-app purchases, saved games, and new documents are all backed up when you sync, and that can add up to a long wait while the backup progress bar creeps by. To start cleaning house, connect to iTunes, select the Apps tab, then delete your most infrequently used applications. You’ll lose the data saved in these apps, but you’ll gain speedier backups.

Ask yourself this: Are those apps you never use on your iPhone really worth slowing down your backups?

C. Sync often. If you sync at least once or twice a day, fewer applications will have new data to back up when you reconnect to iTunes. If you can’t bear to part with any of the applications on your Home Screen, making multiple faster backups will let you keep all your favorite apps at your fingertips.

D. Keep Camera Roll clean. While the contents of your iPhone’s photo library aren’t backed up during a sync, the photos, movies, and screenshots in Camera Roll are. Transfer this media to iPhoto as soon as you begin a sync, and delete the files from Camera Roll when the transfer is complete to get this data copied onto your Mac while excluding it from being backed up in iTunes.

More photos = slower backups.

E. Connect to a USB port on your Mac instead of an external USB hub. Not all USB ports are created equal, and connecting to a powered, full-speed USB port that’s built into your Mac will ensure the fastest possible transfer speeds during backups. That means you can be off to your next port of call quickly, secure in the knowledge that your iPhone data is safe on your computer.

F. Before you sync to iTunes, purge unnecessary SMS messages, old call histories, and non-essential files downloaded by apps that store data on your iPhone. For example, if you regularly copy files to your iDisk app or productivity apps like DocsToGo, make sure you’re only carrying what you need before a backup. Odds are these files live elsewhere on your Mac or iDisk, so there’s no need to back them up again.

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