How you back up your iPhone and iPad in macOS 10.15 Catalina

The iTunes app may be gone, but you can still back up your iOS device to your Mac.

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For iPhone and iPad users who still connect their devices to a Mac for syncing and backups (and there are a lot of people who still do this), there are changes coming in the next version of the Mac operating system. In macOS 10.15 Catalina, the iTunes app is gone.

Now you use the Finder, similar to how you see a hard drive or a server. Here’s how to use your device in the Finder and how to back it up.

Your iOS device in the Finder

When you connect your iPhone or iPad to your Mac using a Lightning cable, it will appear in a Finder window. In the macOS Catalina Public Beta, your device is in the left column in the “Locations” section. (If this is the first time you are connecting the Mac and iOS device, you will be asked to pair the two on the Mac, and you’ll have to trust the Mac on your iOS device.)

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You’ll be asked if you want to pair your device if it’s new to your Mac.

When you click on your iOS device in the left column, the window will fill with some information that looks a lot like the info you used to see in the iTunes app.

How to back up your iOS device in macOS Catalina

1. Connect your iPhone or iPad to your Mac using a Lighting cable.

2. Open a window in the Finder (Command-N).

3. In the Locations section in the left column of the Finder window, look for your device and click on it.

4. Information about your device should appear in the right side of the window. Click on the General button near the top of the window if it’s not already active.

5. Look for the section labelled Backups. You have a few options to consider:

  • You can choose to back up “your most important data” to iCloud, or you can back up all of your device’s data to your Mac.

  • If you want to encrypt the backups on your Mac, check the box for “Encrypt local backup.” You will need to create a password.

6. When you are ready to back up your device, click the Back Up Now button. You can also click the Sync button at the bottom of the window.

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Backup options for your iOS device.

How to restore your iOS device in macOS Catalina

If you need to restore your iPhone or iPad using a backup on your Mac, here’s how it’s done.

1. Connect your iPhone or iPad to your Mac using a Lighting cable.

2. Open a window in the Finder (Command-N).

3. In the Locations section in the left column of the Finder window, look for your device and click on it.

4. Information about your device should appear in the right side of the window. Click on the General button near the top of the window if it’s not already active.

5. Look for the section labelled Backups. Click on the Restore Backup button.

6. A window will appear where you pick what backup to use to restore. If you click the pop-up menu labeled “backup,” you can pick which backup to use. Pick one.

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7. Enter your password in the Password section.

8. Click Restore to start the process. This will take a few minutes to complete.

How to manage your iOS device backups in macOS Catalina

When you back up your iOS device to your Mac, it doesn’t always replace the previous backup. This is handy in case you want to restore from a different point in time. But each backup takes up storage space. Here’s how you can delete backups you don’t want.

1. Connect your iPhone or iPad to your Mac using a Lighting cable.

2. Open a window in the Finder (Command-N).

3. In the Locations section in the left column of the Finder window, look for your device and click on it.

4. Information about your device should appear in the right side of the window. Click on the General button near the top of the window if it’s not already active.

5. Look for the section labelled Backups. Click on the Manage Backups button.

6. A list called “Device backups” will appear. They’re labeled based on the name of the device that was backed up, and the date. You can select one of these, and then click Delete Backup if you want to delete it.

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