Backing up to iCloud solves the dilemma of the old-school backup via iTunes on your computer; simply connect to a Wi-Fi network and it instantly backs up in the background. Unlike local backups, using Wi-Fi can be slow for some people (especially for the first time users) and it can be frustrating when it doesn’t complete the backup successfully. However, here’s some of the workarounds you can do to solve this problem.
Check Individual App Backup Size
Since iCloud “just works” once you set it up, sometimes it blindfully uploads backups of apps that contains large file size in it. Apps like Downcasts or any Newsstand apps which periodically downloads in the background can grow megabytes in size instantly, thus slowing your backup. This can be inevitable if you’re running out of space on your device and iCloud. However, you can disable the backup of any individual apps that stores files in it by simply sliding the switch to OFF.
Tap Settings.app > iCloud > Storage & Backup > Manage Storage > (device name)
As you can see, I have previously backed-up my iPhone to iCloud with the size clearly states 229MB. However, when you take a look at my Next Backup Size, it grows to a whopping 375MB!
The culprit here seems to be my Camera Roll which is about 81.3MB. By turning the switch to OFF, my backup is now at a dismal 294MB. It might seem like a small difference but every megabyte counts if your internet connection is not as fast as you’d wish. If you happen to snap a lot of pics, especially with an iPhone 4S’ 8 megapixel camera, each images weighs in at about 1MB each and may grow over time.
However, if you’re really embracing the post-pc world (which means hardly backs up to a computer), you might wanna consider leaving Camera Roll backup to ON. You don’t wanna lose previous pics, don’t you? But apps that stores cache files like TuneIn Radio or Downcasts does not necessarily need an iCloud backup. With it, you save space and time.
Disable Individual App Backups
Most of us enjoyed downloading lots of apps to our devices, probably you simply wanna try it out. If you don’t like it, you deleted it. But if you’ve launched it before, iCloud may have inadvertently set the backup of that app to ON, which continues to do so even after you’ve deleted the app. This is normal because you might wanna redownload that app so that it stays where you left of. That’s not the case for some of us here. Luckily, it’s very easy to remedy this.
Tap Settings.app > iCloud > Storage & Backup > Manage Storage > (device name) and selectively disable apps that you prefer not to backup. For instance, I don’t want to backup certain apps like ShoeBox and iPhoto that already saves photos to my Camera Roll (which I tend to move around manually). I also disable backup for apps like Tweetbot and Pages because it already save the state on a separate iCloud portion, Documents in the Cloud, which already consumes some of your iCloud quota. You don’t wanna duplicate your backup, aren’t you? In fact, I have also disable game backups like Infinity Blade II and Real Racing 2 based on the same reason. Remember, only preserve space for apps you cared the most, so it can upload your backups fast and smooth.
We would recommend you to backup on a fast internet connection when possible. However, if you’re using a broadband, there’s no reason not to backup to the cloud. Simply charge your device at night while you were asleep and it backs up your data silently when you’re connected to Wi-Fi. By the time you wake up, it already has your backup files, safe and sound. This is probably the most recommended method.
Hidden iCloud Backup Feature
Starting iOS 5, iCloud saves the backup of your device incrementally over the air. This means that once 300 MB of your backups have been uploaded, subsequent backups only uploads what’s change. For example, if your backups grew from 300MB to 305MB, it only backs up changes of 5MB instead of uploading the entire 305MB; saving you time. Smart.
Not all of us were blessed with a fast internet connection to backup our devices, so it doesn’t hurt to backup to both iCloud and iTunes at least once a week. Better be safe than sorry if one day you end up losing your precious baby but has no backup to save you.