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Create iPhone backup on multiple computers iOS devices
I travel with a work MacBook and an iPhone, and I'm not home all the time to sync and create backups of my iPhone on my personal MacBook at home. If I'm away from home for a few weeks on business and something happens, I want to be able to recover my emails, my contacts, and text message history without waiting until I travel back home (sometimes a week or two).

After discovering that there was no official way to sync my iPhone to multiple iTunes libraries, I did some searching, and found a workaround. (I did try the method suggested on many sites, such as this one, but I wasn't able to get it to work.)

While poking around, I inadvertently discovered that if you check (or uncheck) Encrypt iPhone Backup (on the iPhone's Summary tab in iTunes) that this forces iTunes to create a new backup of the iPhone (after you are prompted for password) -- even if it's not a phone that is normally synced with that library.

While I suppose that this could have certain security risks, it gives me the ability to force a backup. Of course it's a full backup, so it takes a few minutes, unlike the normal sequential backups that happen with a normal sync.

This is especially handy right now, since I'm away from home and potentially taking my iPhone to have service done (battery problem)...and the first thing they ask you is 'Have you backed up recently?' Should anything bad happen, I want to be sure I'm covered. And now, I think I am!
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Create iPhone backup on multiple computers
Authored by: gopes on May 04, '10 08:00:07AM

I remember running into the same scenario when I had to emergency back up my iPhone away from my computer. I plugged in the iPhone holding command+option (to prevent iTunes from attempting to sync the iPhone--and device auto-sync can also be disabled in iTunes's preferences), and then chose "Backup" from the context-menu for the iPhone (a "right-click" for right-handed mouse users, control-click, etc.). My method obviously does not take security into account, but I did securely empty the trash to get rid of my backup file after.

I would love to complain about hidden-in-context-menu features that are unavailable in the menubar, but I'm sure I can find an interface-oriented website where it'd be on-topic.

Nice discovery, poster-whose-name-I-forget!

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Create iPhone backup on multiple computers
Authored by: d00d on May 04, '10 08:55:27AM

Yeah, I don't get how this is a tip. I've been backing up my iPhone to my work computer and my laptop for as long as I can remember with the context menu. Heck, it doesn't even bug me about auto-syncing when I just plug it in.

You can even install OS updates using a computer other than the one you sync with, no checkbox clicking hocus pocus needed.

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Create iPhone backup on multiple computers
Authored by: friedmaj on May 04, '10 08:39:54AM

I was a bit puzzled by this hint because I sync my iPhone to two computers every day: my MBP at home and my Mac Pro at work. I never get a warning message, and on both machines I can use the "Back Up" option that appears when one right-clicks on the iPhone icon.

I think the reason for this is that I have chosen to "Manually manage music and videos" in the Summary tab.

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Create iPhone backup on multiple computers
Authored by: kiltbear on May 04, '10 09:29:11AM

Neat idea, but as someone who travels a lot on the road and wants to be able to recover critical information, why aren't you using "the cloud"?

Contacts, Calendar and email on MobileMe. It is worth $99 for the piece of mind plus the find my iPhone feature.

You could go the totally Google route too. OR you could mix and match gmail with meContacts and meCal.

MobileMe and ActiveSync work together seamlessly, plus you don't have to remember to backup.

Caveat: these options don't save all of your settings for all of your apps. P

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Create iPhone backup on multiple computers
Authored by: leamanc on May 04, '10 11:37:35AM

Some good thoughts, and that's how I handle backups across multiple machines. In my case, I have MobileMe and a Zimbra server for the ActiveSync portion.

Since this keeps mail, contacts and calendars in sync, you are right that app settings may not get backed up as often. But I don't find this to be a very big deal, because once you have your settings in place, you are not likely to change them much after that. Any fairly recent backup will have your app settings.

If you really want to keep good backups (and a viewable history) of your calls and text messages, invest in Missing Sync for iPhone. Not everyone would want or need its features, but for those who do, it's worth every penny.

And, not to be a grammar Nazi, but the saying is "peace of mind," not "piece of mind." You want your mind to experience relaxation, not give a chunk of your mind. :-)

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Create iPhone backup on multiple computers
Authored by: ljharb on May 04, '10 01:58:26PM

In addition, just use DropBox and make a symlink to your iPhone Backups folder. Then you can access your backups from anywhere in case you need to restore and haven't made a backup wherever you are.

<shameless plug>If you sign up at we both get 250MB of free extra space.</shameless plug>

Edited on May 04, '10 01:59:18PM by ljharb

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What about restoring?
Authored by: macnixer on May 05, '10 07:32:05AM

Have you tried to restore from a secondary backup? As far as I know you will loose all you apps, music, videos, photos etc.

All you may have restored is: the mobile numbers and email config. Use the cloud. It is a lot easier.

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