What is an iCloud backup?

iCloud automatically backs up all of the data on your iPhone or iPad every day, so long as the device is connected to Wi-Fi, turned on, locked, and connected to a power source. This makes it easy to restore a device if you need to wipe it or set up a brand new iPhone or iPad with your existing data.

Here’s what gets backed up to iCloud:

  • iTunes purchase history
  • Photos and videos (unless you have iCloud Photo Library enabled)
  • Device settings
  • App data
  • Home screen and app ogranization
  • iMessage, text messages, MMS messages (if restoring, the SIM card used during back up is required)
  • Ringtones
  • Visual Voicemail password (if restoring, the SIM card used during back up is required)
  • Health data
  • HomeKit configuration

It can end up being quite a lot of data, which can take up a good chunk of your iCloud storage.

Why it’s good to keep your iCloud backups

Holding onto your iCloud backups means you get to take your data virtually anywhere, with the ability to access and restore your iPhone or iPad’s data from just about anywhere. It’s particularly handy for folks with multiple devices, especially those who rely on Accessibility settings, since you don’t have to manually set everything up again.

Remove an iOS device backup from iCloud

You can free up iCloud storage space by deleting the entire iCloud backup for an iOS device, such as a device you no longer own. If you’re restoring a device from an iCloud backup, you must wait until the restore operation is finished before you can delete the backup.

WARNING: If you delete the iCloud backup for your iOS device, iCloud stops automatically backing up the device. Instead of backing up your iOS device to iCloud, you can back up your device using iTunes.

  1. Do one of the following:Tap your Apple ID, tap iCloud, tap Manage Storage
    • On iOS 11 or later: Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backups.
    • With iOS 10.3: Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > iCloud Storage, then tap Manage Storage.
    • And iOS 10.2 or earlier: Go to Settings > iCloud > Storage, then tap Manage StorageTap Backup, tap the device whose backup you want to delete.
  2. Tap the name of a device whose backup you don’t need, then tap Delete Backup.

Tap Delete Backup, tap Turn Off & Delete