How to back up your iPhone before installing iOS 7

Although it's not likely you'll run into trouble with the new OS, better safe than sorry. Here's a quick refresher on backing up your data.

Apple's iOS 7 makes its debut today, and many users are champing at the bit to get their hands on this massively overhauled operating system.

Before you make the jump, however, it's a good idea to make sure you've got a full backup of your iPhone, just in case something goes wrong. That's not likely, given that beta testers have been putting iOS 7 through its paces for months, but better safe than sorry.

Your iPhone gets backed up to one of two places: iTunes on your computer or iCloud in the, er, cloud. Here's how to manually create a backup on whichever one you use.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Back up to iTunes

Step 1: Connect your iPhone to your computer via USB sync cable.

Step 2: By default, this will launch iTunes and start the sync process, which includes making a backup. However, if your iPhone isn't set to autosync, continue on to Step 3.

Step 3: Click the Summary button for your iPhone. Then, in the Backups section, click the Back Up Now button. Depending on how long it's been since your last backup, this might take 30 seconds or several minutes. Either way, that's it, you're done.

Update:Consider enabling encryption for this backup, which will carry over iOS "keychain" info (e-mail account passwords, Wi-Fi passwords, and various app/Web passwords) should you need to restore your iPhone. Just tick the box next to "Encrypt iPhone backup" before hitting step 3. And make sure to note the password you're using for the encrypted backup.

Back up to iCloud

Step 1: Make sure your iPhone is connected to a Wi-Fi network.

Step 2: Tap the Settings icon, then tap iCloud.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Step 3: Tap Storage & Backup, then Back Up Now. Again, this might happen quickly, or it could take a while.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

That's all there is to it! Now you can go forth and install iOS 7, with every confidence that if something gets mucked up along the way, you should be able to restore your iPhone to its previous, working, iOS 6 state.

Of course, you should also check out Jason Cipriani's post, "Five things to do before installing iOS 7," just to make all your bases are covered.

New look, new features in iOS 7
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