Bandwidth hungry iCloud backup, choose manual or cable

By Peter Chubb - Oct 14, 2011

With the launch of iCloud we can finally throw away those cables – well for the most part – as we can now backup our devices wirelessly. However, things are never as they seem, and we have had a number of readers including myself fall victim to Apple’s new feature being bandwidth hungry. But is this a reason to backup manually or even worse, go back to the dreaded cable?

Backing up your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad device that supports iOS 5 is now effortless, as your photos, game data, mail etc will be backed up without you knowing about it – or will you? iCloud is very clever in what it does though, as it will never re-upload the same content twice, it will only ever do so when your content changes on your iOS 5 device. So it all seems perfect right, well it’s not so for a select few.

iClould Backup will only happen when your device is charging and connected to your Wi-Fi network, it’s then that the fun begins. Depending how much data you have saved on your phone a huge amount will have to be transferred via your wireless network, which is an issue if your main computer also relies on a wireless connection. A few readers and myself have found that when the iCloud Backup is running Internet speed is reduced to 0.58MB/s or even slower.

Now you can decide to charge and sync your iOS device when you do not need to use your computer – which is not ideal – or you can manage your storage manually. For those with a huge amount of data being backed up you will need to go to (Settings -> iCloud -> Storage & Backup -> Manage Storage -> [Device Name]). From there just select what you want to be backed up, this should help a great deal.

However, you can also select Manual iCloud Backup, but to us this defeats the object. There is one last resort, and that is to go back to the cable, but would you really want to do that? Have you experienced this issue, if so please share with our readers how you were able to overcome this? One thing we do know, Apple needs to resolve this when they release the first update to iOS 5.

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Also See: WWDC 2018 event dated early for iOS 12, new iPad Pro?

  • honkinberry

    It caught me a bit by surprise, because the iPhone has no activity indicator to let you know that’s what it is doing.  But this is somewhat by design, and also how I found a little help — once you hit the button on your iPhone, it stops uploading!  Then about 30 seconds after it goes back to sleep, it will resume uploading.  So if you need to quickly pause the backup to use your bandwidth, you can just tap the button, and like a kid secretly getting on the internet, your iPhone will quickly jump away from the wifi and pretend like it wasn’t using it at all.

  • Khamilton2008

    I’ve noticed that the backup generally happens btwn midnite and 7am. The best to ensure this is to plug your phone in prior to going to sleep and when u get up just verify that it did backup. Your very first backup to the cloud WILL take a long time but after that it’s pretty fast. It also doesn’t hurt to plug in every once in awhile and backup as well. It’s all about contingency plans especially since iCloud was recently released and everyone is using it. Theyve had a few network botches lately so always make a backup of the backup and you and ur data should be good

    • Slowmo

      Just how do you “make a backup of the backup”?  I haven’t found a way to see what’s in the cloud.