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Setting Up Your iOS Device to Use Wireless iTunes Sync: Pros and Cons

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In conjunction with the release of iOS 5, three methods for regularly backing up an iPhone or iPad became available. In this article, Jason R. Rich focuses on how to use the new Wireless iTunes Sync backup process and describes the benefits it offers.
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As an iPhone or iPad user, chances are you store a lot of extremely important information on your iOS device so you can access it throughout your day. So, just as you use any type of traditional computer, it's extremely important to maintain a regular backup of your iPhone and/or iPad's data, files, apps, and personal settings.

If something goes wrong with your device, you can restore your data and not have to worry about losing any important information. Or if your iPhone or iPad gets lost, damaged, or stolen, you can replace the device and then restore your data, files, apps, and personal settings from your old device to your new device with ease.

Thanks to iOS 5, you now have three methods for creating and maintaining a backup of your iPhone or iPad. Choose one that fits in best with your lifestyle, needs, or work habits.

Option #1: The iTunes Sync Process

The traditional iTunes Sync process involves connecting your iOS device to your computer, using the supplied USB cable, and then running the iTunes software (version 10.5 or later) on your Mac or PC.

Each time a connection between your computer and iPhone (or iPad) is established, a backup is created. The backup files are stored on your primary computer's hard drive. Should something go wrong with your iPhone or iPad, you can use the Restore From iTunes Backup command to transfer your backup data from your computer back to your iPhone or iPad.

If, for whatever reason, you need to replace your iPhone or iPad hardware, you can restore data from your old device onto your new device. Keep in mind that iPhone backup files will restore to any model iPhone, and iPad backup files will restore an iPad or iPad 2. An iPhone backup file, however, cannot be used to restore an iPad, nor can an iPad backup file be used to restore an iPhone.

The benefit to using the traditional iTunes Sync process is that you can create a backup of your iOS device as often as you'd like, as long as you have access to your primary computer. The drawback is that if you're traveling and need to restore data or files to your iOS device, you'll need to wait until you can once again directly connect your iPhone or iPad to your primary computer using the supplied USB cable.

To make connecting your computer to your iPhone or iPad easier when using the iTunes Sync process, you can purchase an optional dock, which serves as a desktop cradle for your iOS device. A dock connects to your primary computer via the supplied USB cable, and your iOS device then slips easily into or out of the dock. Each model iPhone or iPad has a different dock, but all are available from Apple (http://http://www.apple.com/appletv) and cost $29.00 each.

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