There are several advantages to encrypting your iPhone backup, foremost of which is the fact that you are securing your data against unauthorized access. Even if the backup falls into the wrong hands, it will be much harder to get at (not impossible) unless the person who has it is an experienced hacker or has the right tools.
Another big advantage is that it protects your location data from being accessed by others. From a physical security standpoint that’s an important consideration. The third advantage is that when you encrypt the backups that iTunes creates of your iOS device, when you restore the backup, all the login passwords will be retained. If you’ve ever done a restore of a non-encrypted backup, you would have noticed that you will need to enter the passwords once again. With encryption, that’s not required.
So now we know the benefits of encrypting your iPhone backup files, how do you go about the process?
The way to do this is surprisingly simple, and you should be able to get it done in a matter of minutes.
First of all, connect your iPhone to the PC that you normally do your backups on, and open iTunes. Make sure you have the latest version of iTunes installed.
Now, click on the device name and go to the “Summary” tab. There, you’ll see several options, as shown in this screenshot:
See the one that’s magnified? All you need to do is check that box, and a popup will appear asking for a password for the encryption. Try to remember the password, and make it a complex one. Later on, we’ll show you what to do if you ever forget the password. For now, just set a password and check the box to store the password in your Keychain if you’re using a Mac. Now click on “Set Password”. Be sure to click on “Done” when you’re finished.
What you have done is essentially two things: encrypted the backup data and set a password so only you can access it. And that’s all there is to the process. As you can see, it’s a very straightforward method.
However, a lot of people tend to forget their iPhone backup password and end up not being able to use the backup in any way. But fortunately, you don’t need to worry because there are several ways to unlock your iTunes backup.
One of the better tools we’ve seen for this is PassMoz iTunes Backup Recovery. It comes with a price tag, but the kinds of features you get are pretty awesome and it also comes with a free trial so you can see what it can do before you purchase the license. Not a bad deal if you ask me. As for the features, it supports both Mac and Windows machines, it has an impressive 85% password recovery rate, it offers two types of attack methods to recover the password and there’s a new feature that allows you to leverage GPU power by using hardware acceleration to speed up the recovery process. The best part is that it’s compatible with a whole slew of iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch models, and fully supports the latest iOS and iTunes versions.
In conclusion, the best practice is to always encrypt your iPhone backups, and have a tool like the one we just talked about in case you ever forget that all-important password.