Backup your iPhone to iCloud no Photos

Right now, I’m paying $3 per 200 GB for Apple’s iCloud (next one $10 per 2TB of data). But I also have Microsoft Office subscription that cost me $10 per month (or $8.3 if I’m paying yearly) and I got 6 times 1TB of data and 6 times Microsoft Office. As result even without Office it looks like much better deal. All Apple devices in my family have about 1TB of data combined so to backup them into iCloud will cost me $10 per month. But I already paying for Office and paying another $10 sounds like waste.

Currently backup only photos and videos as most important data and everything else is pretty much not and I don’t like it. With time I’m so used to layout of my apps, my settings etc and it will be pain to setup everything again.

So ideally, I prefer to backup my devices into Microsoft’s OneDrive because I already have it. But Apple devices cannot backup into non-Apple clouds. The one way would be to backup device to your computer using iTunes and then upload that backup to cloud. But this method has a lot of disadvantages: it is really tricky to find files you have to upload to cloud, it takes a lot of time to upload huge backups, specially if you have a lot of data on your device, format is quite fragile and new version of iTunes may not support it etc.

But then I realized interesting fact #1: you don’t actually backup applications because your device can restore them from App Store after you restored your device from backup.
And interesting fact #2: the biggest data on every device are photos and videos. So, I can backup whole phone into iCloud without photos and videos and then backup photos and videos into OneDrive.

So, first step is to install OneDrive and allow it to upload all photos. Please note that you have to this step first to make sure that all your data is safe and sound before you do any changes to iCloud.

Second step is to go in iCloud in Settings and disable Photos (and other applications you don’t want to backup) in “Apps Using iCloud”. Then disable iCloud Photos in device Storage (General|iPhone (or iPad) Storage). And at the end then go to iCloud Backup, enable it and selected Backup Now to backup all your data.

Gotcha #1. After backup finished I found that it actually did backup photos and videos, so you have to remove them from backup. Go to iCloud|Manage Storage|Backups select backup for your device and switch off “Photo Library”. After that backup became much smaller. And future backups will not have photos and videos.

Gotcha #2. You can switch off “Photo Library” only for backups for your device.

Gotcha #3. In some cases you can switch off “Photo Library”  for backup that it is in progress. After backup finished, you can enable it back and then disable again to remove whatever was backed up.

Gotcha #4. In some cases, your iCloud is too small to fit first backup. You may want to upgrade storage and after you finish, downgrade it back and Apple will refund money for unused time. Say for example you switch from 50GB to 200GB for 2 days. 200GB cost $3. So, 2 days will cost you 20 around cents.

After I did all above, my iCloud usage dropped quite a lot I actually downgrade it to cheaper tier.

I hope it will help someone.