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If you lose your iPhone, you don't have to lose all your photos and contacts. Here's how to back it up.

Key Points
  • Backing up your iPhone is important, especially if you ever lose it and need to restore your photos and contacts.
  • You need to set your iPhone to "back up to iCloud."
  • CNBC's Todd Haselton shows you how to do so.
A girl reacts as she tries an iPhone X at the Apple Omotesando store on November 3, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan.
Getty Images

A family friend recently lost her iPhone. When she went to an Apple Store to buy a replacement, she was met with a surprise: There wasn't a single backup of her earlier iPhones. That meant all of her photos, text messages, apps, email settings were gone, permanently.

You can avoid this by spending two minutes and making sure your iPhone is automatically set to back up data to iCloud. Here's how.

First, open 'Settings.'

Tap your name at the top of the screen.

Select 'iCloud.'

Scroll to 'iCloud Backup.' Tap it, then select 'On.'

Now, when your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi, is being charged and is locked, it'll save an exact replica of your current phone to the cloud.

That means, if you happen to lose your iPhone and get a new one, you'll only have to log in and select one of your backups to get right back where you were the moment your iPhone was lost.

Note that you get only 5GB of free iCloud storage, which is enough for people who aren't storing that many pictures and messages in the cloud. If you need more, like me, you can upgrade by going to Settings > iCloud > Change Storage Plan. I pay $2.99 per month for 200GB, which is reasonable.

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