Having a dependable iPad manager by your side is a surefire way to make sure you never have to depend on the dreaded Apple iTunes ever again. Here’s our list of the best iPad data managers out there and what makes them stand out of the bunch.
Our entire lives revolve around the World Wide Web these days, whether it’s work-related emails or catching up with the family via video calling. For years, the Apple iPad has been a go-to gadget for those who want a large, smart tablet around the house to do everything from ordering detergent on Amazon or enjoying some light-hearted comedy on the kitchen table. Thanks to the connected ecosystem of Apple iDevices, your iPad is also home to plenty of cherished memories in the form of photos and videos, along with private data too.
Although Apple has simplified the process of keeping those vital data files safer through iCloud, the online storage platform does come with its own set of limitations. If you aren’t a paying user, the chokehold of just 5GB of data is laughable, which is why users flock to different iPad data management tools out there. But wait a minute, doesn’t Apple already provide an official way to backup your iPad data and restore it whenever you want to? Well, Apple iTunes may have been around for more than a decade now, it has not been the perfect iOS data backup tool you would hope for it to be.
Why iTunes Isn’t Enough
The fact that Apple went above and beyond to create the Quick Start Utility for iOS and iPadOS, rather than leaving it to iTunes as it did for years, says more than we ever could. In the early days of the iPhone, you would require Apple iTunes to activate your iPhone, which helped keep it relevant for years, despite the several caveats it came with. Ever since iCloud came along, the shortcomings of iTunes are no longer acceptable, and sadly, Apple has not put in the effort to improve it either.
One area where Apple iTunes continues to perform better in comparison to the Quick Start Utility, is that it offers you better control over the data migration process. You can handpick the elements that are transferred to and from the iDevice, and even get the option to add files and folders from your computer. However, iPad managers have been popular among users is entirely due to these inherent flaws in Apple iTunes:
Even Apple is done with it – With the release of macOS Catalina last year, Apple marked the end of iTunes as we know it, for Mac users, at least. The app was brought into the chop shop and disassembled into Apple Music, Podcasts, and Apple TV. The Finder app now allows you to find the iPhone or iPad you connect to the Mac and manage the data you’ve stored on there with some barebone features. Although iTunes continues to survive on Windows PC with the same performance issues and errors, we have resented it for years, and Apple has effectively killed iTunes for macOS.
iCloud isn’t for everyone – The reason Apple is done with iTunes, and wants you to abandon it too, is in favor of iCloud, which it claims to be the safe and smarter way ahead. While there is some truth to it, the subscription model of iCloud storage is where Apple has a vested interest, but not everyone among us is ready to pay a rental fee. Since no amount of online storage is ever going to be enough over time, you are going to look towards an iPad data manager to create backups of photos, videos, and private data.
Performance is subpar – Whether it is the enormous installation file size, the constant barrage of software updates, and forcibly asking you to use QuickTime Player as your default media player – iTunes gives us plenty of reasons to rant about. However, it all comes down to how well the backup app performs, and with a slew of errors and sluggish performance, that’s where the real problem arises. In contrast, most third-party iPad data managers are designed for a small installation, offer a buttery smooth interface, and aren’t nearly as error-ridden at iTunes.
Top iOS Managers to Backup/Transfer iPad Data
When there’s a strong demand, the supply builds up too, which is why you can find a bunch of third-party data managers for iPad and iPhone. We have handpicked a select few from these several data backup tools and lined them up for you after vigorous testing.
Our Pick – iMazing
The very first time we tried out iMazing, it was clear that the developers of the app were longtime Apple users themselves. A data backup tool built for iOS users, with the needs of iOS users in mind, iMazing is everything the Apple iTunes should have been, but isn’t. Designed with Apple’s minimalist finesse in mind, and pulling no punches when it comes to performance, iMazing allows you to quickly set things up and start transferring data between iOS and iPadOS devices.
Backup (almost) everything
The versatility of iMazing allows you to fire it up and start syncing all types of data from your iPad to the computer with the click of a button. You can cherry-pick attributes such as photos, videos, contacts, voicemail, call logs, accounts, voice notes, app data, and plenty more. The only data you cannot backup from your iPad to the computer is the iTunes Media Library, including ringtones, iBooks, Podcasts, Music, Movies, and iTunes U (basically all the DRM content).
Automatic backups for the forgetful ones
The biggest perk of iCloud is its ability to back up your data wirelessly without the need to remember to hit the “backup” button each time. You will love the fact that iMazing takes this feature out of Apple’s basket and improves on it with Automatic Backups. As long as you have iMazing Mini running on the menu bar, the computer can actively communicate with the iPad as long as they are on the same Wi-Fi network. All you need to do is set a schedule and time for when you want the automatic backup to be created, and even tweak the backup to occur only when the iPad is at a specific battery level.
You’re not limited to a single backup file
The biggest gripe you may have with Apple iTunes is its feature (or bug) to override the iPad data backup file with the latest one that is created. While this may be a space-saving measure, it might cost you some essential files, which iMazing works around flawlessly. The iPad backup manager offers Backup Archiving Options allows you to avoid backup override, and archives the older backup files for optimal disk usage.
Restoring made easy as pie
When restoring data, the problem with iTunes is the lack of flexibility or options to choose from since it is a one-click deal. You will appreciate iMazing for its ability to help you choose the individual files you want to restore, including accounts, keychain data, calendars, app data, bookmarks, and more. The best part is that iMazing even allows you to restore files from different backup files, and even different device backups, all at once.
- Ideal alternative to iTunes for easy file transfer and iPad data management.
- Over-the-air connectivity allows you to create scheduled backups without a wired connection.
- A simplified user interface takes little to no time to get used to.
- The backup and restore options offer plenty of flexibility to pick and choose the elements.
- Optimized data manager for iPad offers quick connectivity and is light on the system.
- Allows restoring selective content from multiple different backup files at once.
- For a basic user, the arsenal of features makes iMazing seem too advanced at times.
- The free version of iMazing is relatively limited, with most of the action placed behind the paywall.
Rather than bundling entire backup files together and taking up unnecessary space on your computer’s hard drive, iMazing allows you to handpick the elements you want to back up, as well as restore. For those of you who treat the task of creating iPad data backups as a necessity, iMazing takes the pain out of the task and fills it with simplicity with features such as cross-platform support, data export, automatic backups, and so much more.
Close Second – AnyTrans by iMobie
Another iTunes alternative to iPad data management, which scores on every point that iTunes flopped, AnyTrans puts convenience and simplicity above all. Designed with the Apple ecosystem in mind, you see the reflection of iOS icons and color style throughout the interface, which is only further improved by the slew of device data management features built-in. Bringing the Device Manager, iCloud Manager, and the iTunes Library, all under one giant umbrella, AnyTrans by iMobie hopes to be your one-stop solution to all iOS and iPadOS data management needs.
Brings iCloud into the fold
Since Apple offers 5GB of storage on iCloud for free, you’d probably want to use it to keep sensitive information such as your passwords under Apple Keychain, Contacts, Messages, and Call Logs synced with it. An advantage AnyTrans has over several other iPad data managers out there is the ability to bridge the gap between iCloud storage and the computer’s disk storage. It gives you the option to export iCloud data, import it, view the contents of the iCloud drive, and even sync content to it.
Retrieve old and lost content
If you’ve been a long-term iPhone or iPad user, chances are you have older, abandoned backup files from iTunes lying around on the good old computer’s disk drive, and you don’t even know about it. In times when you’ve accidentally deleted some critical content, being able to reclaim data from existing iTunes backup files can be a lifesaver, which is precisely what AnyTrans offers.
Plenty of additional features
Apart from covering all of the basics for backup, restoring, and moving all kinds of data to and from the iPad to the computer, AnyTrans adds some bells and whistles for the fun of it. You get the Fast Drive feature that allows you to compartmentalize the space on your iPad or iPhone and use it as a storage drive, while Merge Device, Content to Device, and Clone Device are all useful when upgrading your old iPad to the latest model. Moreover, AnyTrans has thrown in a video downloader to help you download and save videos from YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, and other platforms.
- The user interface is simplified to get you started on the right foot.
- Powerful backup and restore options with a single-click functionality for ease of use.
- Capable of transferring data to and from the iCloud account.
- Allows finding older backup files on the computer and restore specific content to the iPad.
- Wireless backup with automatic syncing takes out the hassle of plugging in the iPad every time to the computer.
- The iTunes Library cannot be edited using AnyTrans. All additions and edits need to be made from the iTunes app itself.
- Pricier compared to other popular iPad data managers.
It is bold to claim for any iPad backup tool to state itself as an alternative to iTunes. Our AnyTrans review confirms this claim to a certain extent, featuring a range of exclusive data management features. You can transfer files from the iPad to the computer, other iDevices, and even Android phones. The ability to perform a backup and restoring data effortlessly makes AnyTrans a mighty data manager.
More iPad Managers Worth Considering
If you aren’t too keen about our top two picks on the list and want to get a better look at all the other premium data management tools out there, here are some more we’d recommend trying out.
The ability of the app to handle maintenance files is among the best things about Dr. Fone. The software instantly resolves standard iPad glitches and iOS issues like “stuck at bootup,” “recovery mode loop,” and more. Although the backup tool for recovering data requires a premium subscription upfront, it is convenient for those who want to do more with their iDevices. Dr. Fone provides several add-on features, such as the ability to make copies, rebuild the iPad system, retrieve lost iDevice information, transfer files, notes, and connections among your other iDevices, uninstall apps, and more.
The EaseUS MobiMover offers a more effortless and cost-free way to back up your iPad and transfer data between other Apple devices. The only shortcoming of the free version of the software is the limit on functionality or the volume of data you can transfer and manage. MobiMover brings a comprehensive answer for iPad data management issues, allowing users to duplicate files from an iPad to a computer or vice versa.
As a free alternative, CopyTrans Manager offers a smart way to drag and drop files such as music, podcasts, and ringtones from your computer directly to an iPad device. Although the CopyTrans Manager is available just for Windows OS, it is entirely compatible with the latest version of iOS and iPadOS. CopyTrans Manager does not backup data like images or contacts quickly and takes up little space.
iExplorer is designed to transfer data between iDevices and computers and has the visual appeal of a file browser that allows you to manage and organize files on your iPad as if it was a flash storage drive. With the help of iExplorer, you can move media files to iTunes and export SMS, contacts, notes, call logs, voice notes, and other data files directly to your PC. iExplorer can’t connect to the iPad wirelessly. The app is also not as optimized as some of the others on the list.
Apple rakes in billions of dollars each year just from the premium subscription service of iCloud from its users, and it should not come as a big surprise. The cloud storage service offers the convenience of keeping your cherished photos and videos, private work files, and preferences securely kept out of reach. Whether you’re wary of online storage services, prefer keeping your personal files on a physical storage drive, or just don’t want to throw money every month on a subscription storage service, putting one of the best iPad managers we have listed above is the way to go.
Did iMazing or AnyTrans hit all the right spots to help you backup and restore your iPad data safely, or would you instead take a look at the other (possibly free) options out there? Do let us know your thoughts in the comments.