That is close. True, backing up your phone is only going to back up what is actually on the phone, not what is going to be on the phone after a sync. Also, when you press the 'sync' button, it's not necessarily creating a backup first, it's only syncing. Then you create a backup afterwards to save the data that you just added to the device
Thanks Amy Lou,
I don't normally do a right click -> backup, but the backup file in the ~/Library, also visible in the Prefs/Devices, shows the time of the last sync, not the last time I did a right click -> backup.
Surely in the event of doing a restore this is the backup file that gets used, so I am wondering if you are correct in saying that "it is not necessarily doing a backup first", even though step 1 says it is doing a backup.
I think it is always doing a backup at the beginning of a sync.
Aplogies if I am misunderstanding your "not necessarily" comment.
I said something quite wrong in my last post. What I should have said is that the time of the backup file in ~/Library is (I said 'is not') the time of the last back up, whether that back up done manually by right click, or by the backup which always happens as step 1 of after clicking sync.
I think there might also be some confusion due to the fact that I have my iTunes prefs set to "prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically". So nothing happens when I plug in my iPhone.
With my settings, launching a sync always launches a prior backup, even though they are separate processes. The modification time of backup/restore file in Mobilesync is the time of the last backup.
Anyway, thank you, you have confirmed that I wasn't missing something basic, and that after making a lot of changes, a manual back up is a good idea.