Recently my wife inadvertently put her iPhone into the washing machine. She had an Otterbox case but that did nothing to prevent water damage. It wasn’t completely submerged but it was in deep enough for the phone to turn off. We placed the phone into rice for 24 hours with no luck. Unfortunately, her iCloud back up was not enabled and she hadn’t plugged her phone in and done a physical back up since Christmas. Everything (with the exception of what was in photo stream) was gone. It's a shame since we have a 2 year old at home. Thankfully, she shares some her pictures & videos via iMessage, e-mail & social networking so we were able to recover some media.
She now has a new phone, a Lifeproof case, Apple Care+ and a weekly reminder on my calendar (it’s shared) to back up the phone. I will also make sure that she is using another way to have copies of her pictures & videos (Photobucket, Flickr, etc.). I feel bad because there are pictures & videos of our son we won’t see again, but it’s not the end of the world because it was only a 4 month period and there will be plenty more photos to come.
Please take a few minutes and make sure iCloud backup is enabled by following these simple steps:
Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup > iCloud Backup and turn the switch to the On position.
Your phone will backup automagicly every night when your battery is near full or on charge and on a wi-fi network. There are more options you can mess with, what gets backed up, what apps have data backed up, but I strongly recommend leaving this section alone unless you are experienced with iOS and letting everything get backed up. Apple gives you 5GB of iCloud for free and you can purchase more if needed. The morale of the story? Always back up!!