First, it is important to understand the difference between Simple Hub Synchronization and iCloud Backup.
Hub Synchronization helps manage your configuration across devices. A good example is, if you make a change to your configuration on your iPhone that change will be instantly reflected on your iPad. Hub Synchronization also provides offline synchronization, by remembering you were watching TV in the living room when you take your iPhone offline so that the next iOS device to enter the living room picks up where you left off.
iCloud Backup simply make a backup of your configuration on iCloud, so that it can be restored to an iOS device at a later time. If you backup and restore your configuration to multiple iOS devices, they will not be synchronized. Never use backup as a method of synchronizing multiple devices. Synchronization requires designating a hub device.
Hub Synchronization is significantly faster than synchronizing to a cloud server, and because it is designed specifically for Simple Control, a great amount of overhead is skipped allowing for a lightweight synchronization that quickly keeps all devices associated with a particular configuration in sync. An example of this is that small changes to a configuration such as the power status of a device can be sent to other instances using a very simple change notification designed for exactly that, whereas any sync with iCloud for instance would require a complex transfer and depending on various factors such as server load and timing, might take a long time to sync. It is much more desirable for synchronization to occur in real-time like a game which is exactly what Simple Control’s Hub Synchronization provides. Simple Hub runs on a dedicated iPad/iPhone, a dedicated AppleTV, or in the background on macOS. No special hardware is needed. The ideal scenario is usually a dedicated Living Room iPad that doubles as the primary control device as well as your Hub.
Despite the fact that it seems like storing a copy of your configuration on all 6 of your iOS devices in your home would be a safe backup mechanism, it really is not. Hub Synchronization is a two way street. If your 5 year old decides to delete your Living Room from one device on which you didn’t activate Prevent Editing, it’s deleted from all devices. Instantly. It is always going to be best to use a real Backup mechanism in addition to Hub Synchronization.
iCloud Backup is available to all users. iCloud Backup covers the complete configuration including custom images. To use iCloud Backup go to Menu > Settings > Backup > tap “Backup to iCloud” or “Restore from iCloud”.
Finally, it’s important to understand how Synchronization and Backup interact. When you Restore a configuration from iCloud Backup, it becomes the new live configuration that all other local copies will Synchronize. Even if you backed it up months ago, if you Restore it now, it is now the new version of your configuration for all clients, and every member of your hub’s mesh will adopt it immediately. Remember, never use backup as a method of synchronization. Any configuration with more than 1 iOS device should activate the Simple Hub feature on at least one device.