How to restore your iPhone from an iCloud backup

Posted:
in iPhone edited July 2015
Since the introduction of iOS 5 in 2011, Apple has provided a simple, yet powerful way to restore your iPhone from a previous iCloud backup via either iTunes on a Mac or directly on the device itself. AppleInsider takes you through the process step-by-step.




There will likely be times when you need to restore your iPhone from a previous backup, such as when you buy a new iPhone or come face to face with OS bugs like the dreaded "blue screen of death." Luckily, Apple has been working to make restore from backup operations a relatively painless process.

With the advent of cloud storage, Apple activated a file saving and retrieval system in iCloud that lets users revert to recent backup files without first connecting to a host computer. The process was previously restricted to iTunes.

To restore your iPhone, a viable backup needs to be available in iCloud. As AppleInsider noted in June, creating an iCloud backup is incredibly easy. In the Settings app, navigate to iCloud > Backup and activate the iCloud Backup toggle switch. Alternatively, a backup can be triggered by selecting the Back Up Now option.




When setting up a new phone, make sure to check Restore from iCloud Backup from the setup menu. Users will be prompted to sign into their iCloud accounts and then see a list of their latest backups and information about when those backups were last modified. Simply tap on the desired backup from the list to restore your iPhone. The process usually takes about five to seven minutes.

If you need to restore a backup due to buggy software, Apple offers an option to reset iPhone in the Settings app under General. Selecting Reset opens a pane with multiple options. Choosing Reset All Content and Settings and following the onscreen prompts reverts iPhone to factory settings, from which point you can restore from an iCloud backup as described above.




Restoring an iPhone from iCloud on the Mac happens via iTunes, where you have the option to create backups of your iPhone to iCloud or locally on the Mac. To restore your iPhone from an iCloud backup, simply click on the iPhone icon in the gray navigation bar. Your device information will be displayed, along with your chosen backup method. If you have iCloud checked, simply click Restore iPhone and follow the prompts.




With the introduction of iCloud, Apple has treated all of their hardware products as devices which revolve around the new "digital hub" of iCloud. Apple gives 5GB of iCloud storage to every user for free, and there are various tiered upgrade options if users require additional space. Given the scope of data that iCloud backups include, restoring an iPhone from an iCloud backup is the easiest way to return your device to a previously saved state that includes both apps, settings and other device data.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    tokyojimutokyojimu Posts: 422member
    I sure wish restoring from iCloud would restore saved passwords, including those of Wi-Fi access points.
  • Reply 2 of 8
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 1,016member
    I wish Apple would allow selective restore, so you could reset the phone and selectively restore apps. The only option is to restore the phone entirely, with all or no apps. I find resetting the phone after a while speeds it up no end, and I prefer to reset on major upgrades (iOS 8 > 9). Continually upgrading means you end up with cruft from iOS 4/5/6 on the latest iOS release. Plus you can't backup/restore the health data individually, so if you have a problem with your device that requires a reset, you lose all your health data. It's stupid.
  • Reply 3 of 8
    dcj001dcj001 Posts: 301member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TokyoJimu View Post



    I sure wish restoring from iCloud would restore saved passwords, including those of Wi-Fi access points.



    Quote:

     Given the scope of data that iCloud backups include, restoring an iPhone from an iCloud backup is the easiest way to return your device to a previously saved state that includes both apps, settings and other device data. 



     




     

    So, you are saying that downloading everything is easier (faster) than restoring from a backup on my Mac?

     

    I do not think so.

     

    My transfer speed through USB 2.0 is quicker than my internet download speed, as I believe it to be for most people.

  • Reply 4 of 8
    plovellplovell Posts: 806member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TokyoJimu View Post



    I sure wish restoring from iCloud would restore saved passwords, including those of Wi-Fi access points.



    That's possible only from an iTunes backup, and an encrypted one at that.

     

    I think we all remember a few instances where someone (celebrities in some cases) had their iCloud backup "restored" onto a hacker's phone. So I am nor surprised that Apple doesn't support it (password-restore) from an iCloud backup. Maybe they'll revisit that decision in the case of an iCloud account with 2FA.

  • Reply 5 of 8
    cash907cash907 Posts: 893member
    This requires a walk through?
    Restore your phone, tap "Restore from iCloud backup," and follow the prompts.
    Not rocket science.
  • Reply 6 of 8
    gtbuzzgtbuzz Posts: 129member
    tokojimu has a most revealing comment. The saved passwords to WiFi hotspots are not saved. There may be a few other things, put perhaps the restore from an encrypted backup made to the computer is the better way. Any experts want to comment.
  • Reply 7 of 8
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 1,016member
    gtbuzz wrote: »
    tokojimu has a most revealing comment. The saved passwords to WiFi hotspots are not saved. There may be a few other things, put perhaps the restore from an encrypted backup made to the computer is the better way. Any experts want to comment.

    tokyojimu wrote: »
    I sure wish restoring from iCloud would restore saved passwords, including those of Wi-Fi access points.

    They're synced through iCloud Keychain.
  • Reply 8 of 8
    jim01jim01 Posts: 2member
    The restore process for 64 or 128 GB iPhones that are mostly full fails 100% of the time, in my experience and that of many people of the "Failed Restore" forums. I am on my sixth restore of 115 GB on an iPhone 6 and every restore process fails in a different way or at a different point. Apple engineers have not been able to figure it out for nine weeks. The problems include photos not completely downloading (50 - 95% don't restore), apps do not complete downloading, the download process is EXTREMELY slow (as slow as 0.01 GB/hour), and the restore process never "finishes". Suffice it to say that the iCloud restore process is effectively broken. I have had four upper level Apple service people work on this, and they and the engineers are at a complete loss as to why restore is not working.

    To everyone that states the restore process is easy: You have not tried to restore in a while, or have not tried to restore a significant amount of data. The restore process is so bad now that one of my co-workers, with around 10 GB on an iPhone 6, could not fully restore. In his case, quite a few photos were missing and a significant number of apps had the "downloading" pie symbol on them, and would not finish downloading.

    If anyone has figured out a work-around to get iPhone restore from iCloud to work, share your tips! Thanks.
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