iCloud: Deleting an iCloud backup

Learn more about deleting an iCloud backup of an iOS device.

If you backed up one or more iOS devices to iCloud, you can choose to delete an old backup at any time, even if the backup is incomplete. Perhaps you no longer use the device that was backed up, or you want to make more iCloud storage space available for other data. Just be sure that you no longer need the backup, because deleting a backup permanently removes it from iCloud.

Other important information about deleting backups:

  • You'll be notified if a backup is in use.
    If you try to delete a backup but get an alert that the backup is in use, wait 48 hours before trying again. A backup is considered in use if it was recently created by another iOS device or is being restored by another iOS device. If you can't delete the backup after 48 hours, contact Apple Support.
  • Deleting a backup turns off iCloud Backup for the device associated with that backup.
    Before you can delete an iCloud backup, you're asked to confirm that you want to turn off and delete all backup data for that device. To turn iCloud Backup back on, go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup, then turn on Backup.
  • Old backups may be deleted automatically.
    As described in the iCloud Terms and Conditions, iCloud stores your last three backups. However, if a device has not backed up to iCloud for 180 days or longer, Apple reserves the right to delete the backups associated with that device.

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