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iOS: Back up and restore your iOS device with iCloud or iTunes

Learn how to use iCloud or iTunes to back up and restore the most important content on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Should I back up with iCloud or iTunes?

Get help deciding whether to use iCloud or iTunes to back up the content on your iOS device.

Use iCloud

iCloud Backup provides an easy and reliable backup solution for customers who want to back up their iOS devices wirelessly and automatically.

Back up to iCloud

If you're using iCloud, it can automatically back up your data if you've chosen this option. You can verify your iCloud backup and make sure that it's up to date by following these steps:

  1. Tap Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup.
    iCloud backup settings
  2. Turn on iCloud Backup if it's off.
  3. Tap Back Up Now.

Restore from an iCloud backup

If you have a new iOS device, or if you need to restore your iOS device to resolve an issue, follow these steps.

  1. Follow the initial steps in the iOS Setup Assistant (select your language, and so on).
  2. Select Restore from iCloud Backup when the assistant asks you to set up your iPhone (or other iOS device).
    Set up iPhone
  3. Select the backup you created earlier.
    Set up iPhone

You can restore a backup only by using the iOS Setup Assistant.

If you've already set up your device, you can erase all current content to go through the iOS Setup Assistant again. Tap Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. Do this only if you already have a backup, because this step will remove all current content from your device.

Use iTunes

You can use iTunes to back up and restore your content on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Note that iTunes and iOS do not support installing backups of newer versions of iOS onto devices using earlier versions of iOS.

Back up

To back up the content on your iOS device, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure your computer has the latest version of iTunes.
  2. Connect your iOS device to your computer.
  3. Choose File > Devices > Back up.
    If you're using iTunes 10.7 or earlier, right-click the device from the list and choose Backup Now.

You can also back up by syncing your iOS device with your computer. When you use iTunes to sync, backing up is the first step.

To verify that the backup finished successfully, open iTunes Preferences and select the Devices tab. You'll see the name of the device along with the date and time iTunes created the backup.
Your backup in Devices Preferences

Restore from a backup

If you have a new iOS device, or if you need to restore your device to resolve an issue, follow these steps:

  1. Connect your iOS device to the computer that has your backup.
  2. Make sure this computer has the latest version of iTunes.
  3. Choose File > Devices > Restore from Back up.
    If you're using iTunes 10.7 or earlier, right-click the device from the list and choose Restore from Backup.
Important: Information about products not manufactured by Apple is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
Last Modified: Jul 1, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Jul 1, 2014
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