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If you need help restoring an iCloud backup

Symptoms

Use these steps to resolve issues that you might experience while restoring your device from an iCloud backup.

Resolution

General questions

How do I restore an iCloud backup if my device is already set up for use?

You'll need to erase all data and settings from your device. First, make sure that you have an iCloud backup to restore:

  1. Go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup > Manage Storage, then tap the name of your device to view a list of iCloud backups.
  2. Check the date of the backup you want to restore, because you'll be restoring only what iCloud backed up on that date.

After you confirm that an iCloud backup is available, follow these steps:

  1. Connect your device to a power source and make sure that it's connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi.
  2. Follow the instructions for restoring your iOS device from an iCloud backup, which include making sure that your device is using the latest version of iOS.

Why are no iCloud backups available for my device?

If you go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup > Manage Storage and tap the name of your device, you should see a list of backups available for that device. You can also review iCloud backups from your computer: Open iCloud preferences (if you're using OS X) or the iCloud Control Panel (if you're using Windows), click Manage, then click Backups.

If the list of iCloud backups is empty or dimmed, consider these possibilities:

  • Your device might never have completed a successful backup to iCloud. Incomplete backups don't show a size or date, and you can't use them to restore your device. Make sure that you have correctly followed the instructions for backing up your iOS device to iCloud.
  • Your device might be using an earlier version of iOS than was used to create the backup. Update to the latest version of iOS, then try restoring your device from iCloud again.
  • Your backup might have been created with a different iCloud account. When restoring your device from iCloud, the Setup Assistant allows you to tap Back to return to the iCloud sign-in step. If you have several iCloud accounts, sign in with each account until you find the account that can use your backup.
  • If you haven't backed up your iOS device to iCloud for 180 days or longer, Apple reserves the right to delete the backups associated with that device. Review the iCloud Terms and Conditions for more information.

How can I verify that the restore process is underway?

Go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup. When the restore process is underway, the iCloud Backup setting is dimmed and you have the option to tap Stop Restoring.

Which backup should I use when restoring?

iCloud stores your three most recent backups for each device that's associated with your iCloud account. Each backup shows the date and time the backup was created, as well as the name of the device that created the backup. Unless you want to restore an older backup, choose the most recent backup of the device that you want to restore.

Can I restore my iPhone or iPod touch using a backup made from my iPad?

You can restore iOS backups across your devices, with a few exceptions:

  • Camera Roll photos are specific to each device. For example, Camera Roll photos from your iPhone or iPod touch won't be restored to your iPad.
  • Your apps will be restored as long as they're compatible with your device. For example, an app that's compatible only with iPad won't be restored to your iPhone.
  • Your device must be using the same or later version of iOS that was used to create the backup. Update to the latest version of iOS, and try to restore again.

Alerts and other issues

When I try to restore in iOS 6, I'm asked for my old Apple ID.

If you're using iOS 6 and you backed up your iOS device before you updated your Apple ID, you might be asked for your old Apple ID if you try to restore from that backup. Take one of these steps:

  • Update your device to iOS 7. In iOS 7, your iCloud settings are automatically updated with the correct Apple ID, instead of with the old one that was saved in the backup.
  • If you want to continue using iOS 6, change your Apple ID to what it was when you created the backup, then start the restore process again. After the restore process is complete, change your Apple ID back to your new Apple ID, then back up your device using the new Apple ID.

I'm asked to enter multiple Apple IDs and passwords during the restore process.

You might be asked for your Apple ID and any passwords for your iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store accounts. This behavior is normal and ensures that your purchased items are restored. If your backup contains purchases from multiple Apple IDs, or if you transferred music, movies, or TV shows from someone else's iTunes library to your device, you'll be asked to enter the password for each Apple ID.

I see connection alerts while restoring.

After your settings and accounts are restored, your device restarts and begins downloading your purchased music, movies, TV shows, apps, books, Camera Roll, and other content. You can use your device normally during this time, but if you receive an alert or are having trouble completing the restore, connect your device to a power source and make sure that it's connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi. Then wait until your device is restored to use it.

Where can I learn more about a message I received when my device was restoring?

To learn more about messages that may appear when your device is trying to restore, see Understanding alert messages when restoring from an iCloud backup.

If you have trouble remembering the text of any message you receive, you can take a screenshot on your iOS device. Press the Home and Lock buttons to save an image of the current screen to your Camera Roll or Photo Library.

The restore process is taking a long time to finish.

The amount of time needed by the restore process depends on your geographical location and the speed of your Internet connection. Even with a fast Internet connection, the restore process might take 1 to 4 hours per gigabyte to complete.

If you're traveling between countries, the restore process might take longer than usual. iCloud is tuned to provide the best service when you're in the geographical location from which you most frequently connect to the Internet. When restoring from an iCloud backup, iCloud is tuned to provide the best service in the geographical region you were in when you created the backup.

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Last Modified: Sep 5, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Sep 5, 2014
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