iCloud: Troubleshooting restore issues with iCloud Backup
Learn more about troubleshooting restore issues with iCloud Backup.
While restoring, you may encounter an issue with iCloud Backup. The troubleshooting information and alert message table below should provide assistance with troubleshooting any errors you may encounter while trying to restore a new device with iCloud Backup; if you are having trouble creating an iCloud backup, see this article.
How to Restore
To restore from an iCloud backup, you must have a valid iCloud backup to restore from. Your iOS device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch) must be in the Setup Assistant, which is available when you first set up your iOS device, or immediately after erasing all content and settings on an iOS device. The basic steps to restore are as follows:
- After proceeding through the initial, basic setup steps (such as choosing a language and joining a Wi-Fi network, you will be given several options in the Setup iPhone (or, iPad or iPod touch) screen. Choose Restore from iCloud Backup, and tap Next.
- When prompted in the iCloud Sign In screen, enter the Apple ID and Password for the iCloud account you wish to restore from. Then, tap Next.
- When prompted, review the Terms and Conditions. Then, if you agree to them, tap Agree.
- In the Choose Backup screen, select the backup you wish to restore from. A checkbox will appear next to the backup you have chosen to restore from.
- Note: You can access older Backups by tapping "Show older backups..."
- Tap Restore to start the restore process.
After initiating a restore, iOS will begin restoring the data you backed up to iCloud. The first part of the restore process is the foreground restore, which consists of the restoration of settings and third-party application data. While this is occurring, you will be given an estimate of how long it will take for the foreground restore to complete. Your iOS device will be fully occupied by the restore process. During the foreground restore, it's best to simply allow allow our iOS device to work.
After the foreground restore completes, your iOS device will reboot and begin the background restore. During the background restore, Camera Roll content is restored and iTunes and App Store content is downloaded again from the iTunes and App Store.
During the background restore, you may be prompted for login information for various accounts, such as:
- Your iCloud Apple ID
- Additional Apple IDs, if you have purchased and backed up items from the iTunes and App Store with multiple Apple IDs
- The username and passwords for any additional Internet accounts you configured while backing up, such as Microsoft Exchange, Gmail, Yahoo, or any number of third-party email or Internet services you were using.
You can continue to use your iOS normally during the background restore, though it is advisable to have it on a Wi-Fi network for the best performance.
Troubleshooting issues starting a restore
If you have any trouble starting a restore, be sure to verify:
- Your iOS device is plugged in to a power source.
- Your iOS device is on a Wi-Fi network that is connected to the Internet via a broadband connection.
- You have successfully created backups with iOS before.
- You are signed in with the same Apple ID you backed up from earlier.
- Your iOS device is up-to-date with the latest version of iOS software.
Even if you are connected to the Internet, iCloud backups will not appear if you have never completed a backup successfully, or the backups you've created are from a newer version of iOS than you are attempting to restore to.
If no backups are appearing, and you are unsure whether or not you have completed a backup, first verify you are attempting to restore from the Apple ID you created the backups with. If you are, be sure to check the status of those backups in the iCloud Preference Pane or iCloud Control Panel. Open the iCloud System Preferences or iCloud Control panel, and then click Manage Storage. Then, select Backup. Any available backups should be listed with their status. If a backup is flagged as incomplete or has no date or size indicated, you will not be able to restore from it.
Troubleshooting issues during a restore
If you receive an alert during the restore, be sure to note the text of the message, and cross reference it in the Alert Message matrix in the fifth major section of this article.
Keep in mind that restoring is dependent on being connected to the Internet, so the faster your connection, the faster your restore will be. However, even with a fast broadband connection, it can often take around 1-4 hours per gigabyte to complete a foreground and background restore. If you are traveling between countries, you may need to allocate even more time. iCloud is tuned to provide you with the best service in the geographical location you most frequently connect from, and in regards to iCloud Backup, the geographical region you created the original backups from.
If you receive connection errors, or timeouts, while restoring, you should verify your device has a valid connection to a fast Wi-Fi network and that it's plugged into a power source. Then, let it work. A good way to do this is to start the restore an hour or two before you go to sleep. That way, you can input any needed information after the iOS device restarts and the background restore starts, but you will be less likely to use the phone during the background restore. This will allow it to proceed without interruption. Background restore is designed to allow you to use your phone normally, but if you are getting errors, or having trouble completing the restore, it's best to avoid any possible network interruptions and maximize the resources the iOS device can allocate to the restore process, by allowing it to work uninterrupted. Of course, you can check the status of the recovery by unlocking the screen or by reviewing the progress of downloaded applications or Camera Roll content, but in an error-prone situation, it's best to avoid doing work and launching apps unrelated to the restore process.
As noted earlier, you will receive prompts for your Apple ID and other passwords. This is normal. When you are restoring to a device that you have already backed up from, you should receive fewer prompts to re-enter passwords, but if you are restoring to a new device, it is expected that you will have to re-enter your passwords again. This is done to preserve the integrity of your accounts.
Troubleshooting missing information after a restore
If your restore completed, but it seems like you are missing information:
- Make sure you have an active and reliable Wi-Fi connection whenever possible during the restore. iCloud Backup will retry if your connection is interrupted, for example, if you need to move from one network to another. However, if you are unable to connect to a Wi-Fi network at all, you will not be able to complete your restoration. As noted in the previous section, restorations can take some time to complete, depending on the speed of your connection to the Internet and the amount of data you are attempting to restore. While iCloud Backup is designed for mobility, if you continue to receive errors while restoring, you should allow the restore to complete without interrupting the iOS device's network access or connection to a power source.
- Verify that the data you are looking for is actually backed up to iCloud as part of the Backup feature. See this article for more information on what is backed up with iCloud Backup.
- Some additional actions may need to be taken after a restore in order to completely restore your data:
- Re-enter passwords for some apps such as iTunes Store, Game Center, and third party apps.
- Use iTunes Match (learn about iTunes Match availability) to download songs, albums or playlists to your device.
- If iCloud Backup is still in the background restore and is restoring actively, it's a good idea to let it finish. However, if you continually receive unresolvable alerts, you may restart the device.
- Apple does not recommend interrupting or restarting the device during the foreground restore. At the end of the foreground restore, your iOS device will restart itself and begin the background restore, which is expected and normal.
- Keep in mind that iCloud Backup, as with iTunes Backup, does have some rules about how and where it restores data, for example:
- You can restore from an iPhone or iPod touch to an iPad and vice-versa, however, some data is not restored when doing so, such as:
- Camera Roll data is not restored between iPad and iPhone and iPod touch devices. Camera roll data is restored between the same (iPhone to iPhone, iPad to iPad, and iPod touch to iPod touch) and similar devices (iPhone to iPod touch and vice-versa).
- When restoring from an iPhone or iPod touch backup to an iPad (or vice versa), only third-party apps and their data will be restored. Icon order will not be restored. Keep in mind this does not affect iTunes Match.
- Apps that are not compatible with the device you are restoring to will not be restored, for example, iPad-only apps will not be restored to an iPhone.
- As noted earlier, you cannot restore a Backup created with a newer version of iOS than you are attempting to restore to.
- There are no issues restoring from supported versions of the same type of device. For example, you can restore from an iPhone 4S-created Backup to an iPhone 4, provided the iPhone 4 is not running an earlier version of iOS than the iPhone 4S.
- You can restore from an iPhone or iPod touch to an iPad and vice-versa, however, some data is not restored when doing so, such as:
Troubleshooting specific alert messages
Note: If you have trouble remembering the text of any messages you receive, you might want to take a screenshot on your iOS device. You can take a screenshot in iOS by simultaneously pressing the Home and Lock buttons. The screenshot will then be saved to your Camera Roll or Photos collection.
|Backup Alert Message||Explanation / Resolution
|"A Wi-Fi connection is required to download your apps and media."||iCloud Backup requires a Wi-Fi connection to restore from an iCloud backup. In this case, the attempted restore has not completed, and the iOS device is not connected to a Wi-Fi network. Make sure your iOS device is connected to a Wi-Fi network and is able to successfully connect to the Internet over Wi-Fi.|
|"Your iPhone could not be restored because you are no longer connected to the Internet"||Your Internet connection to iCloud.com became inactive while you were downloading files for a restore. You should try the restore again from a more reliable network. Make sure your iOS device is able to successfully connect to the Internet over Wi-Fi. If you receive this message, it is recommend that you verify the device is connected to a broadband-based Wi-Fi network and power. It is advisable to allow it to complete the download uninterrupted as discussed in the Troubleshooting Issues during a restore section of this article.|
|"This iPhone is currently being restored and will automatically back up when it is done."||This message is displayed to indicate that backups cannot occur while a background restore is still occurring. You should allow the restore to complete and then try backing up later.|
|"Restore Incomplete - Some items could not be downloaded from the Store. If they are on your computer, you can restore them by syncing with iTunes."||Some data was not restored, for instance, apps that were removed from the App Store for legal reasons. If the data that was not restored also exists in your iTunes library, you can sync it back to your iOS device via USB cable sync as a work around.|
|"Some items could not be restored from the iCloud backup."||Some data such as Camera Roll photos, videos, and app data was not successfully restored from the backup. If you receive this error, first check your camera roll to verify whether or not photos and or videos are still downloading. If the restore is still underway, you should see a status message similar to "Restoring 350 of 1200 items." If you see photos or videos continuing to increment up, you should allow the restore more time to complete. It is strongly recommended that you verify the device is connected to a broadband-based Wi-Fi network and power. It is advisable to allow it to complete the download uninterrupted as discussed in the Troubleshooting Issues during a restore section of this article.|
|"Download Remaining Purchases? Not all purchased apps and media have been downloaded. Would you like to download these purchases, or delete them along with any app data?"||A Backup Restore is unable to complete restore of iTunes content after three days of trying. If you receive this error, you might want to restore the data directly from iTunes.|
|"If you restore this iPhone from an iPad backup, settings and iPad-only apps will not be restored."||This occurs when restoring an iPhone or iPod touch from an iPad backup. Only purchased apps (including their data) and books will restore.|
|"If you restore this iPad from an iPhone backup, settings will not be restored."||This occurs when restoring an iPad from an iPhone backup. Only purchased apps (including their data) and books will be restored.|
|"iCloud Backup is unable to access the account 'email@example.com'. Review your account information in Settings."||iCloud is unable to authenticate the password for the iCloud account you entered in iCloud Settings (firstname.lastname@example.org is just used as an example here). This most commonly happens if you reset your iCloud password but have not yet done so in iCloud Settings on your iOS device. This can also occur if authentication is not successful for other reasons, such as being unable to connect to the iCloud authentication servers.|
|"Your iPhone cannot be restored because another device is backing up. Try again later."||If you try to restore a device from the backup of another device, but the other device is currently backing up, you will see this alert. To resolve this, either wait for the other device to complete backup, or cancel the backup on the other device. Then, try to restore your device again.|
|"iCloud Backup requires that you verify your password."||You must enter your password to restore or add to existing encrypted backups. Enter your password when prompted to resolve this issue. This will always occur when initially restoring to a new device.|
|"Any data that has not been downloaded will not be restored or backed up in the future."||This message is provided if you decide to cancel a background restore. If you proceed you will need to restore again to get all your data on your device, or download your music, apps, and other data again in another way. The best way to avoid this is to not cancel a background restore. If you do cancel a restore, make sure you have copies of the data that was not restored. If you wish to restart a canceled restore, you will need to erase all the content and settings on your device and reinitiate the restore during the iOS Setup Assistant.|
|"No backups available."||This occurs during initial setup if the Apple ID entered has no backups online, and you are attempting to restore from it. This can occur if you have no backups, you are attempting to restore a Backup created with a newer version of iOS than you are attempting to restore to, or if you have multiple accounts, and you are using the wrong account in iCloud. If you have multiple iCloud accounts and you are attempting to restore from the wrong one, you should back up a few steps in setup and enter the correct Apple ID.|
|"Your iPhone cannot be restored because of a server error."||This occurs when a server issue caused the restore to not complete. This type of alert is rare and would usually occur due to a server-side time out. You should check the iCloud System Status at the iCloud Support website to make sure there are not any issues occurring with iCloud Backup. If there is not a widespread issue notated on the iCloud System Status, then generally this type of error will self-resolve if you wait several minutes and try again.|
|"There was a problem loading your iCloud Backups. Try again, set up as a new iPhone, or restore from an iTunes backup."||The Backup status check for your account did not complete. This could be due to a network timeout or other reasons. If you receive this alert, the easiest resolution is to simply wait a few minutes, verify you are able to connect to the Internet, and then attempt to restore again. If you continue to receive this alert, you should make sure your iOS device is able to successfully connect to the Internet over Wi-Fi.|
|"Your iPhone cannot be restored because there is a problem with your backup data. Choose a different backup to restore from."||Your Backup does not appear to be usable. If you receive this alert, you should check the iCloud System Status at the iCloud Support website to make sure there are not any issues occurring with iCloud Backup. If there is not a widespread issue notated on the iCloud System Status, the error may self-resolve if you wait several minutes and try again. If issues persist, you should contact iCloud Support via the iCloud Support website.|
If you haven't backed up your device to iCloud for a period of 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.