About encrypted backups in iTunes

To protect backups of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch in iTunes, you can use password protection and encryption. 

When you encrypt your backups in iTunes

The Encrypt backup feature in iTunes locks and encodes your information. Encrypted iTunes backups can include information that unencrypted iTunes backups don't:

  • Your saved passwords
  • Wi-Fi settings
  • Website history
  • Health data

iTunes doesn't encrypt your backups by default. To encrypt a backup in iTunes for the first time, turn on the password-protected Encrypt backup option. iTunes automatically makes encrypted backups for that device from then on.

There is no way to recover your information or turn off Encrypt Backup if you lose or forget the password.

You can also make a backup in iCloud, which automatically encrypts your information every time.

Encrypt your iTunes backups

  1. Open iTunes. Make sure that you have the latest version.
  2. Connect your device to your computer with the included USB cable. Select your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch when it appears in the upper-left corner of the iTunes window. Learn what to do if you don't see the icon.
    iPhone device icon in the upper-left corner of the iTunes window.
  3. On the Summary screen, select "Encrypt [device] backup" in the Backups section.
    The Summary screen in iTunes.
  4. When asked, make a password. Create one that you'll remember or write it down and store it safely, because there's no way to use your iTunes backups without this password.

After you confirm your password, iTunes starts backing up and also immediately overwrites and encrypts your previous backups.

When the process completes, make sure that your encrypted backup finished successfully:

  1. Mac: From the menu bar at the top of your computer screen, choose iTunes > Preferences.
    Windows: From the menu bar at the top of the iTunes window, choose Edit > Preferences.
  2. Click the Devices tab. 
  3. You should see a lock icon to the right of your device's name, and the date and time that iTunes created the backup.
    Devices Preferences showing a device backup named John's iPhone.
  4. Click OK to close iTunes Preferences.

Check to see if iTunes is already set up to encrypt your backups

If iTunes is set up to encrypt your backups, the Encrypt backup option has a check mark in the Summary pane when you connect your device to iTunes.

You can also see whether a specific iTunes backup is encrypted:

  1. Mac: From the menu bar at the top of your computer screen, choose iTunes > Preferences.
    Windows: From the menu bar at the top of the iTunes window, choose Edit > Preferences.
  2. Click the Devices tab.
  3. Look for lock icon next to the backup. If you see lock icon, the backup is encrypted.
    Device backups on the Devices tab which show a lock icon if they're encrypted.
  4. Click OK to close iTunes Preferences.

If you can’t remember the password for your encrypted backup

You can’t restore an encrypted backup without its password. With iOS 11 or later, you can make a new encrypted backup of your device by resetting the password. Here’s what to do:

  1. On your iOS device, go to Settings > General > Reset.
  2. Tap Reset All Settings and enter your iOS passcode.
  3. Follow the steps to reset your settings. This won't affect your user data or passwords, but it will reset settings like display brightness, Home screen layout, and wallpaper. It also removes your encrypted backup password.
  4. Connect your device to iTunes again and create a new encrypted backup.

You won't be able to use previous encrypted backups, but you can use iTunes to back up your current data and set a new backup password.

If you have a device with iOS 10 or earlier, you can't reset the password. In this case, try the following:

  • If someone else set up your device, ask them for the password.
  • Use an iCloud backup instead of iTunes. If you don't have an iCloud backup, you can make one.
  • Try using an older iTunes backup.

Turn off iTunes backup encryption

To turn off iTunes backup encryption, uncheck the Encrypted backup box in iTunes and enter the password. If you can't remember your password, you have two options:

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