About encrypted backups in iTunes

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

The Encrypt Backup feature in iTunes locks and encodes your data. An encrypted iTunes backup includes certain information that other 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, you'll need to turn on the password-protected Encrypt Backup option. After you turn on Encrypt Backup, 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 using the included USB cable. Your connected device appears as an  icon in the upper-left corner of the iTunes window. Learn what to do if you don't see the icon
  3. On the Summary screen, select "Encrypt [device] backup."
  4. Follow the prompt to make a password. Make one you'll remember or write it down and safely store it, because there's no way to recover your iTunes backups without this password.
  5. After confirming 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 or at the top of the iTunes window, choose iTunes > Preferences.
    Windows: From the menu bar at the top of the iTunes window, choose Edit > Preferences. Learn what to do if you can’t see the menu bar.
  2. Click the Devices tab. 
  3. You should see a  Lock to the right of the name of your device, along with the date and time that iTunes created the backup.

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 will be checked in the Summary pane when you connect your device to iTunes.

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

  1. Mac: From the menu bar at the top of your computer screen or at the top of the iTunes window, choose in iTunes > Preferences.
    Windows: From the menu bar at the top of the iTunes window, choose Edit > Preferences. Learn what to do if you can’t see the menu bar.
  2. Click the Devices tab.
  3. Look for a Lock next to the backup. If you see a Lock, the backup is encrypted.

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

You can't use an encrypted backup if you don't have the password. 

When you try to use a backup, you might see a message saying "The password you entered to unlock your backup was incorrect." This message means that the iTunes encryption option was turned on in the past by:

  • Yourself
  • Someone who set up your device or transferred your data to a new device
  • An installed profile (for business or education devices). If you're using an installed profile, contact your system administrator.

If you don't have your password:

  • If someone else set up your device, check with them for the password. 
  • Try using an iCloud backup instead. If you don't have an iCloud backup, you can make one.
  • If it's still relevant, try using an older iTunes backup.

Turn off iTunes backup encryption

To turn off iTunes backup encryption, enter the password and uncheck the Encrypted backup box in iTunes. Your encryption password is always required to turn off backup encryption.

You can't use an encrypted backup if you don't have the password. If you forgot your password, the only way to turn off backup encryption on your device is to erase your device and set up as new. Erasing removes all data from your device. If you don't want to erase your device, restore from an iCloud backup instead.

Learn more

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