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. Connect your device to your computer. 
  2. Open iTunes and make sure you have the latest version
  3. Select your device.
  4. Save content that you downloaded from the iTunes Store or App Store: Choose File > Devices > Transfer Purchases.
  5. Click Encrypt backup in the summary pane.
  6. 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.
  7. After confirming your password, iTunes starts backing up and also immediately overwrites and encrypts your previous backups.
  8. After the process completes, make sure that your encrypted backup finished successfully in iTunes Preferences > Devices. You should see a lock icon   beside 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. Go to File > Preferences > Device. If you see a lock icon, the backup is encrypted. 

What if I 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.

How can I 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


Last Modified: