MacMost Now 804: iPhone Backup and Restore

Occasionally the fix for an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch problem is to 'backup and restore' your device. This tutorial walks you through the steps using iTunes 11. You basically make sure your device is synced and backed up. Then you use iTunes to perform the simple, but often time-consuming, restore.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 804: iPhone Backup and Restore.

Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's take a look at doing a backup and restore of an iOS device.

So if you have a problem with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch you might get the advice to backup and restore it. You may get this advice online but you also might get it at the Genius Bar in the Apple Store. This is kind of a complete reset of your iPhone. It resets it to factory settings and then it reinstalls all of your stuff. So you should end up with the same stuff, same settings, as you did before but it kind of refreshes the entire iPhone.

Now this may seem like a pretty heavy handed fix, especially if you are only having minor problems, but it is really pretty simple. It just stores all of your stuff on your Mac, which you should be doing anyway in a backup, and then basically resets everything and puts everything back. It's pretty simple to do. It could take some time but there is not really much you have to do except set things in motion.

So here I am in iTunes 11. I've connected my iPhone with the dock cable. It is important to use the cable for this, not just rely on a WiFi connection. Not all the functions will be there unless you have a cable attached. I turn on the left sidebar. If you don't have the sidebar on iTunes 11 you can also select your iPhone at the top of the screen. Then you will get to this area here where you will be reviewing your iPhone and you've got things across the top like Summary, Info, Apps, Tones, etc.

So you want to click on Summary. Under summary you will see information about your phone listed and also the next section is called Backups. So now you know you are in the right place to do this.

Now simply connecting your iPhone and running iTunes may have already started a sync backup. But I always like to make sure. So I press the sync button that usually is at the bottom right corner, now it says Apply, and then after syncing I do another backup by hitting the Backup Now button. Just to make sure I have a good current backup. It will tell you the time of the backup right underneath there.

Also I want to make sure that you backup to your computer. It will be a lot faster if use computer backup even if you are using iCloud backup normally. So switch to This Computer and do your backup. Switch back to iCloud backup after you are done this process.

Now after it has completed its backup and you have synced you are ready to restore your iPhone. So above you will see under iPhone it will have the version number you are running and Check for Update. Right next to it is restore iPhone. So you want to click that button to start the process.

You will go through a series of dialogue boxes including this one. You may get more depending upon if you are also upgrading your iOS at this moment. So once you go through those it starts the process of clearing off your iPhone.
That process may take a while so you might want to get a cup of coffee there. It will go through several different stages.

Once it is done you should end up back here, which is kind of a scary screen because you want your iPhone to be your old iPhone not your new iPhone. But if you look there you can see you can set it up as a new iPhone but also the default is to Restore from this backup. You have this popup menu of backups and it should automatically have selected your latest backup. You can confirm it by looking at the time there.

Then it starts the restore process. Now the actual restoring from backup is pretty quick. But that is because it doesn't include the Apps. So the Apps aren't your data. The Apps are the Apps. So you already have those iTunes because you have been syncing. So what is going to happen now is that it is actually going to reinstall all those Apps. So that could take a while. For instance I have a lot of Apps on here. It takes up most of the space on my iPhone. So it is going to take a little while to put them all back on.

When you are finally done you get a screen like this and it will take a little while more for it to basically restart and set it up so that you see your iPhone in iTunes as before.

Now what you should end up with more or less is your iPhone back the way it was. The settings will be restored. That includes data saved by Apps. So if you saved whether it is media files like Pictures and Instagram or it is just little bits of text and things in different types of Apps they should all be restored to what they were before. So your games saved and positions should be back. Now it may not be perfect. For instance if you had a security passcode set for your iPhone you are going to have to reestablish that and it will prompt you for that. But more or less you should end up basically back with your iPhone. If somebody else did this for you you may not even notice that it was done.

So there is basic steps for how to do a backup and restore of your iPhone, iPad, or any iOS device.

I hope you found this useful. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 15 Responses to “MacMost Now 804: iPhone Backup and Restore”

    6 years ago

    Excellent video as always Gary and thank you.
    Note recently I had aroblem with iPhone 4S battery life.
    Several backup and restores later there was no improvement.
    The apple Genius Bar advised setting up as new phone and this worked.
    It appears that sometimes (very very rare) something can get cuorruptrd and each restore simply copies the corrupted file/thing back again.
    Going through restore process but setting up as a new phone took my battery life back to over a day from three hours!

    Joe Giacalone
    6 years ago

    Hi Gary,

    Love the show and watch every episode!

    I have two questions…One what would be making my wife’s iPhone 4S lose a charge so quickly, I mean with no usage it’s dead by noon. I did a backup and restore and that didn’t help.

    Also, I was wondering what “Other” was that is taking up almost 10GB of space on her phone.

    Please help!



      6 years ago

      There are lots of things apps can be doing to drain your battery. For instance, a GPS tracking app (like the one I use to track my bike rides) can be constantly using the power-hungry GPS function. It is impossible to guess what could be causing the problem. You’ll need to investigate on your own or take it to an expert to have them review your app usage.
      “Other” is usually mostly app data. For instance, I have a ton of books stored in my Audible app, and that counts in “other.” Documents in Pages and Keynote, game data for games, images in image editing apps, etc.

    Santo Messina
    6 years ago

    I am assuming IPads are the same? Also will Pic’s on Ipad not in “camera roll” be backed up? Thanks!!

      6 years ago

      Yes, iPads are the same. Pics not in the Camera Roll were synced previously so they don’t need to be backed up. It would simply re-sync them from iPhoto or wherever they came from in the first place.

    Mac Carter
    6 years ago

    Gary, I’ve heard there is difference in the data stored in iCloud vs. a manual backup for an iPhone. Do you know if this is accurate? And, if so, what is the difference?

      6 years ago

      I don’t think so. Both should allow you to do a complete restore. Obviously the backup is not everything — your synced items (music, apps, videos, etc) are not included in a backup because they are restored by re-syncing. So an iCloud backup and restore wouldn’t give you back your synced items until you sync again. Never tried it, though.

    6 years ago

    Hi Gary, as usual your videos are intresting. Can you help me with this issue : my iPhone 4s (6.01) cannot make a backup in the latest iTunes on mac os x mountain lion (also updated).
    The weird thing is that on Windows computer there’s no problem. Thanks for responding quickly because it drives me nuts !

      6 years ago

      Impossible to say what might be wrong without a firsthand look, sorry.

        6 years ago

        Gary, what do you mean with a first look ?

          6 years ago

          Firsthand look. Imagine calling your doctor up and asking her to tell you why you are sick without him seeing you in person. Imagine calling up your mechanic and asking him what could be wrong with your car while he is miles away. It is often the same with computers. It is very hard, or impossible, to tell what could be wrong without a firsthand look at the problem — the expert must investigate, and you just can’t do that without having the device right there.

    6 years ago

    hi gary quick question
    ive restored my iphone hoping to put an old back up on it (from a different iphone) but i cant manually restore it from backup on the new itunes…

      6 years ago

      You can. Make sure you are connect by wire, not wi-fi. And you should be able to.

    6 years ago

    Hi Gary, I’m doing some research on restoring my iPhone 3GS to factory settings & came across your video.

    The problem I’m having is that my iPhone seems a bit buggy. The volume will spontaneously turn off & on quickly, repeatedly. I’m also having issues w/ my keyboard shortcuts working only sometimes. I want to do the factory restore but I’ve not backed up my phone for a long time. If I back up my buggy phone and then do the reset, when I sync with iTunes will the problems return?

      6 years ago

      They may, and they may not. Only one way to find out.
      First, back up your iPhone. It will do that as part of the restore process, but there’s no reason to not do it right now — and daily or weekly on fact.
      A restore may help, but you also have to consider that it could be a hardware problem, especially the volume issue — could be a problem with your headphone jack, mute switch or volume buttons. A restore won’t hep there.

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