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How to restore iPhone from an iCloud backup [the comprehensive guide]

Blake Sullivan Updated on Jun 23, 2022 4:06 PM

Here's the thing: I've backed up my iPhone to iCloud then erased the device. Now I want to restore my data, settings and application from iCloud backup, but the initial setup process is complete. Can I restore my iPhone from iCloud after setting it up as a new phone? If I can, is there a way to restore from iCloud backup without reset?

If you're setting on restoring iPhone from iCloud backup, you might be glad to know that Apple enables you to do that right on your new iPhone or newly erased iPhone. Same as backing up iPhone to iCloud, the iCloud backup restore procedure is free and easy-to-grasp, which we'll show you later. The only caveat is that it'll bring the device back to factory settings and restore everything from iCloud to the iPhone. If this is your concern, iPhone Data Recovery could be your lifesaver to restore your desired files from recent or old iCloud backups without resetting iOS device.

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Now, get started for restoring iPhone from iCloud. All the instructions here work pretty much identical on all iPhones running iOS 12, iOS 13, iOS 14, or later.

On a related note, iCloud also acts as a repository for storing some data online and syncs across all your devices under the same Apple ID. Though these files that have already stored in iCloud aren't included into an iCloud backup, if you accidentally deleted iCloud data, iCloud also offers another way to restore the deleted items, which we've also got you covered in the end of the page.

How do you restore iPhone from an iCloud backup

It's always a good idea to restore backup from iCloud, whether you need to reinstalling iOS beta software on your current iPhone, or there's something wrong with your iPhone and you need to return it to factory conditions and restore from the latest iCloud backup to fix the glitchy device.

If this is your first time restoring iCloud backup, one thing you'll notice is that you can only restore all content to iPhone from a backup. Now, confirm that your device stays connected to Wi-Fi and then do the following:

Step 1. Make sure your device is up-to-date, as restoring an iCloud backup may require your device to have a newer version of iOS. Unlock your iPhone and tap Settings > General > Software Update. If there's a later version of iOS, tap Download and Install and follow the on-screen steps to update your device.

Step 2. Make sure a recent iCloud backup is available to restore from. Head to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backups. Under Backups section, choose your device and check if you have a latest backup. Once done, it's time to restore an iPhone from iCloud backup.

Step 3. Factory reset your device by going to Settings > General > Reset and selecting Erase All Content and Settings. Then, tap Erase Now to start resetting your iPhone.

Step 4: When finished, go through the onscreen setup steps until you reach the "Apps & Data" screen. Tap Restore from iCloud Backup and log in to iCloud with your Apple ID.

Step 5: Browse to the list of backups in iCloud and select the one you'd like to restore from.

A progress bar will appear indicating the time remaining to download data, settings and accounts, purchased content like music, movies, TV shows, books, etc. - this requires a password for the Apple ID associated to the purchases to get them download, latest version of apps, and more. The time it takes to restore backup from iCloud depends on the backup size and the Wi-Fi speed.

When it completes, finish the setup process and see if all your data have been restored from iCloud backups. To check iCloud restore status, go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup. If it shows that your iPhone is still currently being restored, just wait until the device finishes restoring a backup from iCloud.

Apple Support page: How to restore iOS or iPadOS device from an iCloud backup

How can I set up new iPhone from iCloud backup

iCloud backup also comes into play when you're upgrading to a new iPhone and want to move all data, apps, settings and preferences from an old iPhone to the new iOS device. Learn how to restore new iPhone from iCloud using the wizard below. And similarly, you'll need to sign in with your Apple ID to restore your apps and purchases from the backup.

Tips: If you've already set up your new iPhone and want to restore the device from iCloud backup, you'll need to erase all of the contents first and then go through the following steps.

  • Turn on your new iPhone and start setting up the device.
  • When the "Apps & Data" screen shows up, select Restore from iCloud Backup and enter your Apple ID and password to sign in to iCloud.
  • In "Choose a Backup" screen, browse to the list of iCloud backups and choose the one you want to restore from.

Then, wait until you restore everything from the backup you choose. As your iPhone will carry on with downloading some contents from iCloud like apps, photos, music, and other information in the background. So, even though the setup process ends, you'll still need to get a stable Wi-Fi connection to your iPhone to make sure that your device is fully restored from iCloud.

How to restore iPhone from iCloud without resetting

Though Apple takes good care of restoring phone from iCloud backup or setting up a new device from an iCloud backup, the handset needs to be restored to the state where it was made out in the factory. But with iPhone Data Recovery, not only you're not about to lose all of your apps and data currently on your iOS device, but you can also access iCloud backup to preview the backed-up files in iCloud and select what you need to restore from the backup in only one single click.

Download Now!

for Windows | for MacOS

As the tool will automatically find iCloud backup as long as you've signed in with the account login credentials, you're granted to download iCloud backup without device plugged in. Plus, you can also recover deleted files from an iTunes backup and from the internal storage of an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. No original data and files will be changed or damaged during the recovery process.

Here's an example of restoring iPhone from iCloud backup without erasing in a PC, the steps of which are basically the same as doing that in a Mac.

  • Open up the software. In the initial screen, choose the part named Recover from iCloud.
  • From the right panel, type in your Apple ID and password in the relevant fields. When asked, tap Allow on your device and enter the six-digit Apple ID verification code on the software window.
  • Proceed to select iCloud Backup in the lower left side. The tool will then start loading all the iCloud backup that associated with the Apple ID you're logged in.
  • Pick the backup you need to restore iPhone data from and click on Download option to download iCloud backup.
  • When finished, check the file(s) you wish to restore from iCloud backup. You can switch to different categories on the left sidebar or using Search bar to quickly locate the data you're after.
  • With all desired files selected, hit Recover button. To safely store the files on your computer, choose a location, then press Recover button again to trigger iPhone iCloud backup recovery process.

What to do when restore from iCloud backup failed

As an iCloud backup file contains a wealthy of data that can be restored which demands a strong and stable Wi-Fi networks to be downloaded, you could be at times run into a glitch: a new or newly wiped iPhone cannot restore backup from iCloud. Maybe it's your fault: you didn't back up your iPhone 8, X, XS, XR, 11, SE2, 12 or newer to iCloud properly. Another possibility is that, the iCloud server or the backup restore system sometimes could fail and be not working.

Here're some common issues that challenge user to restore iCloud backup to new iPhone or the one you've already used, and several possible fixes for these issues.

When you see an error during the process of restoring from an iCloud backup

  • Factory reset the device and set it up as a new phone.
  • Verify if your iPhone is running the most recent version of iOS.
  • Make sure you have Wi-Fi turned on your device and it's connected to an access points with good Wi-Fi signal strength.
  • Wipe clean the phone again and restore it from an iCloud backup again.
  • If the problem persists, get help from Apple Support.

When iCloud backup is missing or your new iPhone won't restore from iCloud

  • Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backups and prove that there's a restorable backup in iCloud for your device.
  • Switch to another strong Wi-Fi networks and try retrieving backup from iCloud again.
  • If restore from iCloud is still not working, get help from Apple Support.

When iPhone iCloud restore is incomplete or data is disappeared after the restore

  • Make sure the missing data and information are included in an iCloud backup.
  • Allow enough time for your phone to complete the restore (maybe several hours or days). If your device is still downloading iPhone backup from iCloud in the background, you'll see a message saying "This [device] is currently being restored and will automatically back up when it is done."
  • For other troubleshooting advice, you may find this article explaining about missing information after restoring iPhone with iCloud backup helpful.

Recover iPhone data stored in iCloud

Some users find that iCloud didn't back up all photos, videos, messages, or other files after they manage to restore iPhone from previous iCloud backups and only retrieve part of the data.

Just as previously stated, when you do an iCloud backup on iPhone, iCloud will skip to the data and information stored in iCloud and won't create a copy for them. They can be the files saved in iCloud Drive, Contacts, Calendars, Notes, Messages or more synced to iCloud and photos and videos on iCloud Photos. See more on What isn't included an iCloud backup.

If you want to get back the data stored in iCloud to your iPhone, simply set up iCloud in your device with the same Apple ID used to sync the data. Then, go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud and turn on the toggle of the files you need to sync from iCloud.

If you deleted a file that you previously saved in iCloud like photos, video, mail, notes, files, etc., iCloud is nice to let you get it restored within limited time. Figure out the situation of iCloud data loss you are in and choose the corresponding solution to apply:

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