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iPhone OS 3.0: Encrypt iPhone Backups in iTunes 8.1

iPhone OS 3.0 is the gift that just keeps on giving, this time revealing features in iTunes 8.1 we hadn't seen before. Now, when you hook an iPhone running the 3.0 beta 1 software up, under the Summary tab you have a new option: Encrypt iPhone backup.

Checking off the option opens a pop-up window for you to enter your password.

We're not sure yet what form of encryption Apple is using, though the Steve Gibson is us hopes it's something with a really, really strong security focus. Especially for those in enterprise or government who might have a need for it.

(And when the time comes, using a really gnarly password like the kind's perfect passwords generates would be a great idea for the truly security conscious.)

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 33 comments. Add yours.

Omari James says:

What benefits will an average consumer get from this ? We haven't encrypted before...

jeffdc5 says:

Great option its just another check off feature

AnteL0pe says:

Steve Gibson? Really? That guy's a total joker, poor choice for a reference.
@Omari the benefit is that if someone gets access to your iPhone backup they can't swipe your data.

Druce says:

Hmm. I really don't know how useful this is. I mean, what is it encrypting? My calendar? My contacts? If somebody has access to my PC, they already have access to those.
I suppose that, if you had an email password in the email config file, that would be worth encrypting. I would be very disappointed to learn that Apple wasn't encrypting this in the config file already, though.
So, I guess what I am asking is, what information is sensitive in the backup anyway?

hansaplast says:

This - exactly this - would be the very best new feature. Me and my friends have been waiting for nothing more than that. Security matters!

aleph says:

I guess the reason for this is the password manager that has been added to Safari Mobile in 3.0.

Brizzel says:

I forgot my Restore password and my phone got wet. Anyone know how to crack it yet?

steven says:

brizzel... it keeps on saying i have the wrong pass. lemme know if you find a way to crack it...

mae says:

the same thing keeps happening to me!

YGT says:

I forget my backup password what can I do?

JimJoeBaggins says:

Omari James, YGT, mae, steven, Brizzel, Druce: You are an idiot.
AnteL0pe: You are an even bigger idiot.

TwoHawks says:

As far as we know today, iPhone backup encryption is 0% effective... see this:
(just so no one is grossly mislead)

BIG DANK says:

Since all you had to do was hold down the center button for 25 sec then plug into iTUNES and you had a restored fresh iPHONE. This feature could be useful. NOW BACK TO THE DANK

asdda says:

I also forgot my password. I still have my iPhone, and was just playing around with this feature. Now I am trying to change or just remive the encryption all together, and it keeps telling me "incorrect password" on every password I enter. I am pretty sure I am entering the correct password. Any issues or sugestions from anyone else on this?


iJack, i had the same problem as you. I was vigerously entering the same password over and over again determined i was right but it never worked. after looking on the web for little and ending up here, i finally went back to iTunes and tried it just once more... sure enough it worked and i entered the same password as before. apple just sucks. so try restarting iTunes or just try again.

Jay says:

i too have thought i had WRONG or FORGOTTEN password...
i took the advise from last post and restarted iTunes, entered my password and it worked.
just a gliche i believe. oh well... i now have it removed.

jordan says:

this encript iphone back up, does this password mean that the back up obviously copies everything to the phone but does it mean that if someone wnats to access my backup file on the computer they need a password?? because i have private files on my phone and im using my brothers computer to back it up and im just hoping he cannot access my files whilst my phone isnt connected to the USB

ric says:

i forgot my encrypted password and i just restored my iphone but cant get my data back.
what can i do?

newbie says:

hey i was wondering if you restore the iPhone do you lose the apps and the phone numbers and everything else that was on the previous phone?

Nadia says:

hello to all you guys i just restored my iphone but i did backup before hand of course in order to get everything back. well it asked if i wanted to restore the backup, so i did..... i typed the password of my imac which said it was wrong so i typed the i phones pass-code which i have on where if it's not active for a while you'll need to type a 4 number pass-code but that didn't even work to i started to get really scared because i thought I'd lost everything but i remembered that when i 1st bought the iphone i had a different pass-code then the one i was recently was using. and that worked .

Sampson says:

Thought that I had the wrong password as well. Restarting iTunes worked for me.

ML says:

Hey guys.. i forgot my encrypted password too. But i found a solution that you may want to try. Go to and download the free version of Elcomsoft iPhone Password Breaker to recover your password for the backup. Hope this helps you too!

Jenn says:

I assume the best thing about this feature is that someone can't plug in THEIR iphone to your comp and restore YOUR iphone info to their iphone. All texts messages would be there, all photos, etc. I think it's great. Theoretically, without a password, someone could plug their phone into your itunes and restore YOUR phone onto their phone .... check out all your info before going home and restoring their OWN iphone info to their phone. Am I making sense? Regardless, I like it :)

saher says:

HI guy
I was forgot password restore from backup iphone
Could you get us helped me through of my email
I need urgent assistance
Thank you very much and

Sayeed says:

I forgot my back up password, I have tried everything -including completely removing and re-installing Itunes- not working - still asking for password!
Any-way out- would apprecite any good tips.

Victor says:

BIG DANK says:
August 27, 2009 at 2:52 pm
Since all you had to do was hold down the center button for 25 sec then plug into iTUNES and you had a restored fresh iPHONE. This feature could be useful. NOW BACK TO THE DANK
"And it worked i cant believe it...then i put my password and im updating my iphone rite now"

Michael says:

how about if you forgot a Backup Password? There's a certain date I would like to restore my iPhone since it will have all my text/picture messages that I would like to try and retrieve since I had to restore my Iphone after and Error Message came up.

anıl says:

i forgot backup password how can i do ? thanks

Kim says:

What do It do if I encrypt iPhone backup ? Do it reset everything on my iPhone or it just update my software?

Kristin says:

Wow! I've been sitting here for hours trying to figure out how to get everything (including text threads, etc) from my 3GS to my new iPhone 4 (ran into every possible hurdle along the way...this is not my day!). When I finally went to restore to the new phone it gave me the bad password message. I sat here for another 30 minutes trying to figure out some variation that I might have used for some odd reason. No luck. Google searched, read previous threads, restarted iTunes and what do ya know? The d*** thing worked with the password that I first tried! Extremely aggravating, but at least I didn't lose everything. Just RESTART ITUNES AND YOUR PASSWORD SHOULD WORK. Then, download the free "keeper password and data vault" app so that you don't think you've lost your mind the next time :)

Erika says:

OMG, I entered in pass at least a hundred times, quit and restarted Itunes, yep that pass that was wrong before? worked just fine...

eeli says:

Ive tried restarting my itunes but it still didnt work!
And the problem is, i dont remember typing any password before i back up my phone. Any other suggestions?