How to restore from an iCloud backup

If you're upgrading, replacing, or restoring your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, using iCloud can get you back up and running in no time. Unlike restoring from iTunes, you don't need to plug right into the specific Mac or Windows PC that holds your iTunes library. All you need is a Wi-Fi connection and some time. We've even done it right at the Apple store, right after swapping out our iPhones and iPads. It's simple once you know how.

How to set up your new iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad with iCloud

When you turn on your new iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, you'll be greeted with a Lock screen that simply says "iPhone", "iPod" or "iPad". That's where we start.

  1. Swipe to unlock to start setting up your iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. iPad swipe to setup
  2. Choose your language. Your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad will show you the most common languages for the area in which you bought it, but you can tap the downward arrow icon to see all the choices. Tap the blue Arrow button to continue.iPad setup language
  3. Choose you country or region. Again, your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad will show you the region where you bought it, but you can tap Show more... for additional options. Tap the blue Next button to continue.iPad setup country or region
  4. Choose whether you want to globally enable or disable location services. Location Services use GPS (on an iPhone or iPad 3G/4G), cell-tower triangulation, and Wi-Fi router mapping to determine the approximate location of your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad . This feature is used for turn-by-turn navigation (like Navigon, check-in games (like FourSquare), social networks (like Facebook), geo-tagging (like in the Camera app), and utilities (like Find my iPad), etc. Unless you have a particular need to globally disable it, you'll want to turn on the Location Services feature at this point. You can change your mind or selectively disable or enable these services later on in the Settings app (e.g., turn off your Camera app’s geo-tagging, but leave on TomTom’s turn-by-turn navigation). Tap the blue Next button to continue. iPad setup location
  5. Choose your Wi-Fi network. Even if you're on 3G or LTE, your iPhone or iPad wants Wi-Fi because there may be a lot of data to move around and blasting through your data cap on setup is no fun. Enter your network password and tap the blue Next button to continue.iPad setup wi-fi network
  6. Wait for Apple to activate your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad . This could take a few minutes.

How to restore your iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad from an iCloud backup

If you have an old iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad and need access to your old data quickly, or dread the idea of starting from scratch again, you have the option of simply restoring your new iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad from a backup of your old device.

  1. Choose restore from iCloud backup.Restore from iCloud backup iPad
  2. Enter your Apple ID to login. (Enter your full email address as the username.) Tap the blue Next button to continue. (If you change your mind, you can logout of iCloud, or login under a different account later.)Setup iPad login Apple ID
  3. Agree to the terms and conditions of service by tapping the blue Agree button on the bottom left.Setup iPad agree to terms and conditions
  4. Confirm your agreement by tapping the Agree button.Setup iPad agree to terms and conditions (again)
  5. Choose your backup. You'll see your Latest iPhone/iPod/iPad Backup listed. This is usually the one you want to choose. You'll can also see older backups, and backups of your other iOS devices on the same iCloud account.Choose your iCloud backup

A progress bar will show you an approximation of how long it will take to download your backup. Once it's done, your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad will reboot.

Once your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad reboots, all your previous settings will be back in place, and you'll be asked to re-enter all your passwords (as a security measure, iCloud will not restore passwords).

Once that's done, your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad will start re-downloading all your apps. You will need to stay on Wi-Fi for any file larger than 50MB to re-download.

How to get more help with iCloud

If you still need help with setting up, backing up, restoring, or updating your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, or any other iCloud feature, head on over to our iCloud Forum and ask away!