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Reminder: Restoring your iPhone 12 from an iCloud backup will break Fortnite

Fornite on iOS
Fornite on iOS (Image credit: Epic Games)

What you need to know

  • Apple's new iPhone 12 is here, and plenty of you will be setting up your new phones using an iCloud backup.
  • If you have Fortnite installed on your old device, however, you won't be able to reinstall it.
  • This is because Fortnite remains banned from the App Store, so your phone is unable to download it.

If you're buying an iPhone 12 and want to keep playing Fortnite, you might want to think twice about restoring your new phone from an iCloud backup.

As you might already be aware, if you delete or try to reinstall an iOS app that is no longer available on Apple's iOS App Store, you'll be met with an 'unable to install' error message. Sadly for gamers, this is also currently true of Fortnite.

As Twitter user Matt Birchler discovered, switching to a new iPhone and restoring from an iCloud backup will result in you losing access to Fortnite, even if you have the game installed on your previous phone.

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This is the result of Epic Games' ongoing dispute with Apple over in-app-purchases and its alleged monopoly on iOS app distribution, currently an ongoing legal battle set for trial next year. Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store after Epic Games changed the way it handles payments on iOS, offering users the option to bypass Apple and buy directly from Epic in violation of the App Store guidelines.

Fortnite was removed from the App Store on August 13, and a court has twice since ruled that Apple is not required to restore the app, Judge Gonzalez Rogers ruling that there was significant public interest in requiring parties to adhere to their contractual agreements.

There are already perils for Fortnite players who want to try to update to iOS 14 due to an iOS feature that removes apps to make room for software updates before reinstalling them. If Fortnite is removed your iPhone won't be able to reinstall it for the same reason.

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It's been suggested that a device-to-device transfer could be a workaround, however we understand that whilst DTD moves app data to your new phone, it still requires the app to be downloaded from the App Store to use, meaning there is likely no remedy to the issue.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple.

2 Comments
  • I don't play Fortnite, but I miss the days of when backing up your iPhone to your Mac or PC would save the apps to your computer. Sure, it made the backup files large, but it protected apps that you liked against things like this. I actually still backup my iPhone and iPad to my MacBook instead of the cloud.
  • Is that a bug or a feature?! 🤔😉