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Remove old iCloud backup after restoring to a new iPhone
By Jesse Hollington | 05.16.13

Q: Thanks a lot for your article on Restoring from a previous iCloud backup. One question though: I’ve restored from iCloud onto my new iPhone. Now I want to back up the new one, but there isn’t enough space since the older one is still there. Can I delete the older back up and be sure not to lose my stuff? Even considering all content is in my new iPhone, it still seems kind of scary.

- Mariana

A: You can safely delete your old iCloud backup without affecting the data on your new iPhone at all. While of course you’ll be without a backup at that point, as long as you’re on a Wi-Fi network you can very easily make a new iCloud backup as soon as you’ve deleted the old one. Simply go into your Settings app and choose Storage & Backup from your iCloud settings, scroll down, and tap the “Back Up Now” button.

This shouldn’t normally take more than a few minutes, although if you have a slow Wi-Fi connection or a lot of photos and videos in your camera roll, the initial backup can take up to an hour or more. If you’ve deleted your original backup, you of course will be without a backup until this one completes, but that’s a reasonably low risk if you’re doing it at home overnight, since it’s not likely anything is going to happen to your iPhone during that time.

As an extra precaution, you can still make a manual backup to your computer using iTunes simply by connecting your device to your computer, selecting it in iTunes, and then choosing the “Back Up Now” button that appears on the Summary page for your device.


You can do this any time, even when you’re regularly backing up to iCloud. This backup will be stored on your computer, and can be used to restore your iPhone in the very unlikely event that your iPhone actually does fail while creating a new iCloud backup.


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