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Restoring from a previous iCloud backup
By Jesse Hollington | 02.11.13

Q: How do I get my iCloud backup from an old phone onto a new phone after I’ve started using the new phone? I still see my old phone storage stuff in manage storage, but I can’t see any option to restore it.

- Michael

A: The only way to restore an iCloud backup onto a iPhone or other iOS device that you’ve already setup as a new device is to erase your device and start over. An option to Erase All Content and Settings can be found in the Settings under General, Reset.

Choosing this option will prompt you to enter your iOS passcode if one is set, and will then prompt you to confirm that this is actually what you want to do. Your device will then go through a relatively quick erase process and then restart, displaying the iOS Setup Assistant in the same way as for a brand new device. During this process, you will be given the option to setup as a new iPhone or restore from an iCloud or iTunes backup.


Choosing to restore from an iCloud backup will prompt you for your Apple ID and then display a list of your iCloud backups to restore from.


For more detailed information on this process, see our Guide to Transferring your Content to a new iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Note that there is no simple way to merge the information from two separate backups, so if you’ve already started using your iPhone as a new device and accumulated new data on it that you want to preserve, you’re basically left with the choice between completely restoring your old backup—losing any new information in the process—or simply discarding it in favour of the new backup.

There are third-party utilities such as iBackupBot and MobileSyncBrowser that can be used to selectively retrieve data from iOS device backups, but these require that the backups be made to your computer; they cannot access data directly from an iCloud backup. If there is information in your iCloud backup that you desperately need, however, you could restore the iCloud backup to your iPhone—or even another iOS device that you have available—and then subsequently make a backup of that device to iTunes in order to get the data onto your computer where these utilities could be used to extract the required information.

Note that should you decide that you no longer need the old iPhone backup taking up storage in iCloud, you can also easily delete it from your iCloud storage directly from the Storage & Backup settings on your iPhone.


Simply go into your iCloud settings, choose Storage & Backup, Manage Storage and select the backup that you would like to remove. A summary screen will show the date and time the backup was made along with the size of the backup and a delete button that can be used to remove it from your iCloud account, freeing up the space for additional backups or other data.


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Thank you so much for this!!  I have been pulling my hair trying to do the same thing you explained here!!

By Janice on 04.02.13 at 06:41 AM

Thank you soooooooo much for this!

By Moriah on 04.07.13 at 01:03 PM

Thanks a lot!
One question though: I’ve restored icloud contents into my new iphone. Now i wanna back up the new one, but there isn’t enough space since the older one is still there. I can delete the older back up and be sure not to lose my stuff? Even considering all content is in my new iphone, seems kinda scary.

By Mariana on 05.14.13 at 07:40 PM


By Jaecgo on 06.06.13 at 06:20 PM

Looking for my phone

By Robert lane on 06.15.13 at 05:44 PM

Thank you so much! I’ve been trying for a couple hours and couldn’t figure it out.

By Lindsay on 06.19.13 at 06:51 PM

You just don’t know…you have SAVED MY LIFE!!!! Omg thank you so much for putting this out here!!

By Jasmin on 06.24.13 at 11:17 PM

I was advised by Apple to backup my Ipad on Icloud (on the Ipad) which I did then told to go into Itunes and restore my Ipad which I did. Now I have my library in Icloud on my Ipad but I am unable to restore it into my Ipad

By Sandra Pattison on 07.12.13 at 02:29 PM


I really got scared if i lose evrey thing i have but now i can backup easily so THANX ARIGATO MERCI


By roronoa zoro on 07.27.13 at 02:00 AM

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! This page was so much more helpful than the apple page…. Thanks a million!!!

By joneseroni on 09.05.13 at 04:05 PM

Ok, I want to set up a new Iphone 5 with a new apple id, but back up from an different id? The daughter and wife rushed in and used the same home email address to set up their phones and now my i get their messages and contacts messed up with mine and some of my business coontacts have been getting their messages!! I need all my phone contacts and messages etc.. help

By Nedster on 10.13.13 at 12:16 PM

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