Notifications when restoring from another Apple ID


I am trying to find a picture of my wife and her father to give to her for her birthday. This picture was on her old iPhone 4s. She upgraded to the iPhone 5 in May of this year. The phone has since been wiped and sold. There is an iCloud backup on the date for which she upgraded. When she changed phones she created a new Apple ID to use with this new phone.

What I would like to do is restore my iPhone 5 to this backup so that I can get this picture. I know how to restore from backup and all of that good stuff, but my big question is, will a notification be sent to her iPhone if I restore my iPhone to this old backup? Does it require that I sign into the Apple ID at all once it restores the iPhone or will I just have all the information there? I know about the email that will be sent, and can take care of it, but I am not sure about the notification. I don’t want her to know about this because it is a big surprise. Her father very sick and this would mean so much to her. Thanks for any help.

– Tommy

A: How this works depends on whether you’ll be using an iOS 6 or iOS 7 device to restore the backup. Prior to iOS 7, restoring a backup from an iCloud account did not normally result in any notifications to the original user, as long as you don’t log back into the iCloud account after the initial restore completes.

The key here is to log into the iCloud account to restore the backup itself, but after the iPhone restarts and prompts you to re-enter the password for that Apple ID, tap the small “Skip this Step” link instead of entering the actual password. This prevents the device from actually logging into iCloud, iMessage, and FaceTime, which is what normally generates e-mail and push notifications to other devices.

Note that as of iOS 7, however, the iCloud Apple ID and password supplied during the restore process is used to automatically sign the user into the appropriate services, rather than prompting the user again. This will generate a series of notifications, particularly in regard to iMessage and FaceTime, that another device has been configured with the same email addresses.

These notifications will only go to other devices that share the same Apple ID and password, however, and since your wife has setup a new Apple ID, her new iPhone should not be configured with that account and won’t receive any notifications for it any more than your iPhone would. An email would still be sent to the address associated that the prior Apple ID, but since each Apple ID must be a different email address, that’s not going to be the same email address your wife is using with her new Apple ID, so it may or may not be an email address that she still uses.

If you want to be absolutely certain that no notifications are sent out, however, the best way to do this is to ensure that the device has no network access once the first stage of the iCloud restore has completed. iOS will not send any notifications out when initially logging in to perform the iCloud restore; it is only after the iPhone restarts following that initial restore that it signs in to services like iMessage and FaceTime, generating notifications in the process.

If you switch off your Wi-Fi access point as soon as the iPhone reboots, or take it well out of range, it will not be able to connect to the Internet and sign into these services, so no notifications will be generated. Once it’s fully restarted, you can go in and toggle Wi-Fi off, so you don’t have to leave your home Wi-Fi offline or remain out of range for the entire time you’re working with the restored device.

Your apps and media content won’t get restored, as these still need to be re-downloaded from iCloud, but data such as iMessages and photos is already restored to the device as part of the initial iCloud restore, and you can access this information directly in the normal way without needing to turn Wi-Fi back on; photos can be transferred from the device over a USB connection, for instance.

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Jesse Hollington

Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.