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.

Restoring from a previous iCloud backup

– 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.


Restoring from a previous iCloud 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.


Restoring from a previous iCloud backup

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.


Restoring from a previous iCloud backup

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.



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.