Q: I have recently lost my iPhone and want to restore the data onto a new iPhone using iCloud. I just wanted to know, however, does the restoration require me to first remove all the data on the old device and then restore onto the new device? Or am I still able to restore onto the new device even though it hasn’t been removed from the old device?
A: You can definitely restore an iCloud backup onto another iPhone regardless of whether the data has been removed from the previous iPhone or not.
In fact, you can restore this backup onto as many iOS devices as you like, and—subject to certain device-specific limitations—can even restore an iPhone backup onto an iPad or iPod touch or vice-versa. The only requirement is that the iOS version you’re restoring onto must be the same or newer as the one that was used to create the backup in the first place.
To do this, simply restore the iCloud backup as you normally would—by selecting the option during the iOS Setup Assistant, providing your iCloud Apple ID and password, and then selecting the backup that you would like to restore from. Once the restore is complete, your new iPhone will basically be in the exact same state as your old one, although you will likely have to re-enter some passwords for things like your Wi-Fi network, iCloud, iTunes Store, and e-mail accounts.
The new iPhone will not use the same iCloud backup as the old one did, however, as iCloud backups are associated with a specific hardware device ID, not simply your device name. The prior backup will still be associated with the old iPhone, and your new iPhone will make a new, separate iCloud backup under the same device name. You can view these backups by going into Settings, iCloud, Storage & Backup on your iOS device and selecting Manage Storage.
The backup for the device you are currently on will be indicated and should usually be first on the list. The other backup shown here with the same name is from your old iPhone and can be safely deleted to free up space once it’s been successfully restored onto your new device. To remove it, simply tap on it and select “Delete Backup” on the following screen.
Note that this method can also be used to setup an additional new device based on the configuration of your existing one, including all apps and data. Simply restore the backup onto your new device to get started and then customize it further by changing the name, deleting the apps you don’t want, and adjusting your settings accordingly.