Restoring from a backup should be a regular activity. It allows you to avoid panicking after your iOS device is wiped clean since you can effortlessly get the data back. This is also pivotal if you decide to switch an outdated iPhone for a new one, or, even worse, if it gets stolen, gets broken, or starts malfunctioning. Another example is old iPhones that weren’t connected to the Internet in a while, and thus don’t have the latest updates. Instead of starting from zero, you get to continue where you left off while enjoying the newest visuals and bug/exploit fixes. Best of all, learning how to restore iPhone is easy and versatile.
Steps to restore iPhone from a backup
We advise backing up all the devices you use daily. For the required steps, check how to backup iPhone. And, although it won’t be of much use after the damage is done, it can help prevent future disasters. With that said, restoring from a backup is only possible during the boot process of a new iPhone. Or, if an iPhone in use, you must reset your iPhone to factory settings. We described the process step by step in our guide to activate iPhone. Keep in mind that for methods 1 and 4 you’ll need to enable Bluetooth, mobile data, or Wi-Fi on both devices (2 iPhones or iPhone/Android). To recover the iPhone from a backup, 2 steps in that activation guide are relevant:
1. Restoring iPhone using another iPhone (Step 3)
Here’s how to restore iPhone using Quick Start:
- Get to the iPhone Quick Start screen on your new iPhone.
- A window with the title Set Up New iPhone will pop up on your old iPhone. Tap Continue.
If nothing is happening, turn your old iPhone off then on. Check the headline Try the soft reset for iPhone first in the iPhone reset guide above for instructions.
- A QR code will appear on the screen of your new iPhone. Use the camera of your old one to scan it.
- You’ll be redirected to the screen titled Enter Passcode of Your Other iPhone.
- After you enter the passcode, a pop-up window titled Finish on New iPhone will appear on your old iPhone.
- During the process, you’ll be offered 3 options that can significantly cut down setup time:
- Transfer Data from “Old iPhone’s Name”. Tap Continue if you need it. Tap Other Options to be taken to the screen identical to step 6 mentioned below.
- Settings from your Other iPhone. Tap Continue or Customize Settings if you want them (Steps 5, 9, and 10 in the activation guide).
- Keep Your iPhone Up to Date. Tap Continue if you want to enable automatic updates (Step 8).
- After you either accept or decline things offered by Apple, a new screen titled Transferring Data from “Old iPhone’s Name” will appear.
- When a Transfer Complete window appears, tap on Continue.
- Congratulations, you now know transferring files from an old iPhone to new iPhone works.
2. Restore iPhone from iCloud backup (Step 6)
This is the first of 4 remaining options on the Apps & Data screen during the activation process. It is also by far the easiest option. Here’s how iCloud backup recovery to iPhone works:
- Sign up with your Apple ID.
- If you use two-factor authentication, you’ll have to enter a 6-digit code during the Apple ID Verification Code screen.
- Read the Terms and Conditions and tap on Agree.
- On the Choose Backup screen, tap on one of the offered ones. If it isn’t there, tap on Show All Backups.
- After you go through steps 7 through 10 in our activation guide, the Restore from iCloud loading bar appears and the download begins.
3. Recover from a local PC backup (Step 6)
Here’s how to transfer data to iPhone from a Windows 10 PC with the iTunes app:
- Connect your iPhone to the PC using a Lightning to USB cable.
- Tap on Restore from Mac or PC on your iPhone.
- Wait for the iPhone to be detected. It will appear under Devices in the left sidebar.
- Click on the icon of an iPhone in the top left corner (next to the Music drop-down list).
- Under Summary > Backups > Manually Back Up and Restore, click on the Restore Backup button.
- iTunes will ask you to disable Find My iPhone temporarily.
To turn off Find My iPhone, open Settings on your iPhone. Tap on your name, go to Find My, and toggle Find My iPhone to Off.
- Select the backup you want to restore from and click on the Restore button.
- If the backup was encrypted, you must enter a password.
- Wait for the loading bar to fill up to 100% and follow steps 7-10.
4. Restore from Mac (Step 6)
Finder is an iTunes replacement introduced by Apple in 2019. Luckily, the steps are identical once you open the app. Here’s how iPhone recovery via Mac works:
- Connect your iPhone and your Mac via a USB to Lightning cable.
- Select the Restore from Mac or PC option on your iPhone.
- Launch iTunes (macOS Mojave 10.14 and earlier) or Finder (macOS Catalina 10.15 and later).
- In the menu on the left, under Locations, click on iPhone.
- Click Trust and enter your iPhone passcode.
- On the Backups menu under General, click on the Restore Backup… button.
- Choose a backup from the drop-down list and click on Restore.
- Track the loading bar on your iPhone to know when it’s done.
5. Move Data from Android (Step 6)
Contacts, message history, camera photos/videos, calendars, web bookmarks, mail accounts, and some free apps can be recovered from a smartphone using Android. With that said, follow these steps to restore iPhone from an Android smartphone:
- Install and launch the official Move to iOS app on Android.
- Tap Continue, accept Terms and Conditions by tapping on Agree, then Next.
- Tap on Continue on your iPhone.
- A 6-digit code will appear on the screen of your iPhone. Enter it onto your Android device.
- Deselect everything you don’t want to transfer on the Transfer Data screen and tap on Next.
- After the transfer is complete, tap on Done.
- Go through activation steps 7 through 10 on your iPhone.
- If you didn’t deselect Free apps, a new pop-up appears on the home screen of your iPhone. Tap on Add Apps.
Restoring iPhone without a backup
The methods above require you to either have a second iOS or Android smart device, automatic iCloud backup, or local backups on Mac or PC. But what if you have none of that? You’re still not out of options, thankfully.
How does iPhone recovery without backup work?
When you delete a file or restore iPhone to factory settings, the data on the storage isn’t truly gone. At least, not yet. iOS marks the storage as empty and deletes its internal address to it. Then, as you continue to use your iPhone and move files, iOS slowly overwrites that space. For that reason, if you act quickly, don’t use your device in the meantime, and use the right data recovery software, you can regain access to iPhone data.
Are there risks involved?
iOS is very restrictive and its users don’t even have free access to storage akin to File Manager apps on Android. So, for any serious scanning and file recovery, jailbreaking of iPhone is required. See our article on why jailbreak iPhone to decide whether it’s a risk worth taking. We’ll publish a detailed guide to jailbreak iPhone shortly.
Using EaseUS MobiSaver to restore iPhone
You can use any software you like. We’ve chosen this one because it’s reputable, has apps for both Windows and Mac, stays up-to-date, and supports the newest iOS versions flawlessly. It also has a free version that lets you preview what it found, and recover some of the files. Here’s how to bring back data on iPhone via EaseUS MobiSaver:
- Download EaseUS MobiSaver for iOS, install, and run it.
- Connect your iPhone to Windows or Mac via Lightning-USB cable.
- Click on Recover from iOS Device in the menu on the left.
- Select your iPhone’s name and click on Scan.
- After the scan is complete, browse the categories on the left (Photos/Videos, Contacts/Messages, Notes/Others).
- Put a checkmark on files you want to put back on your iPhone.
- Click the Recover button in the bottom right corner.