If you are getting a new device and want to restore the data from an old one, or you restored your device in order to troubleshoot a problem and want your data back, or for any other reason you want to restore data, this article will explain how to make a backup and restore a device to that backup.
A backup is done automatically if your device is charging (plugged in, either to a computer or an outlet), connected to Wi-Fi, and in sleep mode (display is off but phone is on). Alternatively, go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup > Back Up Now. You can also tap "Manage Storage" under the Storage & Backup menu to see backups for all of your devices, and what date and time they were made. iCloud allocates 5GB of storage for free for backing up. If you have iOS devices whose backup sizes total over 5GB, you will need to purchase more storage. Backup sizes are usually between 500MB and 1.2GB.
iOS 5 is required for iCloud. If you have an earlier version, you will need to back up to iTunes. If you have a later version, you have the choice of iTunes or iCloud for backing up, but we recommend iCloud so your backups will be safely stored in the cloud as opposed to your computer where iTunes backups are stored, and something may go wrong with the computer.
To back up to iTunes, your device will need to appear in the sidebar. It will appear in the sidebar under "DEVICES" if it is plugged in to the computer or if it is set up to sync with iTunes over Wi-Fi (configure this in Settings > General > iTunes Wi-Fi Sync on your device). iTunes 11 users may need to do some configuring to get the sidebar to appear. See: iTunes 11: Show Sidebar and Status Bar. Once you see your device's name in the sidebar, click on it, and it should open a "Summary" tab. The screen should look similar to the one below.
Click "Back Up Now" to perform a backup. The progress is shown in the top center of the iTunes window, and the Apple logo will appear when it is done.
iTunes backups are also done as part of an update or sync process.
To restore from a backup in iTunes, the process is very similar to how you back up. Select your device from the sidebar, and in the Summary tab, directly to the right of the Back Up Now button, is the Restore from Backup button. In older versions of iTunes, the button will be below the Back Up Now button.
If you have made an iCloud backup, the option to restore from a backup is presented during the setup of the device.
More details on the setup process can be found here: Getting Started and Get-Started Apps
If you have already set up the device, you will need to go through the setup again. To do this, go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. Once your device reboots, it will be back at the setup screens, as if fresh out of the box.
After the restore is complete, your apps will automatically begin to re-download. As for music and other iTunes content, connect to iTunes and do a sync to re-download this content.
As a reminder, restoring from a backup wirelessly using iCloud requires a device with iOS 5.0 or later, and so does setting up the device without iTunes. Older OS devices need to do so in iTunes on a computer.
When setting up a new device in iTunes, you should see the "welcome" screen below as soon as it is connected and verifies the device. You can choose to set up as a new device or restore from your backup. If the device is left plugged in, iTunes may ask you to register your product. We recommend this, as it will associate the device with your Apple ID, thus helping Apple recognize you as the owner if you ever need support.
When iCloud makes a backup, it may replace an older backup. If you are looking for a backup with a specific date, this could be the reason it does not appear. However, the more probable reason is that your device has an older version of iOS than the device that the backup was made on. If Apple replaced your device due to technical issues, the replacement may not be up to date right out of the box. In that case, see Updating iOS. There are also other circumstances where the device you are trying to restore the backup to may have an older version of iOS. You can restore a backup from an older version of iOS, but not a newer one. It is also okay to restore an older generation device to a newer generation's backup, all that matters is iOS. For example, you could restore an iPhone 4 to a backup made on an iPhone 4S or iPhone 5. The same is true for the opposite: you can restore a newer device from an older device's backup. For example, you could restore an iPhone 5 to a backup made on an iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S.
Restore to Factory Settings
Typically, a user may want to restore to factory settings if the device is about to have a new owner, or as a troubleshooting step to rule out the possibility of a third-party app conflict, or you set up a device with the wrong information. If you have an iOS device that you want to sell, make sure it is backed up first, and that you have restored your new device to that backup. After that is done, then you can wipe the old one. If you just need to remove information, you can go to the Settings app, select the "General" menu, then "Reset," and finally "Erase All Content and Settings." The device will reboot. Older devices will display a Connect to iTunes screen, and you can set up the device after you do so. For newer devices (running iOS 5 or later), you will go through the same setup screens as when you first set up the device. For a walkthrough of these, see: Getting Started and Get-Started Apps. Alternatively, you can restore in iTunes.