Backup and Restore Files on an iOS Device

Research & Instructional Design

Making a Backup for your iOS device will copy all of your data. That copy will be safe in case anything happens to your device. If the data is somehow erased, you may then use the backup to restore it. There are two ways to create a backup: iTunes and iCloud. Although we recommend using iTunes, iCloud is just as reliable but may incur yearly fees (after surpassing the 5 GB of free space).

Backup and Restore Files through iTunes

Backup Files through iTunes

iTunes creates and updates backups for your iOS device when you sync with iTunes (this will be disabled if you have iCloud backup turned on). You may also manually backup your data whenever you'd like to. These 3 steps will help you manually backup your iOS device using iTunes:

  1. Connect your device to a computer with the latest version of iTunes installed
  2. In the upper right of the window, click on your iOS device

  1. Under Backups, click the Back Up Now button.


Restore Files through iTunes

To restore your data from a backup on iTunes, first connect your iOS device to the computer you normally sync to, and then follow one of these two methods:

Click the Restore button under the Summary tab.

  1. If you have a new phone, you can connect to iTunes and it will automatically prompt you and ask whether you want to restore from your backup. If you accept, it will restore your data.

Backup and Restore Files through iCloud

Backup Files through iCloud

iCloud automatically backs up your iOS device’s most important data. (Note: Although this method is just as reliable as making a backup of your data through iTunes, we strongly recommend you use iTunes instead. iCloud only has 5 GB of free space. In order to use more than that, you must pay yearly fees.)

In order to use iCloud, you must enable Backup on your device, go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup. iCloud will run daily as long as:

  • Your device is connected to the Internet over Wi-Fi.
  • Your device is connected to a power source.
  • Your device has the screen locked.

Restore Files Through iCloud

When you are setting up a new iOS Device, or resetting a used iOS device, select Restore from iCloud Backup. It should appear when the screen with a cloud and an iOS device appears.

After your device restarts, your settings and accounts will be restored and the Backup will start downloading your purchased music, TV shows, apps, books, and other content. You may be prompted to enter passwords for any accounts enabled on your device. A progress bar will appear showing you the progress of your iOS device downloading all of your apps.

You may also reset and backup your own iPad manually. Go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup. Start the setup assistant by erasing your device (by going to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings). Then follow the steps given above to restore your data through iCloud.

Last updated: June 10, 2016


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