How to restore your iPhone from an iCloud backup

There’s a handful of reasons why you’re here reading this article right now. Maybe your iPhone has been acting up, and you want to reinstall the iOS to freshen it up. Or maybe you’ve just gotten a new iPhone and want to transfer all your data from your old one. Whatever brought you here, we’re going to go over all the scenarios for restoring your iPhone from an iCloud backup.


How to restore an iPhone from iCloud

If your iPhone is running slow, or you’re having a lot of issues when you do anything on your iPhone, a good troubleshooting tip is to erase it and reinstall the iOS. Before you reset your iPhone, make sure you check when your last iCloud backup occurred by going to Settings > (your name) > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backups.

After you’ve made sure you have a recent backup, here’s how to reset your iPhone and restore it from an iCloud backup:

  1. Go to Settings > General > Reset.
  2. Tap Erase All Content and Settings.
  3. Go through the setup pages until you get to the Apps & Data screen.
  4. Tap Restore from iCloud Backup.
  5. Sign in to your iCloud account.
  6. Proceed to Choose backup and then select the one you need from the list.

Once you select the backup, you’ll see a progress bar on your screen. The time it takes to your restore your data depends on how large your iCloud backup is and how fast your internet is. You’ll want to make sure you have a strong Wi-Fi connection to restore quickly.

The photo library takes up a lot of space in any iCloud backup. So before you back up, use Gemini Photos to clean up similar photos. This will keep the size of your backup down and make your restore faster.

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How to restore a new iPhone from iCloud

If you’ve just experienced the joy of unboxing a brand new iPhone and are now hoping to fill it up with your data, it couldn’t be easier. Once you have the phone powered on:

  1. Tap through the setup pages until you get to the App & Data screen.
  2. Tap Restore from iCloud Backup.
  3. Sign in to your iCloud account.
  4. Proceed to Choose backup and then select it from the list of backups.

Once the restore gets started, you’ll see a progress bar on your screen along with the estimated time to completion. Make sure you have a strong Wi-Fi connection and enough battery, so that you don’t experience any hiccups during the restore.


How do you restore your iPhone from iCloud without a reset?

While there is no official way of restoring from an iCloud backup without resetting your iPhone, there might be hope if you’ve just accidentally deleted something you need.

To try and restore your iPhone files from iCloud:

  1. Open the browser on your computer and go to icloud.com.
  2. Sign in to your iCloud account.

Now you can access all your synced files.

How to restore iPhone files from iCloud

There are a couple of downsides to this method. The first issue is that if your iPhone has synced with iCloud, there’s a chance the file is already missing from iCloud as well. The second issue is that you won’t be able to access any app-specific data such as text messages, or data for third-party apps. While this is a nice stopgap if you’re fortunate, it might not be your best option for retrieving missing data.


Can you selectively restore from iCloud?

Similarly to restoring an entire iCloud backup without resetting your iPhone, there is no official way to restore selectively. You can log into your iCloud account from a computer and see what data can be individually synced, such as Photos or Notes. But other types of data, like your iMessages, can’t be restored without first resetting and restoring your entire phone.


There’s a ton of benefits to using iCloud as a backup for your iPhone. It’s fully integrated with Apple’s setup process, so whether you’re getting a new phone or restoring an old one, you now know how to restore data from iCloud. The only downside is that it’s all or nothing.

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