When you first set up your iPhone or iPad, you are encouraged to enable iCloud and offered the option to back up your data to Apple’s iCloud service. Before the advent of iCloud in iOS 5, backups took place locally on your Mac or PC, using iTunes. While still an option, there is no questioning the simplicity and ease of using iCloud. One of the main advantages is that your data is secure. Local backups can be problematic. I always encourage folks to have a backup strategy using a secondary hard drive, NAS or service like Crashplan, Backblaze or Carbonite. What happens if your hard drive crashes and you don’t have a backup in place? Not only are your files gone, but you no longer have access to your iPhone backups. By using iCloud, that’s no longer a concern. iCloud also offers the perks of being able to easily migrate your data from iCloud to a new iOS device. You can literally leave an Apple Store and start the process of moving your apps, pictures, contacts and more. All of this without iTunes or a computer. Whether you are upgrading to a new device or replacing a broken one, here’s how to restore iPhone or iPad from an iCloud backup.

restore iPhone from iCloud

Going to the Apple Store to get a new iPhone? Make a new backup before you go!

The process for restoring is going to follow the same basic steps if you were to setup a new iPhone or iPad. Using our example above, this method is a great option if you are buying a new iPhone and want to download all of your information while you are in the Apple Store. Just remember that before you go, follow these easy steps to create a fresh backup.

1. Navigate to Settings > iCloud > Backup
2. Tap on Back Up Now. iCloud will immediately start the process of backing up your iPhone. You should see an estimated time remaining. When completed, you’ll see a timestamp of the last backup.

iPhone iCloud backup

Tip: iCloud actually saves multiple backups. So if for instance you want to restore to a previous date, that option is available to you. You might use this should you want to recover a text message that had been deleted between the dates of the two backups.

How to restore iPhone from iCloud Backup

1. First you’ll want to power on your iPhone or iPad and you’ll be greeted by a friendly ‘Hello‘. Slide your finger from left to right to begin the setup.
2. Tap to select your language and you’ll see a message about ‘Setting Language‘.
3. Select your country or region.
4. You now have the option to use either a cellular connection or a WiFi network. If you have access to an open WiFi network (such as the Apple Store), go ahead and select it. If you are at home or work, you can select your secured WiFi network. Enter the password and tap on ‘Join‘.
5. Your iPhone will immediately begin the activation process. This is typically fast and completed in a matter of seconds.
6. Next, you’ll need to choose your preferred setting for Location Services. Your iPhone uses this feature for maps, Spotlight suggestions and more. The recommended setting is to Enable.
7. You should not see the Set Up iPhone screen. Apple presents three choices: Set Up as New iPhone. Restore from iCloud Backup. Restore from iTunes backup. Tap on the second option.
8. Sign in using the Apple ID and password used on your previous iPhone to create the last iCloud backup. Once finished, tap on ‘Next’.
9. Agree to Apple’s terms and conditions.
10. You should see a message that Apple is setting up your Apple ID.
11. The next option is Choose Backup. Here we are presented with available iCloud backups. By default, there are a list of latest backups or you can choose to ‘Show All Backups’. Tap to select the iCloud backup that you would like to restore to your new iPhone or iPad.
12. The next screen shows the Restore from iCloud is in process, with an estimated time remaining. Grab yourself a cup of coffee as this process can be lengthy depending the amount of data you are restoring. At some point, your iPhone may reboot.

Reboot iPhone

13. You’ll be prompted to enter your password to complete your iCloud setup.

Finish iCloud setup

At this point, we go back to what is the normal iOS setup. You’ll see the familiar setup screens for Find My iPhone, Setup Touch ID, Enter Passcode, Apple Pay (if you have a supported device) and iCloud Keychain. This shouldn’t take more than a minute or two. Upon completion, you’ll be invited to get started using iPhone. Please note that your restore is not complete yet. our apps and media will begin downloading. Your iPhone or iPad is now fully functional, so you can use it while the downloads are taking place. Apple recommends that you connect to a power source, but it’s not necessary. It can be a drain on your battery.

When you first set up iCloud and enable it as your default backup, the process of backing up your iOS device becomes effortless. You’ll no longer have to be concerned with connecting your iPhone to your Mac or PC and all your information is safely stored in iCloud. If you should ever lose your iPhone or just picked a new iPhone from the Apple Store, you can restore your iPhone from iCloud. Quick, fast and secure.