When you move to a new iPhone you don't want to spend ages setting everything up from scratch to get it the same as your previous model. That's why restoring from a backup is so convenient: one quick tap and you're good to go.
The same is true for the rather scarier scenario of a mishap bringing a premature end to your handset. Knowing you can recover your photos, documents, and data easily from an iCloud or iTunes backup is very reassuring.
Yes, backups are an essential part of the modern digital life, which is why we put together our How to back up an iPhone or iPad guide. But once you've created one, how do you put it back on your device and get things going again? We explain below, in our guide to restoring an iPhone or iPad from a backup.
Restore from an iCloud backup
There are two methods Apple provides for creating backups of your iPhone: iCloud or iTunes. If you've already created an iCloud backup then the process of restoring it is quite simple. Be aware, though, that when you restore a backup it will delete all the existing data on your iPhone. So be sure that your backup is as up to date as possible.
Power up your iPhone, then once you're past the Hello screen and the first few steps you will reach a page entitled Apps & Data.
The first option is Restore from iCloud Backup. Select this and you'll be asked to log in with your Apple ID. Doing so presents you with a list of your iCloud backups. Check the date to see which is the most recent and tap that one.
iPhone will now automatically restore the chosen iCloud backup. The device will need to be connected to WiFi throughout the process, and it can take a while depending on how much data needs to be restored. It's also likely that you will be asked to log in again so that any purchased items from the App store or iTunes can be downloaded.
When the core elements of the backup are finished you'll be able to use the handset again. You might notice that apps and other data will continue to download and install in the background. This is perfectly normal, so just let the iPhone sort itself out while you get on with using the device once more.
Restore from an iTunes backup
iTunes might not be the essential part of the iPhone experience that it once was but it's still a great way to create or restore a local backup.
To get your iPhone up to speed you'll first need to plug it into a Mac or PC running iTunes. If you've not connected the device to this particular computer before, you'll see the 'Welcome to Your New iPhone' page appear.
Click continue and then agree to sync your iPhone to iTunes. With this completed, you will be taken to the device summary page in iTunes, which includes various options for backing up and restoring your device.
In the Backups section you'll see the a button marked Restore Backup. Click this. If Find My iPhone is switched on then you'll see a message telling you that it needs to be turned off before you can proceed. To do this, open Settings on your iPhone then scroll down to iCloud, tap that and then scroll down again until you see Find My iPhone. Tap it, move the toggle switch to off, enter your password to confirm, then return to iTunes on your Mac or PC.
After clicking Restore Backup a pop up box should appear with the current iterations available. Select the one you want then click the Restore button.
Now your iPhone will run through its automated restoration process. iTunes will let you know when the update is complete, then you can disconnect the iPhone and go about your business with your data safely onboard.