how to restore iPhone cover

How to restore iPhone: 6 different ways

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When may I need to restore my iPhone?

  • Your iPhone is possessed by a demon: it freezes and crashes all the time. Several features, like WI-FI or GPS tracking, aren’t working. Some experts think that restoring your iPhone to factory settings might be the best solution.
  • You want to restore iPhone to factory settings and sell it. And buy an Android instead.
  • You read that book about the importance of tidying up and getting rid of unnecessary things. You decided to start life anew with an absolutely empty, as-good-as-new iPhone.
  • You bought a new iPhone and you want to transfer all your data from your previous device to the new one. Your old iPhone goes to your younger sister.
  • You are this “lucky younger sister” and you want to transfer all the data from the previous iPhone to the new one. Your old iPhone goes to your grandma.

iPhone users mem

What is a “restore” anyway?

    The term has two meanings:

  1. “Restore” as in “restore the iPhone to factory settings”. This process erases everything from your device and makes it like a brand new. The terms “reset” or “set as new” mean the same thing.
  2. “Restore” as in “restore data from backup to the device”. iTunes and iCloud will restore your data only after they erase everything from the device. And a couple of other disadvantages. That’s why using non-Apple programs, like Shelbee, might be a better option.

We will cover all the methods and their pros and cons in the article. Read it all or choose the section you’re interested in:

  1. Restore iPhone to factory settings/reset iPhone
  2. Restore iPhone from iTunes
  3. Restore iPhone from iCloud
  4. ⭐Restore iPhone without iTunes
  5. ⭐Partially restore iPhone from backup without iTunes and resetting
  6. [BONUS]: restore iPhone from backup without iPhone
  7. Which method should I use?

Restore iPhone to factory settings/reset iPhone

Use this option if:

  • You want to sell your iPhone or give it away;
  • You are taking you device to a repair shop and you want to protect your personal data;
  • Your iPhone is slowing down, lagging and freezing;
This method will delete all the data from your iPhone. All settings will be set to default and there will be no applications installed except for the built-in apps like messages or weather. If you don’t want to lose the data from your iPhone, make sure that your iPhone has been recently backed up before you reset.

To restore iPhone to factory settings, do the following:

Go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase all content and settings.
how to reset iPhone, first stephow to reset iPhone, second step

After you click on “Erase All Content and Settings”, you will need to enter your iPhone passcode and Apple ID password (if signed in into Apple account). You can’t reset the device without these combinations. If you forgot your passcode, read this Apple support article.

The restore process will take a couple of minutes. After that you’ll see the welcome screen asking you to set up your device: select your country, language, Wi-Fi network, etc.

Restore iPhone from iTunes

The word “restore” can also refer to extracting data from the backup onto your iPhone. You can use iTunes for that. Please note: with this method you can’t select the data you want to restore. You can only restore all the data from the backup or nothing at all.

You may want to use this method if:

  • You bought a new device and want to transfer data between your old and new iPhone.
  • Someone stole your iPhone or you’ve lost it. If you have it backed up, you can perform a restore to another device.

You can restore iPhone from iTunes backup on Windows PC or Mac. But in macOS Catalina, you will need to use the Finder App, not iTunes. See how to do it below.

Restore iPhone from iTunes on PC

  1. Connect your iPhone to PC and run iTunes;
  2. Wait until your iPhone appears on iTunes top panel and click on the iPhone icon;
  3. how to restore iphone from iTunes to PC step 1

  4. Click on “Summary” to open a summary screen; then click on the “Restore Backup” button;
  5. how to restore iphone from iTunes to PC step 2

  6. iTunes may ask you to disable the “Find my iPhone” feature.
    how to disable Finf my iPhone feature

  7. Choose the backup you need and click on “Restore”.
  8. click on restore button
    If necessary, enter the password to your backup (you will be asked to do that if your backup is encrypted).

  9. Now just wait until the process finishes.
  10. wait until the process finishes

Restore iPhone from iTunes in mac OS Mojave or earlier

Steps for restoring iPhone wtih Mac OS Mojave are not much different:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer;
  2. Launch iTunes;
  3. Click on the device icon in the upper-left part of the iTunes window;
  4. how to restore from iTunes on mac step 1

  5. From the list on the left, choose “Summary” and click on “Restore Backup”;
  6. how to restore from iTunes to mac step 2

  7. Disable the “Find my iPhone” feature if asked.
  8. how to disable find my iPhone feature

  9. Choose the backup you need and click on “Restore”.
  10. how to restore from iTunes to PC step 3

If necessary, enter the password to your backup (you will be asked to do that if your backup is encrypted).

How to restore iPhone in macOS Catalina (spoiler: we’ll use the Finder)

Apple decided to kill iTunes starting with macOS Catalina. Most of the iTunes functions (including restoring data from backups) have been moved to the Finder App. But no worries here: restoring iPhone from the Finder is as easy as using iTunes.

Here is what you should do:

  1. Connect your device to your computer;
  2. Open the Finder App;
  3. how to open the Finder app

  4. On the left-hand bar, find your iPhone in the “Locations” section and click on it; choose to Trust your iPhone on Mac and choose to Trust your Mac on iPhone;
  5. how to restore from Itunes on Mac

  6. In the Backups section, click on “Restore Backup”;
  7. how to restore from Itunes on Mac step 2

  8. Choose the backup you need and click “Restore”.
  9. choose the back you need

Restore iPhone from iCloud

Another way to restore iPhone is from an iCloud backup. Two main reasons to resort to this method are:

  • You bought a new device and want to transfer data between your old and new iPhone.
  • Someone stole your iPhone or you’ve lost it. If you have it backed up, you can perform a restore to another device.

All you should know about restoring from iCloud backup

  • Before restoring, make sure you have a recently made backup
  • iCloud restore is different from the iTunes method in that you don’t need your PC and a cable: it is all about your iPhone and a steady Wi-Fi connection.
  • Both iTunes and iCloud, however, share the same drawback: they will only restore your data after they erase everything from the device and you can’t select the data types you want to restore. If you want to extract a particular data type to PC without resetting iPhone, use CopyTrans Backup Extractor.
  • Another inconvenience is that the data you want might not be part of your iCloud backup. The thing is, your iCloud backups only include the data stored locally on your device. So, your iCloud backup will not include data types already synced to iCloud. To learn more about what forms your iCloud backup, read this section: I don’t see the data I need in my iCloud backup.
  • If you have trouble while restoring from an iCloud backup, see this article by Apple Support

2 ways to restore from iCloud backup

1. With iPhone

Please note that you can’t select the data types you want to restore. Your existing iPhone data will be overwritten by that from the backup you choose. If you don’t want to lose your data, use CopyTrans Backup Extractor.
    Before restoring reset your iPhone to factory settings and then restore it from the Backup:

  1. Go to Settings > General > Reset > Tap Erase All Content and Settings;
  2. how to reset iPhone, first steps
    how to reset iPhone, second steps

  3. After the phone reboots, connect to Wi-Fi;
  4. When you get to the Apps & Data screen, tap on “Restore from iCloud Backup” > enter your Apple ID and password >choose the backup you need from the list;

The restore speed depends on the size of your backup and how fast your internet connection is.

2. Without iPhone

    We strongly recommend this method and we have 3 reasons for that:

  1. you can get iCloud backup data without iPhone — if you lost it, for example;
  2. you can get iCloud backup data without erasing all data from your iPhone;
  3. you can select the data types to extract.

CopyTrans Backup Extractor will automatically search for all iTunes and iCloud backups on your PC, enabling you to extract the data form them.

  1. Download CopyTrans Backup Extractor (by pressing the button below) and install it.

    Download CopyTrans Backup Extractor

  2. Run the program and click on “Log in to iCloud for more backups”.Log in to iCloud with CopyTrans Backup Extractor
  3. Sign in to iCloud with your Apple ID: the backup search will then start automatically.
    Enter Apple ID and password to access iCloud backups
  4. If you enabled Two-Factor Authentication earlier, a verification code will be sent to your device: enter this code to continue.
    enter the verification code
  5. Select the backup you need (iCloud backups are marked with a cloud icon) and click “Select”.
    find iCloud backups with CopyTrans Backup Extractor
  6. Select the data you want to retrieve. Then click on “Extract”.
  7. After the extraction has finished, you will be able to see the retrieved data in the folder.

I don’t see the data I need in my iCloud backup

Some of your data may be excluded from iCloud backup. It happens because Apple doesn’t allow you to back up data that is already stored in iCloud. In simple words, the data stored in your iCloud will not be part of your iCloud backup; the data stored locally, however, will be included.

For example, if you have iCloud Photos enabled (meaning that your photos are stored in iCloud), the photos won’t be in the iCloud backup. The same applies to your notes, contacts, etc.

How to get the data from iCloud? The two main ways to do that are iCloud.com and iCloud for Windows (but please note that you can’t get messages and voice memos from there).

To see what data is stored in iCloud go to Settings > Your name > iCloud. If you see the “On” value next to Photos — the iCloud Photos feature is enabled (and therefore your photos will not be included into the iCloud backup). For other data types, look for the green toggles on the right.

what data is stored in iCloud
Alternatively, you can see what will be in your iCloud backup. To do that, go to Settings > Your Name > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backup and choose your device.

If you are sure that some data type is not stored in iCloud, but it is still missing after an iCloud restore, read this Apple support article.

Restore iPhone without iTunes

    Use this method if:

  • You are not the biggest fan of iTunes;
  • You don’t want to use iCloud. If you tried to back up your iPhone to iCloud and foundn that 5GB of free space is not enough, or if your iCloud storage is full, this solution is for you. Also, you may not want to store your data with a third party.
  • You want to restore your apps from a backup. iTunes and iCloud can’t help you with that.

CopyTrans Shelbee will be a great replacement of iTunes and iCloud.

  1. Download CopyTrans Shelbee from the following page:

    Download CopyTrans Shelbee

  2. Install the program.
  3. Start CopyTrans Shelbee and connect the iPhone via the USB cable. Click ”Full restore”.
  4. choose restore in the main menu

  5. Click on the pencil symbol and select the backup file.
  6. choose the itunes backup

  7. Once you select the backup, CopyTrans Shelbee begins the restore operation. Stand-by for the process to complete. CopyTrans Shelbee will restore iPhone content that was backed up with iTunes including messages, Camera Roll images, notes, calendars, iOS settings, app documents and more.
  8. restore in progress

  9. And that’s all. Click “Done”.

Partially restore iPhone from backup without iTunes and resetting

If you have carefully read the previous section, you know that restore from a backup with iTunes and iCloud will overwrite the existing data on the iPhone. But what if you only need to restore a certain data type? For example, you lost some important contacts and do not want to completely overwrite the device to get them back. If so, use this method.

With CopyTrans Shelbee, you can choose which data you want to restore. Here’s how to make a selective restore to iPhone:

  1. Download CopyTrans Shelbee from the following page:

    Download CopyTrans Shelbee

  2. Click on “Custom Restore”.
  3. restore selected data with copytrans shelbee

  4. Click on the pencil icon to select which backup you want to restore your data from.
  5. select backup to restore to custom restore

  6. After you’ve chosen the right backup, click “Next”.
  7. click next

  8. Wait until the loading process finishes.
  9. loading in progress

  10. Select the data type you wish to restore. For example, you can choose to restore contacts from iPhone backup. Just select “Contacts”, then click “Next”. You can also choose to restore calendars, notes, WhatsApp etc., in the same way.
  11. select data to restore

  12. Click “Next”. Please note that the data you selected will be overwritten. For example, if you want are restoring contacts, the old contact set will be replaced with that in the backup.
  13. confirmation screen

  14. CopyTrans Shelbee will ask you to choose where you want to save the backup of your device in case something goes wrong during Custom restore. Select the destination and click “Start”.
  15. saving device backup

  16. Wait until the restore process finishes.
  17. custom restore in progress

  18. That’s it! Your device will now restart.

[BONUS]: restore iPhone from backup without iPhone

Well, this is not quite a typical restore. But you will get all the data from the iPhone backup and that’s what we want, right? In simple words: your iPhone data will be extracted from the backup to your PC.

This method might be useful if:

  • You don’t want any of your data overwritten;
  • You don’t want to use iTunes;
  • You don’t have an iPhone (because, for example, it was lost or broken).

This method requires a PC with any type of iPhone backup on it and CopyTrans Backup Extractor. In case you don’t know how or where to search for backups, download CopyTrans Backup Extractor and it will do all the work for you.

  1. You can download CopyTrans Backup Extractor by clicking on the button below:

    Download CopyTrans Backup Extractor

  2. After the download, install and run the program: it will automatically search for backups on your computer. When the search is finished, you will see the list of all the backups available. Select the backup you need.
  3. choose the back up from the list of backups

  4. Click on the type of data you want to extract and press “Extract”.
  5. select types of data you want to extract

  6. Select the destination folder. All your data from the iPhone backup will be extracted there.
    1. “Ok, now I know everything about the restoring. But which method should I use?”

      This table aims to help you make a decsion on how to restore your iPhone.

      Restore-reset iTunes iCloud 🧡 CopyTrans Shelbee 💜 CopyTrans Backup Extractor
      ▪️ Fast & easy

      ▪️ Requires only your iPhone

      ▪️ Erases all the data from the iPhone
      ▪️ It’s free ▪️ Fast & easy

      ▪️ Doesn’t require PC or cable
      ▪️ Doesn’t require Internet connection

      ▪️ You can select the data type to restore

      ▪️ Can restore apps, even if they are no longer on the AppStore
      ▪️ Extracts your data from any iTunes or iCloud backup

      ▪️ Doesn’t require an iPhone, just a PC
      ▪️ Doesn’t recover any data; just erases all content from iPhone

      ▪️ If you don’t have a backup, you will lose your data
      ▪️ Overwrites all iPhone data

      ▪️ Requires an iPhone, a PC and a cable

      ▪️ Can’t restore apps
      ▪️ Overwrites all iPhone data

      ▪️ Requires a Wi-Fi connection

      ▪️ Can’t restore apps and data that are already stored in iCloud
      ▪️ Requires an iPhone, a PC and a cable

      ▪️ Not free, but has a trial mode; one of the lowest prices on the market
      ▪️ Won’t restore the data to your iPhone, but will extract it to a PC

      If you still don’t know which method to use, maybe you should think about how to backup your iPhone. Backups from iTunes and iCloud store different types of data. So first decide which type of backup you prefer and then choose accordingly. You can read more about backup types in our article on how to backup your iPhone.

      Boring but important section

      Use the methods described above only if you have a backup at hand so that you don’t lose your data.

      It’s very important to regularly backup your device. You can enable automatic iCloud backups on your device. With this feature enables, your iPhone will be backed up every 24 hours. Alternatively, you can just connect it to iTunes from time to time or enable backup notifications in CopyTrans Shelbee.

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By Vlada

Vlada is a tech support specialist who believes that the world is beautiful as long as it has dogs, Tarantino movies and mom's pancakes.