How-To: Backup the iPhone, Restore from a Backup & Delete a Backup

One of the most common (and obvious) recommendation before hacking the iPhone is to backup the iPhone so that if things go horribly wrong you can at least restore your iPhone to avoid losing any of your settings such as sound settings, widget settings, certain network settings, and other preferences and information such as text messages, notes, call history contact favorites etc.

Apple recently published a must-read Knowledge Base Article from iPhone and iPod Touch owners which brings in a lot of clarity with regards to the difference between backups and syncing as well as how to create a backup, restore from a backup and deleting a backup.

Here is what Apple has to say about the difference between Syncing and Backups:

"You can use iTunes to sync content on your computer (such as music, podcasts, videos, ringtones1, photos, email account settings, contacts, calendars, and bookmarks) with your iPhone or iPod touch. Syncing makes sure this content is the same on your iPhone or iPod touch and computer. You can also use iTunes to create a backup of settings and certain other information on your iPhone or iPod touch to use in case you want to restore the software on your iPhone or iPod touch or transfer this information to a different device. Backup information includes information such as mail settings, text messages, notes, call history, contact favorites, sound settings, widget settings, certain network settings, and other preferences."

To get more details on the procedure to follow to create a backup, restore from a backup and deleting a backup, follow this link.

Hope you found this useful.


Top iPhone Hacks Categories:

iPhone Applications
Unlock iPhone
JailBreak iPhone
iPhone Tips & Tricks
iPhone Games
iPhone News 


What next?

Like this post? Share it!
  • I tell you what though, I been having the iPhone 3G for 2 weeks now, put tons of applications on it and even plenty of videos and other things and its seeming to take 2 hours to restore from a backup. It might even be longer, im actually just 1/4 throgh and its almost been an hour!

  • saleh asaad

    dear Sir
    good day

    kindly can you advice … i lost all my contacts from my I pone when i use I POT ,and i dont have backup for that can i get it again ,, please help me

    best regards,
    saleh mullah

  • JadeStar

    The iPhone has a fully functional SysV-style Unix file system on it… meaning that, from Cydia, you can install an OpenSSH daemon and Terminal app for your iPhone, and then do WHATEVER you want with it. Once the Terminal is installed, you'll find that most file and network commands you'd get on the Mac are available on the iPhone. That makes it a Unix box in your pocket, meaning that you can script any damn thing you want it to do, just like you could do in the Terminal on your Mac or Linux box.

    Long story short — I'm currently using WinSCP to backup the entire filesystem on my iPhone to my laptop. As of 5 mins from now, though, I'll have the iPhone added to the network auto-backup script on my Linux box. WooHoo!!

    Google for "rsync", and you'll see what I mean. 🙂

    Happy Hacking 🙂

  • GrantosUK

    If copytrans is so good, then why is there two cryptor viruses in the download?

    I think the same poster did all the above posts recommending this software. Don't touch it. If it was professional viruses wouldnt be included now would they?

  • Willy

    I think your anti-virus gives false positives. Let me explain.

    I experienced the same issue with mine that prevents me to open the program.
    The support advised me to deactivate the 'heuristic scan option'. In fact, AVG gives many false positives due to the way it searches for viruses into programs (by analyzing their scripts).

    Now everything is back in order and I have managed to run the app.

  • Tyler

    Tried copytrans – "iphone is not currently supported" – i suspect Grantos suspicions about fake recommendations are correct

  • Todd

    I never got that message 'iphone is not currently supported'.
    The program runs well with my iPhone 3G.

  • if you want to extract your texts/sms from the backup, give a try

  • Dave

    Copytran doesn't back up your iphone settings. It only backs up your photo, video, and audio files. Useless, Use itunes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111

  • Gavin

    Copytrans looks like a scam to me. All the posters hyping it appear to be the same typist with the same formulaic post, pasting the same link at the foot of each.

    I wouldn't trust a backup solution from a company that refers to your iPhone's internal storage as a 'hard drive'.

    Last of all, a quick search shows no torrents for their files; if it's not worth ripping off, it's not worth buying. (lol)

    This false, misleading, viral method of marketing is disgusting; I motion that everybody counter this despicable practice by posting just how terrible their software is, and how it damages your PC, iPhone, and sex life, steals your girlfriend, scratches the car, and causes water damage to the plasterwork in the guest room…

  • this is not dooing the backup of your software it only backup your photo and music so is fucking usless software you can use itunes for that and is more professional…DO NOT DOWNLOAD DO NOT DOWNLOAD DO NOT DO WNLOAD DO NOT DOWNLOAD DO NOT DOWNLOADDO NOT DOWNLOAD DO NOT DOWNLOAD DO NOT DOWNLOAD DO NOT DOWNLOAD
    Is just a waste of thime!

  • Hailey
    doesn't work for mac…well for mine anyways

  • Gavin was spot on, all those recommendations for Copytrans came from the same IPs. We have removed the comments.

    Thanks folks (especially Gavin) for highlighting them.

  • Zaidi

    dear sir

    if i make any new instalation my iphone need some account information and password. how can find this one?

  • I lost my hard drive on my computer and with that all of my back up information for my IPhone. Is there a way to back up my phone contacts, music, apps and other info to my new hard drive without loosing the information from my IPhone? Please help….

  • getoverit

    Apple recommends that you regularly back up the file where the iPhone backup data is written. The problem I'm having is that the iPhone doc says that file is on \Documents and Settings\(username)\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup… But that folder doesn't exist on my XP machine. So, I cannot verify that I have a usable backup and am totally at a loss as to how to "backup the backup".

    I patiently waited while iTunes loaded and downloaded all this sales crap that I really don't care about in the first place… then waited while it "syncs" (they really ought to give some thought to providing a lucid explanation of that that really means) only to find out that it didn't really work as advertised anyway.

    I would think that a simple, usable, verifiable backup scheme would be one of the main concerns of both Apple and its iPhone customers. But this thing is really just an overgrown music player and game machine. If you to do anything important, get a Blackberry or something that's designed for grown-ups.

    I've spent literally hours trying iTunes, iDrive, iPranks whatever just to do something that I would think would be routine, documented, and would take no more than a few minutes. What a waste of time!

  • application_killer

    Hi, I installed catagories, hid all my apps in its own folder, now I have upgraded the phone to v3, all the applicaions I hid – are hiden… I cant remember what I called the catagory to recreate where they were put…

    how do I alter the plist to show the app on the front page again ? anybody ? 🙂

  • liucy

    Backup iPhone Notes
    want to know which is the best iphone notes backup software?

  • Drew

    I need help with my jailbroken iphone I connected it to my pc to upload some new songs and by accident I agreed to download some new software onto the iphone now I'm only allowed to make emergency calls if anyone can help contact me Thanks.

  • Leo

    If you'd like to check out your backup files use a tool like that lets you explore the backup files on your PC.

  • Peter

    One of my kids deleted all my contacts on my MacBook, but they are still in my iPhone.

    If I sync, will they disappear from the phone or reappear on the computer?

    I dare not try, because I can't afford to lose all my contacts.

    (MacBook is now password protected)


    Tried to install Copytrans numerous times and my Laptop locked up. Had to shutdown with power button. Anybody had this problem? Think it has a virus?


    My daughter went through setting on my iphone to reset my iPhone datas.Now the phone can no longer launch the Iphone application.The only thing showing on the phone when I try to put it on is a white pineaple icon.
    What do I do? Am afraid i will loose all my datas.
    How do I restore the phone back

  • ray

    all u can do is put it into DFU mode and restore…thats the only option u have i believe


    hi, i have a jailbroken iphone 3gs running fw 3.0.1, i want to know do i have to upgrade to the lastest firmware first via itune? or can i just go ahead with my current fm and download the ips file and go from there?

  • well, you could try for instance..

  • Jhops

    haha i couldnt agree more!

  • Mojo

    I have a Windows XP laptop and my laptop was reimaged and I took a back up of the itunes folder(Where all the files are stored when we sync the iphone)in "My Music" folder before it was reimaged.When I got the new laptop I connected the iphone and restored it to factory settings without doing a back up on the new computer and I lost all my data. When I do the restore from back up there is nothing available in the options. Can someone help me how to get my data back from the iTunes folder which I have but cannot bring it onto the iphone.


  • james hunter

    Hi everyone,
    I recently blackra1ned my new 3gs on advice of my work mate and it worked great for about 2 weeks until I turned it off in a meeting and it now only comes up with the i tunes screen,I cant turn it off properly with the slide action,it wont register on itunes or register on my computer. I have tried the reset ( holding both buttons) but to no avail.
    devistated fan
    any help would be greatful.



    I have 1st generation iPhone & I want to upgrade to firmware 3. I have done this with one iphone. I have a big Question: Will my old backup will work with firmwarr 3? Presently I use 1.1.4.

    Pls share.

  • backing up apple iphone mobile phone is very essential because the data within this phone is so important. i also used iphone 3g. we need to know how to backup data well. some times people use iphone backup software for keeping their data as backup…you could also try at

  • I reinstalled windows few days ago and i haven't installed itunes on it, i had itunes on previous windows and had my iphone synched on it but not on this one. I now put a passcode on my iphone and forgot it. Now i installed itunes but it wouldn't sync since it hasn't been synced with this one; and so i cannot even restore it. Can anybody help me out?

  • I just upgraded to firmware 3.1.3 and locked up my iphone altho It was unlocked on 3.1.2. Any solution?

  • doesn't supported by MAC.. anyways good work! thanks to share

  • shana

    hi im having the same problem…did u find any results ??

  • Bladow

    iPhone backup solutions explained here:

  • blackra1n RC3 on 3GS needs to be tethered for the reboot, simply attach your 3GS, close itunes, and re-run blackra1n, it will reboot the 3GS and you should be back in business again.

  • if iPhone users are looking to backup and restore his or her iPhone to Windows 7 Operating System that are welcome here to get full descriptive info about how Backup iPhone 3GS to Window 7.

  • If you are using windows, it should either be backing up to outlook or windows mail. Plug in your ipod/iphone, open iTunes, click your iPod in the left pane then click the info tab. Scroll to contacts section and it will tell you which program you are synced with. Open the program it says you are using then click sync and if you have any contacts in any of these programs it will ask to add them to your phone/ipod.

  • mbhullar

    I had the same issue earlier this year. However, my iphone was jailbroken so I was able to log in and copied all the music back to the hardrive (the files get renamed however, when you point itunes to it will read them fine). Likewise your contacts/calendar db file can also be backed up.

    Search on Google as well for other solutions.

  • Andy

    Hi i currently still using blackra1n jailbreak for my iphone firmware 3.1.2 (new bootroot). I want to upgrade to fireware 3.1.3 but my itune dont allow mi to do so. Can advise mi on this problem. I have downloaded 3.1.3 and 3.1.2 ipsw to upgrade but cannot.

  • Ben

    I am try to transfer all my contacts and setting in 3G to my new unlocked 3GS.
    Does "Restore from Backup" remove the unlock?

  • Transpr

    I recommend this iPhone Tool Kits. It is an easy to use utility designed to help you back up all your files on your iPhone, so that you can recover any lost or missing songs, videos, books, photos and so on. It can easily backup and transfer iPhone songs, videos, photos, SMS, call list, contacts and books(you purchased via iBook Store) to computer. And even enable your iPhone as a removable hard disk.

  • Junes

    We should always backup the contacts on iPhone. I found this iPhone contacts transfer software can make a great backup job. Hope it helpful.

  • Francesco

    Hello, i don't have anymore the signal of my provider.

    What happened?

  • David M.

    hello there … i have a problem with my i phone 3g it says is on retore mode but i wont turn on completely after its been updated.. it only says connect to itunes but when i do it keep saying that … it been unclock already .. so i dont know wut to do with it to make it work … any ways to make it work … ?

  • dhari

    hello guys
    i have problem here please i need some help I`m new with the iphone …
    i cant restore my iphone to 4.0.1
    i have the new update 4.1
    so what should i do ?

  • A little confused for your article, sorry.

  • Alex

    I personally use this iPad/iPhone/iPod to Computer Transfer.It helps me to backup all my songs/videos/photos/playlists etc from iPhone to my computer directly and safely.It works well for me.

    Hope it helps.

  • sridhar

    i connected my jailbroken iphone to itunes.accidentally i agreed for software updating..from then my iphone is not working..can any body tell me how to fix this problem..please send reply to

  • Arun

    Hi … i have a problem with my iPhone 3gs it displays USB cable and iTunes .. Please help to make it work…

  • Vishal

    my iphone 3g is nw filled wid more thn 150 apps iwant to update it to its latest version so want to take back up of all my data i.e. contacts , apps , photos, msgs etc. so tht after updating i can restore all my data specially apps, contacts & msgs. So plz tell me how can i do it?
    is d back up option in itunes back ups all these i.e apps, contacts , msgs, photos,?
    plz rply soon..

  • Hanson

    Hi iPhoneHacks Team. My problem is that I have a very old iPhone which has never been synced to my iTunes library. I want to back up and transfer my old iPhone contacts to my new iPad. If I sync with iTunes, I will loose all the music on my iPhone.

    I also checked out some of the apps for iPhone contact transfer, but they all seem to be paid. Is there another free way to extract my old iPhone contacts to my PC and then import them to my new iPad?