Restore From iCloud Backup Explained

Restore From iCloud Backup Explained

During the setup process of a new or freshly restored iOS device, select “Restore from iCloud Backup” and enter your account information.

iCloud Backup is a wonderful thing. It helps protect your pictures, videos, text messages, and any other data on your iPhone and iPad by making a carbon copy every 24 hours to Apple’s cloud storage. You can check out our article explaining iCloud Backup if you don’t know what it is or how it works.

While iCloud Backup is great, it’s not so obvious how you actually retrieve your data out of it.  We get a lot of questions about this, so know that you aren’t the only one confused!

Here’s how you can restore your stuff from iCloud:

  1. Make sure your device is in an erased state, meaning that it must be reset to factory default. iCloud Restore must happen from the initial setup of an iOS device or after you’ve erased by going to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings or by restoring your device using iTunes.
  2. During the setup, you’ll get to a screen that asks you if you want to A. Set up as New, B. Restore from iCloud, or C. Restore from iTunes. We want to do an iCloud Restore!
  3. When prompted, type in your Apple ID and password of the account you want to restore from.
  4. Select the time/day of the backup you want to restore.
  5. Wait as your phone installs the backup!

That’s it! iCloud will do the rest. Your device will reboot once during the process, then it will load up your home screen where it will start downloading your apps, photos, videos, and anything else you had on there.

A Couple of Notes

  1. You might have to type in any iTunes or App Store account IDs or passwords that you’ve used to download any apps or media at any point in the backup you’re attempting to restore from.
  2. Also, you might have to update your iOS before you can restore. This is because you CAN’T restore a newer iOS backup onto an older iOS system.
  3. You CAN restore an older iOS backup onto a newer iOS system.
  4. This process is the same for any iOS device, including the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that supports iOS 5 or later according to Wikipedia.
  5. iCloud backup does not restore any passwords, UNLESS you have Two-Factor Authentication enabled.
  6. iCloud backups are not encrypted unless you have Two-Factor Authentication enabled.

iCloud Restore FAQ

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about iCloud Backup that we see in our appointments with our clients.

Can I restore an individual file or photo?

  • You cannot restore individual files like Time Machine. It’s all or nothing. ?
  • [UPDATE: Actually, Apple just released a new feature allowing us to recover individual files! You can read more about this new feature here.]

When can I restore from and iCloud Backup? How to I get my device ready?

  • Your iPhone or iPad has to be in an erased state in order to Restore. You can follow our instructions to learn how to erase your device or put it in recovery mode.

Why does my device say, “You must update the software before restoring from this backup?” I can’t update because I can’t get past this part of the setup!

  • You can’t restore onto older software than the backup was made. This one is tricky: we’ve seen sometimes where someone gets a new iPhone and tries to restore a backup to it and it fails, saying the software was too old. That means the new iPhone had older software from the factory than your old iPhone! You need to put it in recovery mode and do an update first using iTunes or complete the initial setup “As a New Device”, run the update, then Erase All Content & Settings by going to Settings > General > Erase All Content & Settings.

Can I see which photos, videos, or other individual files before I restore?

  • You can’t see individual items before you restore, you can only see the kinds of things stored. For example, you can see, “There are 2GB of photos and videos,” but you can’t actually look at each picture until you do an actual restore. However, you can do a restore to see what’s in the backup, but then start over again if you pulled from the wrong one!

How can I see what iCloud backups I have already and what time they last backed up?

  • To see what’s in your current iCloud Backup, head over to Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage where you can see which devices are being backed up. Click on whichever device is in question and you can see the latest backup time. NOTE: You can only see the content of the backup if you’re on the particular device in question. Otherwise, you can only see the backup time and size. (Kind of a bummer).

Relevant Official Apple Documentation

The cheapest way to get a real MacBook charger straight from Apple

The cheapest way to get a real MacBook charger straight from Apple

Make a Genius Bar appointment and take your broken charger and Apple will give you $20 off a new charger.

You’re here because something happened: your MacBook charger got chewed by your cat, dog, child, or couch. It might even be lost.

You’re also here because you don’t want to pony up $80 for a new MacBook charger, and I totally understand that, it’s a steep price for something that we take for granted.

Here’s how you can make $20 by spending a little time to get a new MacBook charger:

1. Make a Genius Bar appointment

Head over to Apple’s support online tool here — Then click on Mac > Mac Accessories > Other Peripherals > Accidental Damage > Bring In for Repair then sign in with your Apple ID and password.

Quick tip: as of Oct 2016 you can no longer book appointments through the Apple Store app directly, it sends you to the same website as above.

You should then be presented with dates and times you can book a Mac repair. 

Be sure to select the Mac option because only the Mac technicians are authorized to replace MacBook chargers. The iPhone technicians will punt you to the Mac queue and you may end up waiting longer.

2. Bring your defunct charger with you to the appointment AND your Mac’s serial number

Apple has a $20 off a new replacement if you go through the Genius bar if you trade in your old, broken charger. That way you end up with a brand new charger.

Be sure to bring your Mac’s serial number in when you have the visit because they link the replacement to your Mac. If you don’t know how to find your serial number, check out Apple’s guide.

Absolutely NEVER buy a non-Apple MacBook charger because Apple has not licensed the MagSafe connector, the magnetized tip that goes on the end of all of the MacBook Air and Pro chargers Apple has made for a really long time.

One Exception:

The 12″ Retina MacBook charger uses USB Type C for the charger and you can easily find a new cable. It’s safe to get a third party USB-C cable, but not the actual charger brick. Get your new charger brick straight from Apple.

How to resolve Siri sending texts to ‘null’

How to resolve Siri sending texts to ‘null’

1. Check the contact of the person for any linked contacts without phone numbers.

Open up the person’s contact and scroll to the bottom. If there are more than one contact that have similar information, your iPhone will link them together. It seems that after iOS 10 Siri is unable to navigate multiple linked contacts.

2. Add a phone number to the linked contact


2. Remove the linked contact if it’s a duplicate

Following these easy steps should solve your issue where Siri won’t text message people because she can’t find your number.

I hope this helps relieve some of your stress! Let me know if I need to add anything in the comments. ?

iPhone 7: How to listen and charge at the same time

iPhone 7: How to listen and charge at the same time

Buy the right adapter, case, or dongle to convert the lightning port to the traditional headphone/aux jack and allow simultaneous charging. ??

The iPhone 7 removed the headphone jack. I get it, it’s inconvenient. There have been a few times already where I was denied music because I didn’t have the proper equipment to plug into an aux jack or headphones. You’ve probably had a similar situation if you’re reading this article, so you feel my pain.

Here are the best options for you to never get caught in that situation again. And no, you don’t have to drill a hole in the bottom of your iPhone like this crazy guy did ?.

On the Go

Use the included adapter from Apple — $iPhone 7 headphone jack adapter

Apple was kind enough to include a short Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter that converts the Lightning port in the bottom of your iPhone 7 into an aux or headphone slot.

My recommendation would be to purchase one of these adapters for each place you consistently plug into for music. Aka one for the car, one for your speakers at home, and one for your go-to headphones. Switching this bad boy back and forth between spots is how it will get lost.

It is super small, maybe ~2″ long. You can purchase another adapter for only $9 if that happens, so all in all it isn’t a terrible solution.

Purchase an adapter — $$lightning audio charger adapter dongle


Belkin announced their Lightning Audio + Charge adapter recently that splits your Lightning port into two different slots so you can charge in one and use the included dongle at the same time. It’s a little bit of a bummer because you now have to use two different adapters, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. It’s a little steep at $40, but desperate times call for dongles.

Purchase a DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) — $$$

iPhone 7 digital analog audio converter

The Verge covered the A-2SE, which is a high-end audio converter plus a battery for your iPhone 7. At $299, it’s not easy on the wallet but it will sound amazing and includes a 3000mAh battery which will recharge your iPhone while also converting your audio.

Listen to Bluetooth wireless headphones — $$$

Because wireless headphones don’t suck anymore, there are plenty of good models to choose from.

My recommendation would be to purchase a pair with Apple’s new high-powered, battery efficient W1 chip. It pairs your headphones instantly with your device when you need them and can dynamically switch between your iPhone, iPad, or Mac depending on which one you’re playing audio from at that moment.

Here’s a list of Bluetooth wireless headphones that include the awesome W1 chip along with my general summary of each.

There are other great Bluetooth headphones, but if you’re bought into the Apple ecosystem, I wouldn’t buy any that don’t have the magical W1 chip.

In the Car

Use the Bluetooth or USB connection your car has now — FREE

If this is your situation, consider yourself lucky. You can listen to audio and charge your iPhone at the same time without having to purchase anything. Yay!

Purchase an adapter if you already have an aux jack in your car — $

Lightning to Aux splitter car adapter

This converter from IlDock will split your single Lightning jack into a charging port and 3.5″ audio port for the aux in your car. Problem solved! Plus it gets the job done for an affordable price, as of 11/28/16 the IlDock is on sale for $10. Great for those who have a traditional aux jack already hooked up and don’t want to have to buy a new car audio system.

Get it directly from IlDock.

Get a CarPlay head unit for your car — ~$$$

CarPlay audio car head unit

Finally, for almost $400, this may seem like overkill, but CarPlay is a very compelling car audio unit for lots of reasons besides simply audio.

What this would give you is one USB cable that would charge and transmit the CarPlay interface plus audio to your stereo system.

Kenwood makes a good head unit and you can purchase one on Amazon.


The iPhone 7 puts out audio in many different ways, I hope you find the one that works for you from my advice! Happy listening ?

If I’m leaving any other good ideas or products out, please let me know in the comments and I’ll add them and give you credit!

Questions Answered

  • How do I play music from my iPhone 7?
  • How do I charge and listen to music at once on my iPhone 7?
  • How do I plug my iPhone into an aux cable?
iPhone message effects not working in iOS 10? Solved!

iPhone message effects not working in iOS 10? Solved!

Are your iPhone message effects not working? I’m so sorry! No worries, I’ve got the quick fix here. ?

iOS 10 brought along some hilarious and fun new message effects like fireworks, confetti, and stickers, but there are a couple of possible reasons you could be missing out on the fun. ?? Here are the steps to get you back to the party.


1. Update your iPhone to iOS 10settings software update

  1. Head over to Settings > General > Software Update and check for update
  2. If iOS 10 is available, press Download and Install or Install. Your iPhone will download the update, which could take a while depending on how fast your internet speed is, then it will ake 15-30 minutes to complete the update.

The new iMessage effects are only available for iPhones on iOS 10 or newer. If you have iOS 7, 8, or 9 you will not be able to partake in the new iMessage goodness.

A couple of possible snags when updating:

  • If it says you are up-to-date but you are still on iOS 9 or earlier, it means that your device does not support iOS 10 and never will ?
  • If you are able to get iOS 10 but your iPhone is full, you’ll need to free up some storage before you run it. Go to Settings > General > Storage and iCloud Usage > Manage Storage (under top section) and you can see a list of items on your iPhone that are taking up the most space from greatest to least. This will help you decide what to remove from your iPhone to update it.
  • If you need more help, here’s the best article I’ve found about freeing up space on your iPhone.

2. Disable “Reduce Motion” in Accessibility

iPhone message effects broken

Navigate to Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion and make sure the switch is turned off (grey, not green)

The new iMessage effects only work if you have the “Reduce Motion” option disabled in your iPhone. Many people have reduced the motion of their iPhone out of the false belief that it boosts speed and battery life. Apple has optimized iOS to handle these transitions just fine. This is probably the reason your iPhone message effects are not working!

[Plan C] Delete the iMessage conversation that isn’t showing effects

If steps 1 and 2 don’t resolve your issue, go to your list of conversations in iMessage and slide left on the conversation you want to delete, then tap the red delete button. You will lose your entire texting history with them, just FYI.

[Last Resort] ? Reset All Settings ?

If you are truly desperate and nothing has worked so far, resetting all settings will most likely resolve your issue.

Head over to Settings > General > Reset > and press Reset All Settings

Reset All Settings is the step you take before completely erasing your iPhone. You will not lose photos, email accounts, calendar accounts, contacts accounts, text messages, apps, or app data, but you will lose the following:

  • Saved Wi-Fi Networks
  • Wallpaper settings
  • Anything in Settings, basically

[Rock Bottom] ? Erase and set up as new ?

This is the nuclear option. Only use it if you are in dire straights. You will lose everything and completely erase your iPhone. You’ve been warned.

Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings

Again, this will completely erase your iPhone and start you over, so please only do it if necessary!


I hope this article helped you out. ? If it did, share it on social media or comment below to let me know!

Oh, and if you have another fix, please let me know in the comments. If you want more articles like this, sign up for your newsletter!

Questions answered in this article:

Why can’t I see iMessage effects in iOS 10?
Why does my iPhone say “sent with fireworks”?
Why does my iPhone say “sent with balloons”?
Why does my iPhone say “sent with confetti”?
Why does my iPhone say “sent with lasers”?
Why does my iPhone say “sent with slam”?
Why does my iPhone say “sent with loud”?
Why does my iPhone say “sent with gentle”?
Why does my iPhone say “sent with invisible ink”?
What are these balloons in my iPhone messages?
How do I get lasers to show in iOS 10?