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How to restore iOS 7 from an iOS 6 iCloud backup


November 25, 2013

Here's how to restore your contacts, apps, and media between iOS 6 and iOS 7

Here's how to restore your contacts, apps, and media between iOS 6 and iOS 7

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Apple's new devices this year all launch with the new iOS 7 mobile operating system. It's definitely a new look, and some of the settings and features that you're used to have changed. If you're moving from an older device running iOS 6, here's how to restore your new iPhone or iPad from an iCloud backup.

For this article I'm restoring an iPad Mini with Retina, from an iPod touch (fourth generation) running iOS 6, but the process is virtually identical on the iPhone.

Backup your iOS 6 device

This is a good time to determine what you really need to bring over to your new device. If you'd rather have a clean start, weed out the apps you rarely use as they can always be download later. Also, do you really need all of those huge media files to come to the new device?

To easily transfer your contacts, email, and apps to your new device, it's usually easiest to back it up to iCloud first. Go to Settings > iCloud > Back Up Now.

If you do have a lot of media and other data, you might want to back up and restore your devices by plugging them into your computer using iTunes, but as long as you're on a Wi-Fi connection, using iCloud is a relatively painless experience.

Restore from iCloud backup

Restoring from an iCloud backup is similar to how it was done in iOS 5 and iOS 6. Remember you'll need to be connected via Wi-Fi to download your apps and media. It's also a good idea to plug your phone or tablet into the charger. Go through the initial setup screens on your iOS 7 device. You'll be prompted to choose your region and language, a Wi-Fi network, and location services. They're straight-forward and easy to work through. But when you get to the follow screen, select the option to restore from iCloud backup.

Then you'll need to sign in with your Apple ID, agree to the EULA, then choose the backup you just created, or one from an earlier time. To be sure you have everything you want it though, it's best to grab the one you just made.

Settings and data are restored quickly, and your device will restart during the process. After a successful restore, you just need to set up a few more things. Sign in with your Apple ID again, create a passcode, enable Siri, and choose to send diagnostic info to Apple.

Then you'll need to wait while the apps you brought with are downloaded from the App Store. For example, in the screenshot below, the bright apps are already installed and the others are waiting to be downloaded.

It's worth noting that the standard built-in apps for iOS such as Calendar, Maps, and Mail will include the data from your iOS 6 device.

If you want to reinstall apps you've previously purchased, open the App Store and select Purchased from the bottom menu. All of the apps you've previously downloaded will be listed. Just tap on the ones you to download to the new device.

That's all there is to it. Now you have all of the apps, contacts, and other files as you did before, but on a new fresh device.

About the Author
Brian Burgess Brian Burgess resides in Minnesota. A technology enthusiast his entire life, he worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. In addition to contributing to Gizmag, he’s the Editor in Chief at and has written for other notable tech sites Byte, InformationWeek, and How-To Geek. Away from the keyboard, you're likely to find him listening to heavy metal, playing guitar, or watching Star Trek. All articles by Brian Burgess

There's a great possibility that some sync to cloud service is used, and the contacts on the cloud are gone. After the restore, the sync happens, then the contacts on iPhone 4 are also gone. So, try to disconnect the network, and then disable all the contact sync apps. When the app is found, reconnect the network.

In addition, there are at least 6 ways to recover iPhone contacts: Using iPhone data recovery software to scan the iPhone or extract contacts from iTunes backup; Copy from old phone's SIM card; Restore with iCloud; Sync with Google contacts... More:


I know of a number of people who own iPhone 4 or 4s phones that would really like to go back to iOS 6. And lots of them don't know much about cellphone or computer operating systems.

I have used Macs for 20 years and my wife and I both have MacBook Airs and love them. She also uses an iPad 2 and an iPod Touch 5th gen. No problem with either of those devices with iOS 7.

Apple touts the fact that it's iOS is largely unfragmented in comparison to Android. But when you look at the various features that do NOT work on older phones/tablets and the slowdowns and problems for people using those older devices with iOS 7 their argument seems flawed. Apple sure isn't doing itself any favors when those folks with iPhone 4/4s are struggling with iOS 7!


That's nice, but what would be really really useful would be an article on how to get rid of ios7 and revert to ios6. Or even how to just kill the large auto-downloaded file that contains ios7 from our ios6 devices. Apple is certainly no help in this regard. I spent an hour on the line with them receiving different versions of the statement "Sorry, we've taken 3 Gig of your storage without your permission by auto-downloading the ios7 update, and you're not getting it back unless you update to ios7". And "didn't you read the terms of service - we can auto-download whatever and whenever we like". Explaining that I have problems with my vision and don't want the low-contrast, all-white screens and super-fine fonts of ios7 didn't help a bit. Their only concern seemed to be forcing their new ios7 down our throats whether we want it or not.


Since both iOS 6 and iOS 7 support iCloud, I'd rather use iCloud backup/restore:

Reason: app data is NOT backed up via iTunes backup.

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