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I need help restoring an iPhone backup.
April 10, 2012 7:01 PM   Subscribe

I need help restoring an old iPhone backup to a new phone.

Today a friend took her iPhone 3GS in to get the battery replaced, and ended up walking out with a completely new phone. I wanted to help her restore the settings/data from the old phone but it's proving to be a challenge.

Before she went to the Apple Store, she did a full backup of the old phone. When I first plugged in the new phone, iTunes indicated that the iOS version of the phone didn't match the backup, so I had to first setup the phone as a new device, and then I could restore from backup.

Setting the phone up as a new device worked fine, but now when I right-click on it and try to restore the old backup, all I see is a backup made just minutes ago. What did I do wrong? Should I not have named the new phone the same as the old phone?

I found the old backup in C:\Users\Amanda\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup and it even shows up in iTunes under Edit|Preferences|Devices. There are two "Amanda's iPhone" backups listed there. What do I need to do to restore to the earlier backup and not the later one? "Restore" the device to a factory state and then restore the first backup? Rename one of the folders in MobileSync\Backup? I don't want to screw this up more than I already have!
posted by Pruitt-Igoe to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I should mention that the new phone is the same model as the old one (3GS, 16 GB), and they put in her old SIM card.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 7:05 PM on April 10, 2012


I think I'm remembering this correctly - it's been a while since I had to do this - but right-click/command click on the phone when it shows up in iTunes, and you should see an option to restore from a specific backup, which you will browse to.

Someone will no doubt be along shortly to correct me or back me up. So to speak.
posted by rtha at 7:13 PM on April 10, 2012


Before you plug in again copy the entire MobileSync directory to your desktop to prevent overwriting the good backup by mistake. Then do what rtha says. The copy of MobileSync directory will let you try again if you have problems by copying the MobileSync folder back into place (when iTunes is closed). You mistake was just not selecting the proper backup from the drop down menu. You can delete the incorrect new backup from within the iTunes preferences window, in the devices tab.

Alternatively you can delete the phone from Settings --> General --> Erase All Content and Settings and then choosing to restore from a backup, at which point you'll be prompted to plug in to iTunes and choose the proper backup.
posted by ridogi at 7:21 PM on April 10, 2012


I think I'm remembering this correctly - it's been a while since I had to do this - but right-click/command click on the phone when it shows up in iTunes, and you should see an option to restore from a specific backup, which you will browse to.

I have the option to restore from a specific backup, but it only shows the one (most recent) backup in the drop-down list. Also it doesn't look like there's a way to browse/choose a file or folder.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 7:28 PM on April 10, 2012


Before you plug in again copy the entire MobileSync directory to your desktop to prevent overwriting the good backup by mistake.

I'll do this.

Then do what rtha says. [...] You mistake was just not selecting the proper backup from the drop down menu. You can delete the incorrect new backup from within the iTunes preferences window, in the devices tab.

Unfortunately I can't select the new backup in that list. There's only one to choose from (Last Backed Up: Today 7:21 PM). I can only see the previous backup in Edit|Preferences|Devices (Today 7:21 PM and Yesterday 10:46 PM), and in folders in MobileSync\Backup (with the corresponding times, and long hex names).

Alternatively you can delete the phone from Settings --> General --> Erase All Content and Settings and then choosing to restore from a backup, at which point you'll be prompted to plug in to iTunes and choose the proper backup.

Trying this now.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 7:34 PM on April 10, 2012


I erased all content, and now I can pick the old backup! But again it says the iOS version on the phone is too old. It looks like I was supposed to update it after I set it up as a new device earlier.

Restoring from the new (wrong) backup now, and then I'll update iOS...
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 7:41 PM on April 10, 2012


Yes, after you update the OS on the wrong backup you can select erase all content again from on the phone, and then when you restore hopefully you can select the proper older backup (as it will restart blank, but with OS 5.1). Once all this is done be sure to put a backup plan in place such as crashplan.com A mistaken backup and sync of a screwed up phone will overwrite your good backup, so crashplan lets you roll back the MobileSync to your last good sync.
posted by ridogi at 7:57 PM on April 10, 2012


After I upgraded iOS, the old (correct) backup showed up. I restored to it, and all is well now.

Thanks, everyone!
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 9:14 PM on April 10, 2012


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