No! Wait! COME BACK iPhone voice memos! Come back!
March 2, 2016 2:42 PM   Subscribe

I have years and years of iPhone voice memos of my kids telling stories and singing songs, since they were toddlers. Or, should I say, I had them. Somehow, when I checked today, I had THREE. THREE! Where are the rest of my voice files with my then-two-year-old telling me ghost stories? My then-six-year-old singing original compositions? These files! They are irreplaceable! They are also, in theory, religiously backed up.

Except, I am not sure when they disappeared, and I don't want to restore my phone without knowing if they disappeared before or after my last backup. Two backups ago? Three? WHEN?

I've downloaded several iPhone restoration apps, but they claim my backups are encrypted. I never manually turned on encryption. When I look at iTunes, I see that a.) they are encrypted and b.) I have a password stored in my keychain for them. I use that stored password to turn off encryption, so I know it's good.

Oookaaay. So I go into my keychain and look for anything remotely applicable. I try the short iTunes store password. Nope. I try (what turns out to be) my apple developer's key. I try anything stored in my keychain that mentions "encrypt" or "backup" in the name. Nope. I google: apparently, there are many, many people who never turned on encryption, and yet have magically encrypted iphone backups. They say, try your passcode. I try my passcode. Nope. More google: I try my admin password. Still MORE google: admin password, all lower case. Nope.

Please hope me AskMe! Does anybody know what key in the keychain is used for encrypted iPhone backups? Or have another way to get these voice memos back? Better search terms to make teh Google spit out an answer? I am pretty desperate. (And, I suppose lucky, that I have had more than 5 years of iPhone use without having to ever actually restore a backup. BUT I NEED these files!)
posted by instamatic to Technology (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My partner's voice memos were presumed lost but turned up in her iTunes library. I take it they're not there?
posted by homesickness at 3:07 PM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

After running into this about a week ago, there is no way to recover the password for an encrypted iPhone backups. If you can't remember it or guess it, you're SOL.
posted by humboldt32 at 3:38 PM on March 2, 2016

Voice memos definitely sync to my iTunes Library. Look for a smart playlist called "Voice Memos" or do a search for "voice memos".

If you haven't been syncing and just backing up, I don't have any advice for you, though!
posted by wemayfreeze at 4:00 PM on March 2, 2016

YES! I was looking in the wrong place in iTunes and didn't see them before. I have now copied them out of iTunes into a safe backup. (They are of course in my regular backups as well, but man, I don't want to go through that fear of losing them/not knowing if they were overwritten and if so, when, again!) THANK YOU!
posted by instamatic at 5:13 PM on March 2, 2016 [8 favorites]

Looks like your question was answered but wanted to say that I feel your pain, the same thing happened to me last year when I said yes to a minor OS update, but I found them in iTunes, too!
posted by echo0720 at 6:23 PM on March 2, 2016

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