How to use iCloud for continuity when restoring from an iOS backup

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When migrating from one iOS device to another, iCloud provides continuity. If you’ve already set up a target device and logged into iCloud with the same Apple ID as on the device from which you’re migrating, you don’t lose anything synced with iCloud in the process.

The only thing to watch out for is information you’ve created uniquely on the target device that isn’t stored in the cloud, but you believe is stored on the device itself. Depending on the app, you need to make sure to back that data up.

That can include photos if you’re not using iCloud Photos (formerly iCloud Photo Library), which automatically syncs all your media through iCloud and across iOS devices and Macs logged into the same account. With that feature off, a target device on which you’ve captured or stored any images or videos that you haven’t imported into Photos (or iPhoto) will have all this new media deleted when you restore from another device.

To look at it as a step-by-step process:

  1. On a source iOS device, make sure it’s up to date with iCloud and perform a manual iCloud backup (Settings > account name > iCloud > iCloud Backup, and tap Back Up Now).
  2. On the destination device, check through apps you use and ensure any data associated with them that’s not synced via an account with the app maker or iCloud is backed up. Connect it via USB to a Mac to use iPhoto, Photos, or Image Capture to download unique images or videos.
  3. When the backup is complete on the source device, use Apple’s instructions to restore from an iCloud backup.

Apple notes you can use Settings > account name > iCloud > Manage Storage and tap the source device to see when the last backup occurred.

After the restore operation is complete, iCloud will download all the items you used it to sync. For any apps you installed uniquely on the target device, you may need to download them separately and log into accounts if they don’t rely on iCloud for data storage.

This Mac 911 article is in response to a question submitted by Macworld reader Antonio.

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