This guide will show you how to restore an iPhone from iCloud so that you can start using your iPhone after resetting the iPhone or to quickly move your data to a new iPhone from an iCloud backup.
Apple lets users restore an iPhone from iCloud when setting up a new iPhone. You cannot choose to do this unless you first reset an iPhone or restore an iPhone. You can choose from multiple backups and multiple devices so it is easy to go back to the last working version of your iPhone or if you want to restore from an old iPhone to a new iPhone with iCloud.
You don’t need a computer with iTunes to do this, and unlike an iTunes backup this will keep your apps and folders in the right place. This does take some time, because the apps will re-download from the iTunes app store and the phone needs to download your iCloud data to the iPhone.
Before you choose to restore an iPhone from iCloud it is a good idea to make sure you are connected to WiFi and to power. You don’t need to connect to Power, but you may need to be connected to WiFi to download some large apps. This process will drain your battery faster than just using your iPhone.
When you restore the iPhone from iCloud it will re-download your apps and your accounts so you should not need to log into anything other than your iTunes account. In our tests it downloaded Gmail and other apps including a two-factor authentication app and kept our accounts connected and ready to use.
It can easily take over an hour for an iCloud restore to complete, but you can start using the phone after 15 to 20 minutes. During the remaining time you may need to wait for apps to finish downloading.
How to Restore iPhone from iCloud
Here are step-by-step directions to restore an iPhone from iCloud. We are using iOS 8.1.2, but this works on any version of iOS 8.
When the iPhone screen shows hello in multiple languages swipe to start the setup. You will then want to Connect to WiFi if available. On the next screen choose to Enable Location Services if you want apps to use your location for helpful tasks.
On this next screen you will choose to Restore from iCloud Backup. You will now need to enter your Apple ID & password and then choose Agree. Wait a minute or so for the Apple ID to set up.
Now you can choose your backup. If you are restoring the iPhone from an iCloud backup you made on this device find it and tap. If you are restoring an old iPhone to a new iPhone tap on that backup.
Swipe on the second hello screen and then tap on Continue. Enter your Apple ID password again and then choose to set up iMessage & FaceTime. The next screen will ask you to set up Touch ID, create a Passcode and set up Apple Pay. You can skip these if you want. Another screen will ask you about iCloud Keychain. If you use this, you can set up by verifying with another device, which is the easiest method.
After several minutes the iPhone will boot to the home screen but you will see apps that are waiting to be completely installed. The grayed out app icons indicate apps that need downloaded before you can use them. If prompted enter your Apple ID password in an iMessage pop up.
From here you need to wait for the restore to download apps and put them back in same place. You cannot use an app until it is downloaded. If several apps are stuck on gray after an iCloud restore you need to open the App Store, tap on Updates and then Update All. This will take a little time to complete.
You may see a message that some items could not be restored. The iPhone does not list what those items are, but you can sync to your computer and it may restore some of these items to your iPhone.