Did you back up your iPhone in your spare time? What about restoring it? It is likely that backups are made when you have time to spare. In the case of restoring a backup, it is usually done when time is critical, such as when getting back a repaired or replaced iPhone via a service center.
Hence, it is natural to feel a bit impatient wondering how long it takes to restore the iPhone. Regardless of whether you backed up the iPhone using iCloud or using a Mac/PC, this article will help you know how long it will take to restore using iTunes or iCloud.
What you will need
- A backup of the iPhone’s data – Irrespective of whether this backup exists in iCloud or in your Mac/PC, it should be intact and shouldn’t have become corrupted.
- A broadband internet connection (for cloud backups) – iPhone models have variants that have storage capacities exceeding 100 GBs. Depending on the amount of data you have, a high-speed, unmetered internet connection is highly recommended for the restoration process.
- An Apple ID (for cloud backups) – You will need to be able to sign in to your Apple account in order to access the backups. Although iCloud backups are encrypted, you don’t have to worry about the encryption technology involved, only the credentials for your Apple ID are needed.
- A USB cable (for local backups) – The USB cable needs to be compatible with both, the port available on your Mac/PC and the one on your iPhone. It is best to connect the iPhone with a cable that has native connectors at both ends instead of using an adapter.
Restore iPhone from iCloud Backup
If the new iPhone that you now have has been already set up, you will first need to delete all of the existing data on your iPhone. Only after that, you can restore data from the cloud. This might take quite a few minutes.
Once you reset your iPhone to factory settings, turn it on to get the Hello screen. Keep following the on-screen instructions till the Apps & Data screen. Now, tap on Restore from iCloud Backup. You will be asked to sign in to iCloud.
In case you have more than one backup of your iPhone, now you will have to choose which one you want to restore. Helpful hints include the date and size of the concerned backup. This will take a few more minutes.
Sometimes it might happen that the software itself needs to be updated. If asked to do so, please follow the onscreen instructions. If not, this is where the actual transfer begins.
Any purchases (including paid apps, songs on iTunes, etc.) which you might have purchased would also be included in the backup, so you will need to verify the Apple ID credentials of each Apple account that might have been used to make the purchase.
Make sure that the Wi-Fi connection remains stable. A progress bar will appear, signaling the beginning of the restoration. Now it can take several minutes if you have a lot of data in the backup. Let the restoration proceed at its own pace.
After the progress is complete, there might still be some more data (such as photos, songs, etc.) that will keep being restored in the background. This can take many hours or even days, it can seem like it is taking forever. However, the more your iPhone is connected to a Wi-Fi network and is being charged, the faster this process will complete.
In many cases, you will find that the time to restore an iPhone was less than uploading it at the time when the backup was actually taken. This has nothing to do with your iPhone specifically. It is because many consumer-grade internet connections offer faster downloading speeds (which are used for restoring data from iCloud) compared to uploading speeds (which are used for backing up).
The whole iPhone restore process usually takes about a couple of hours if you have a lot of data backed up. Your bandwidth also comes into the picture here. If you have, say, a 100 Mbps internet connection, the amount of time it would take to restore an iPhone using iCloud would be more than an hour on average.
Restore an iPhone from iTunes
If you are using macOS Catalina or later, you need to use Finder. In all other cases (including using a PC), you need to restore via iTunes. When you connect your iPhone to the computer using a USB cable, it might ask you for authorization.
Once this is done, the iPhone will appear as a connected device. Now you can click on Restore Backup. In the list that follows, you can get a hint of which backup matters the most to you by looking at the dates. This should take just a couple of minutes.
After confirming the selection, click Restore to begin the process. Local backups are not always encrypted, but if they are, you will be asked for the password. Do not disconnect the iPhone till it completes a sync after restarting.
On average, restoring an iPhone from iTunes backup shouldn’t take more than half an hour. If you have a lot of data, this method should take less than an hour to restore your iPhone device.
Although network speed won’t act as a bottleneck, in this case, a large backup size can still take you a long time. However, if there is an excessively long time remaining, there is probably a problem with the backup being restored in your iPhone.
It can take anywhere from 15 minutes in case of a small local backup file using iTunes or Finder to well beyond a couple of hours in case of a large iCloud backup to restore your iPhone.
The size of the backup and (in the case of cloud backups) the bandwidth offered by your internet service provider are the two main factors in deciding how long it takes to restore. The smaller the backup size and the faster your internet connection, the quicker the restore will be, and vice-versa.
Let us know what questions you have!