Restore Your Old iPhone Backups

By Dan Hinckley

149 responses. »

If you’ve had trouble with your iPhone or accidently whipped away all the settings that you spent hours setting up then you must have been grateful for Apple’s iPhone backup feature. You may have noticed that every time you sync your iPhone iTunes creates a backup copy and stores it on your Mac for the “Just in Case Something Bad Happens” situations.

Restore an iPhone Backup

While iTunes automatically backs up your iPhone each time it is synced, restoring the backup is just a few clicks away. To restore your iPhone to a backup version:

  1. Open iTunes with your iPhone connected to your Mac
  2. Right Click on your iPhone
  3. iTunesScreenSnapz001.png
  4. Select Restore From Backup
  5. Select your backup from the drop down and click restore
  6. Restore From Backup.png

From here iTunes will restore your contacts, calendars, text messages, and settings.

Restoring old versions of your Backup

Restoring backups of your iPhone takes just a few clicks, but iTunes often only shows your most recent backup as an option to restore from. If you ever want to restore your Older backups then you’ll need the assistance of Time Machine and Time Capsule.

If you’re not already backing up your system, you may want to utilize this incredible thin mini external hard drive. It has enough space to backup significant amounts of data and will work great in backing up your iPhone.

iTunes stores your backup files in a folder at this location: /Users/[username]/Library/Application Support/MobileSynce/Backup. In this folder will be an additional folder or two. These folders contain all the data on your iPhone settings.

If you want to restore your iPhone to a backup you created 3 months ago, navigate to the location listed above, select the folder and open Time Machine. Navigate back 3 months and then click restore.

After Time Machine has finished restoring your Backup Folder, follow the steps listed above to Restore your iPhone Backup.

While Time Machine is a great feature in OS X Leopard and above, I’ve personally had two external hard drives fail while being used for backups. Luckily, I had previously backed up online my data to keep things safe. Online Backup works great for restoring data, like your iPhone Backups and allows you to have extra piece of mind while keeping your data safe. Best of all, with companies like Mozy, online backup is cheap. I’ve used it to restore data and its quick, easy, and the software on the PC and Mac runs in the background without getting in the way. Check it out, back up your data, and be ready for the next time you need to restore your iPhone backups, even if Time Machine isn’t.

About Dan Hinckley
Dan Hinckley is an experienced Mac user who converted to Apple products when they introduced them on Intel Processors. He loves helping others get more out of their devices! Subscribe to to get the latest from Dan and the Maciverse Team!! Find out more about Dan:

149 Responses so far.

  1. Mila

    June 3, 2012 at 12:45 am

    Dan, all my back-ups for my iPhone were made in iTunes and I have never used TimeMachine before.
    I think I found the right back-up in the folder 'Back-up' but how can I put that one back on my iPhone?
    I lost everything when I tried to sync…

    • Mila

      June 3, 2012 at 12:47 am

      What you also need to know is that I can't find the right back-up in the list 'Restore from back-up', it goed back two back-ups but these are the wrong ones..

  2. Shilpa

    July 31, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    I have lost some of the application from my iPhone. I don’t know how but some applications are erased from my iPhone. Could you please help me with that. Is there any other way out to get it restored.
    I have backup in my iItunes will it be helpful to getting my apps back to in iPhone.

    • Queena

      December 10, 2012 at 3:50 am

      Hi, Shilpa, dont worry, your problem can be worked out easily with a software. I once used wondershare Dr.Fone to restore all lost data, such as images, contacts and videos,ect. Just have a try.

  3. Danibunnyfm

    August 22, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Hello there!I need your help!
    After I synced the iphone I lost all my photos from camera roll!
    Can somenone tell me how can I find the old backups?Old back ups like one week ago!
    Any programms for vista?
    I would really appreciate any help cause I lost 1700 photos! thnk you

  4. Dominika

    October 5, 2012 at 4:35 am

    Hello, I would like to know if I can find some older backups? Because in iTunes I can see tree of them, but I need forth one. Is it possible?

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    October 25, 2012 at 4:37 am

    Hey can I use android IOS for my I phone 4, If yes then how can i do that?

  6. AlexandraM

    October 30, 2012 at 7:15 am

    Heya all! I work for Reincubate, on the iPhone Backup Extractor software and we have seen many cases when our users just wanted to get hold of some data inside an old backup, sometimes without restoring from backup (as this will revert everything on the phone to the moment and settings of the time when your backup was taken). We usually point to check first the default backup locations on the PC and then to extract the data and to import it to the phone.
    Windows XP: Documents and SettingsUSERNAMEApplication DataApple ComputerMobileSyncBackup

    Windows 7: UsersUSERNAMEAppDataRoamingApple ComputerMobileSyncBackup

    Windows Vista: UsersUSERNAMEAppDataRoamingApple ComputerMobileSyncBackup

    Mac OS X: /Users/USERNAME/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup

  7. Dave

    November 6, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    you rock….you saved my iphone's life!

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    December 23, 2012 at 1:26 am

    Thank you for some other excellent article. Where else could anybody get that kind of info in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I'm on the search for such information.

  9. Lisa

    January 10, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    This all sounds great. I hope it works but I need some help. When I go to users/username I get no library. When I go through my Mac/ library/ application/application support I get no mobile sync. In short I cannot find that backup folder to restore from time machine. I have searched and come up with nothing. What am I doing wrong? Help please.

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