How to recover data from iCloud

By , Nov 2, 2016

iCloud

From time to time, you may inadvertently lose data from your iOS devices, Macs, and even your iCloud account. Fortunately, Apple offers you a way to restore previously lost data from iCloud and the feature is streamlined and easy to use.

Restoring lost files from iCloud

Apple’s iCloud data restore works for all kinds of things you would normally store in the cloud that have been deleted. Among the things that you can restore are bookmarks from Safari, Calendars, Contacts, Files, and Reminders.

You have 30 days after deleting something to restore it via iCloud, so if you notice something is gone, and it shouldn’t be, then it’s a good idea to get on top of this instead of procrastinating.

When you restore something, it will replace everything that’s currently on all devices tied to your iCloud account. This means what you change isn’t going to only affect one of your devices, but it will sync to all of them. This might be something you want to keep in mind if you have one device set up differently from the rest.

Most of the time however, users are going to have their content and settings uniform throughout their devices, so this shouldn’t be a problem. That said, we’ll show you how to restore everything from your iCloud account below.

How to recover lost iCloud files

Files just might be one of the most important things you can restore from iCloud. This is particularly important for those who use iCloud Drive and may have deleted a file from it from one of their devices by accident.

Fortunately for you, Apple keeps an archive of your files for a period of time so you can easily restore them. Here’s how you can do that:

1) Open iCloud.com in your favorite web browser and log in with your Apple ID:

iCloud Log In

2) Once in, click on the Settings icon to open your iCloud settings:

iCloud Settings

3) When you get into your iCloud settings pane, scroll down and click on the blue Restore Files link.

iCloud Restore Files

4) When iCloud shows you a list of recently-deleted files, put a check mark in the boxes to the left of each one you want to bring back and click on the Restore File(s) button at the bottom right of the panel:

iCloud Restore File

5) iCloud will now prompt you to make sure you’re sure you want to restore your files. Click on the blue Restore button in the prompt.

iCloud will now return all your deleted files back to your account. It may take a few moments for them to sync to all your devices. An active internet connection is required on all of your devices for them to sync with iCloud.

How to restore lost contacts

The process to restore lost contacts via iCloud is similar. Follow these steps:

1) Open iCloud.com in your favorite web browser and log in with your Apple ID:

iCloud Log In

2) Open the Settings app from your iCloud Home screen:

iCloud Settings

3) When the Settings pane loads, scroll down and click on the blue Restore Contacts link.

iCloud Restore Contacts

4) When you see the archive of contacts backups, select the one you want to restore to and click on the blue Restore button to the right of it:

Restore iCloud Contacts

5) When prompted if you’re sure you want to proceed, click on the blue Restore button in the prompt to confirm.

Restore Contacts iCloud Confirm

Now iCloud will sync all your devices with the restored contacts archive that you chose. Be patient until this finishes.

How to restore calendars and reminders

If you’re missing calendar events or reminders on any of your iCloud devices, you can follow these steps to restore those:

1) Open iCloud.com in your favorite web browser and log in with your Apple ID:

iCloud Log In

2) Launch the Settings app from the iCloud.com Home screen:

iCloud Settings

3) When the Settings pane finishes loading, click on the Restore Calendars and Reminders link at the bottom of the page:

iCloud Restore Calendars and Reminders

4) Now, select the Calendars and Reminders archive you want to restore, and then click on the blue Restore button to the right of the selected archive:

Calendars and Reminders iCloud Restore

5) When prompted if you’re sure you want to proceed, click on the blue Restore button at the bottom right of the prompt:

Restore Calendars and Reminders Prompt

Give the restore process a few minutes to complete. Soon, all of your iCloud devices that have an internet connection will have the archived Calendars and Reminders that you chose synced to them.

How to restore bookmarks

If you’re after bringing back your missing Safari bookmarks to your iOS device(s) and Mac(s) via an iCloud archive, then you will want to follow these steps:

1) Open iCloud.com in your favorite web browser and log in with your Apple ID:

iCloud Log In

2) Click on the Settings app from the iCloud.com Home screen to launch your iCloud settings:

iCloud Settings

3) Scroll all the way down and click on the blue Restore Bookmarks link at the bottom of the page:

iCloud Restore Bookmarks

4) When provided with an archive of recently-deleted Safari Bookmarks, choose the one you want to restore to your devices and click on the blue Restore button to the right of it.

Bookmarks iCloud Restore Button

5) You will be prompted to confirm your action, so just click on the blue Restore button at the bottom right of the prompt to proceed:

iCloud Restore Bookmarks Prompt

After the step above, you will need to wait a few minutes for the changes to take effect across all of your devices.

iCloud isn’t syncing the restored data to all my devices

If you’re having trouble getting iCloud to sync all your freshly-restored data to your iOS devices and Macs, keep in mind that Apple says this process can take as much as 6 hours to complete. If it’s taking a long time, look into the following scenarios:

Do you have a lot of devices?

The more devices you have, the more devices iCloud has to push data to. Although it should be fast for 2-3 devices, any more than that could take substantially more time because of bandwidth issues. In these instances, sync times may take longer than expected.

Are all of your devices on and connected to the internet?

If you have any of your devices powered off or disconnected from the internet at the time you’re restoring data from iCloud, it will be unable to sync to these devices. You need to make sure they’re powered on and connected to an internet source so iCloud can push the data to them.

Are all of your devices using the same iCloud account?

If any of your devices are using a different iCloud account than you initiated the restore on, then the data from the iCloud restore you’re perusing won’t be synced to those devices. You need to be using the same iCloud account on all of your devices for your iCloud restore to be effective for all of them.

Contact Apple

If all else fails, give Apple a call. We’re sure they’ll be able to help straighten out your dilemma and help you get your device’s data up and running again!

Conclusion

The iCloud data restoring feature is a valuable tool for getting back important information that would otherwise be lost forever. This is a pretty good reason why you should back up your device regularly and use iCloud for all of the different kinds of data you want synced to all your devices.

Also read:

Will you use the iCloud data restore feature the next time data goes missing on any of your Apple devices? Share in the comments!

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  • mahe

    What did Apple think?
    Why is there no option to restore single items? (beside of files)
    This doesn’t make sense at all -.-