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As mentioned is a previous question, I made a backup of my old AT&T iPhone 3GS, then exchanged it for a new iPhone 4S at Sprint.

They transfered over my contacts. However, there's a lot of other stuff in that backup that I'd like to have on the phone. All my applications and their various configurations. For example, my GPS app has two years worth of saved locations.

On top of that, it looks like not all my contacts got transfered over for some reason.

So my question is, can I restore the AT&T 3GS backup onto my Sprint 4S phone without messing up it's Sprint-specific configuration? Will doing so cause the phone to think it's connected to AT&T?

Also, how exactly do you restore a backup onto an iPhone?

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Not only is this easy, but it's encouraged. See the other answers. – Kalamane Nov 15 '11 at 21:42
up vote 5 down vote accepted

To restore from backup

  • connect the iPhone to your computer
  • wait for it to appear in iTunes
  • right-click on the iPhone listed under Devices and select "Restore from backup..."
  • select the backup you want to restore (there may be several)

Restoring will only touch user-specific content and configurations.

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You can restore pretty much any iPhone backup onto any other iOS hardware.

Should you have made some settings changes for hardware that is no longer there, those will sit there unchanged and hidden until you restore that backup back onto a device that can use that setting.

You also don't have to worry about being hobbled - the software was designed to let you use all the new features even if you bring an older backup. The device will give you the new default settings for items that are absent in the old device.

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This is not true in the case of trying to Restore a Backup from a newer iOS version onto an older version device. – Syclone0044 Nov 16 '11 at 5:42
Very good point by @Syclone0044 - you can't go back with a restore. It generally has to be to the same or newer level of software to guarantee success. I do think for a while when 4.3 was on AT&T and 4.2 was on VZW you could transfer to a "lower" build but that was a limited special case. – bmike Nov 16 '11 at 5:46

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