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I forgot my password for iPhone backup. How can I recover the password so I can turn off the backups?

  • Do you want to recover the data or just turn off encrypted backups for the future? – grg Feb 27 '15 at 22:09
  • I want to turn it off. I have backups throughout the encrypted backup time with PKGBackup. – aidenh37 Feb 27 '15 at 22:12
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If you have a password encrypted backup you can't restore it without the password. If you could it would be no use of encrypting the backup.

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Recently I published a tutorial like guideline to recover the iTunes backup password on windows. That password is safeguarded by the iPhone. So iTunes gets the encryption setting info from the phone, not from windows. There are many brute force tools out there. They did not work for me given the length of my passwords in general.
The guideline worked for me. Looking at the recovered PW, I am convinced that I did set that password myself and it was not some kind of auto-set by IOS, as some suggest in this 30 page long post Lost Password to iPhone Backup

Roughly the recovery is possible by the taking the following steps (tried on IOS 9.02). But there are many detailed steps to take or the recovery will fail and you will loose your current content on the phone.

As soon as jailbreaking is possible with an enabled PC-backup encryption option, many detailed steps of the lengthy procedure are not needed any more. But the safeguarding of your PC backup is still applicable as is the keychain dumper part.

  • Set your iPhone & iTunes so backups include passwords: set IOS/iCloud pass codes (passwords) and set never auto-lock
  • Backup your iPhone on both iCloud and on your PC. Save your PC backup files manually. iCloud backup will be used for the recovery, PC backup to restore the iPhone to 'as it was'
  • Clean install IOS and jailbreak your iPhone, otherwise you cannot execute next steps
  • Restore your original iPhone content from iCloud, but prepare it through Cydia. The iPhone will remain jailbreaked. An unprepared restore through IOS reset cannot be used.
  • Install SSH, terminal and keychain dumper on the iPhone
  • Your phone is now open for hackers, protect it: change the passwords for the existing root and user (user=mobile) accounts
  • Run keychain dumper on the phone through PC terminal and copy the decoded keychain in clear text to your PC
  • Restore the phone if wished: DFU mode and restore from PC through iTunes using the manually saved PC backup copy

The detailed steps are at https://www.reddit.com/r/jailbreak/comments/3pdg34/tutorial_how_to_recover_a_lost_itunes_backup/

  • Welcome to Ask Different. Could you edit in the substance of your "solution" here. Stack Overflow exists to document actual solutions and not be a link saver. Linking to the original content is awesome, but please consider adding that knowledge here for the record. – bmike Oct 21 '15 at 21:21
  • Think there are many examples on stack exchange where references to tools are given. I am happy to add more detail and give the reference. Why is the word solution in quotes? – Dick99999 Oct 22 '15 at 6:39
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    Thanks for the edit. It's okay to include a link/reference to give credit where credit is due. Nevertheless the idea is to make the answer stand alone. – nohillside Oct 22 '15 at 7:10
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If you're using a Mac, it may be saved in Keychain.

Per Apple's support article:

  1. Open iTunes Preferences and select the Devices tab. Note the time of the device’s backup.
  2. Right-click the desired backup and choose "Show in Finder".
  3. Finder should now be open, showing the backup selected. Click the Edit menu and choose Copy.
  4. Open Keychain Access from /Applications/Utilities/.
  5. Paste the backup folder's name into the search box in the top-right corner of Keychain Access.
  6. If there is a password for the backup, you should see it in Keychain Access.
  7. Double-click the backup in Keychain Access.
  8. Click the button “Show password”.
  9. You may be asked to enter your login keychain password. After doing so, click Allow. You should see your backup password.
  10. Use this password to restore from your backup.

If it's not in Keychain, and you are the administrator of the device (meaning it was set up for by your workplace or other administrator) the support article indicates the password is not recoverable.

  • I'm not on any school or work network, and don't have a mac. – aidenh37 Feb 27 '15 at 22:50
  • In that case you'd need to erase the device and set it up as new. (Restoring from a backup made during the encrypted timeframe would likely cause the option to remain enabled.) Directions for that are here. – tubedogg Feb 27 '15 at 22:53

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