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I'm having problems restoring an iCloud backup.

I updated my iPhone 6S yesterday from iOS 9.3.5 to iOS 10 by doing a restore so I can do a clean install. I do this for every major iOS version update and I've never had any issues before.

My problem is that during the setup process after updating to iOS 10, I select to restore the phone with an iCloud backup, but the restore process fails every time with a "Cannot restore backup" error.

I've read everything I could find in Apple Support regarding iCloud restore and iOS 10 upgrading and no article mentions this issue.

Is this a bug with iCloud? Is there any other way I can restore my apps to my iPhone from that backup?

EDIT:

Talked to Apple Support, one of the solutions they gave me was to put the device in recovery mode, then restore again to iOS 10 and then attempt to restore de backup. Didn't work for me but maybe it helps someone.

EDIT 2:

I just spoke with Apple Support again and they told me that the backups are safe and not corrupt. They also told me that a lot of users are starting to have this problem and they don't have a solution yet.

  • It's not clear from your question, you did a 'fresh install' via 'restore with IPSW' so that you could then 'restore from my last iCloud backup'. What exactly are you trying to and why are you restoring and what are you restoring from? – fsb Sep 14 '16 at 18:11
  • My phone had iOS 9.3.5. I wanted to update to iOS 10 with a clean install, I do this with every major iOS release and I've never had any problems. Then, after I update my phone to iOS I just restore from an iCloud backup to get all my data back. That's all. – gtfunes Sep 14 '16 at 18:16
  • Ok, now it's clear. You should update your question with that info to make it easier to understand. – fsb Sep 14 '16 at 18:27
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If the backup is corrupt, you'll be out of luck.
If it's just that Apple's servers are swamped right now, after the iOS 10 launch, then you may have better luck tomorrow or the day after.

It seems time to trot out the old adage...

"Any data not stored in at least three distinct locations ought to be considered temporary."

Even though you got away with it 9 times out of 10, there's always a 10th time.
Somebody gets bricked with every update; make sure it's never going to be you.
Backups are those useless things that take up valuable storage space & are totally pointless...
...until the day you need them.

You really should also have had a local iTunes backup, encrypted to preserve passwords etc, & that backed up to Time machine.
Optional off-site copy too - Backblaze etc - in case the building burns down.

The smartest way to do any update.

  1. Launch iTunes, plug in device.
    When asked if you want to update click Download Only.

  2. Whilst that's busy, switch to the Apps view in iTunes - download all available updates.

  3. When complete, switch to your device view & Sync.

  4. Back Up Now [with encryption, which preserves your passwords]

You now have fully up to date retrievable restore point, should anything go wrong.

  1. Once the iOS download is completed, then you can Update.
  • I just spoke with Apple Support again and they told me that the backups are safe and not corrupt. They also told me that a lot of users are starting to have this problem and they don't have a solution yet. – gtfunes Sep 14 '16 at 21:26
  • Seems your solution was actually similar to my answer; just a lot scarier ;) – Tetsujin Sep 15 '16 at 6:53
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Ok so here's what I did to solve my problem.

After calling Apple Support, they told me that the backups are fine as I said in my edit. The thing is, they don't know when they are going to fix this issue and my phone was unusable so I had to find a way to restore it.

What I did was first downgrade to the latest version of iOS 9 (9.3.5) which was the version I last backed up with. As iOS 10 was just released, Apple is still allowing iOS 9 restores, but this wont last forever. I did this by downloading the IPSW of that iOS version and then restoring it into my iPhone with iTunes, then the iCloud restore completed successfully. After that I backed up my phone using iTunes, because this problem only happens in iOS 10 when you are restoring from an iCloud backup and not a local one. Then I just updated my phone again to iOS 10 and did a restore using my local backup and everything worked great.

This may not be the easiest solution for everyone, but it's a good workaround for the currently buggy iOS 10 iCloud restore.

  • As an iOS developer I can confirm that iOS 10 introduced some serious bugs with iCloud. For example, my app uses Apple's own CloudKit framework to store data in iCloud. On iOS 10, all those features stopped working for no reason and the error messages being given make no sense whatsoever (CKInternalError 1/5001). Seems that some bugs got past the beta test phase. This is why I always wait until at least the .1 update (like iOS 9.1 OR 10.1) or even the .2 before I update. Otherwise you are just a guinea pig! – CommaToast Sep 20 '16 at 4:38

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