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I want to disable further iCloud backups from one of my devices, but I don't want to delete the existing backup files already in iCloud. I couldn't find any way to archive iCloud backups the way you can do with iTunes backups, so the only way to prevent an existing backup from being deleted seems to be to not make a new one.

Some context [Taken from comments]

I recently updated to iOS 10, but don't much care for it. I do have a full iTunes backup of the device, but it's rather old. I also have an iCloud backup from immediately before the upgrade (I wasn't thinking straight). I plan to make an iOS 10 iTunes backup, then restore the iOS 9 iTunes backup, restore the iCloud backup to get my up-to-date data, then make a new iOS 9 backup. Then I'm in a better position to play around with iOS 10 if I decide to. I don't have time to do that right now, though, and I don't want my iOS 9 iCloud data to be overwritten in the meantime, since you can't restore iCloud backup data onto an older OS version.

My device is currently running iOS 10.2.1. Is what I want to do actually possible?

  • Ok, so it turns out that automatic iCloud backups require being connected to a WiFi network, so as a stop-gap I can just turn off the WiFi on my device and use only cellular data until I get this figured out. But I'd still love an authoritative answer ("Try it an see what happens" is usually great fun; less so when the answer might be, "your backups are deleted"). – philomory Mar 10 '17 at 23:39
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    This is a good question and hopefully we get a definitive answer, but do you mind me asking why you wouldn't do a full iTunes backup first and then disable iCloud backups. That way, you can Try it and see what happens in a totally safe manner. You may even be able to answer the question for all of us then by reporting back the results. – Monomeeth Mar 13 '17 at 21:20
  • @Monomeeth It's a rather absurd situation. Basically, I recently updated to iOS 10, but don't much care for it. I do have a full iTunes backup of the device, but it's rather old. I also have an iCloud backup from immediately before the upgrade (I wasn't thinking straight). I plan to make an iOS 10 iTunes backup, then restore the iOS 9 iTunes backup, restore the iCloud backup to get my up-to-date data, then make a new iOS 9 backup. Then I'm in a better position to play around with iOS 10 if I decide to. I don't have time to do that right now, thoguh, and I don't want my iOS 9 icloud data (cont) – philomory Mar 13 '17 at 21:25
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    Thanks for the extra context philomory. Now that you've shed some light on what you're really trying to achieve, I'm sorry to say there's no way to re-install iOS 9 on your device. Short answer: When a user installs a different version of iOS on their device, the process involves Apple signing the installation. And, as for iOS 9, Apple stopped signing that version in October 2016. Long answer: see this answer. – Monomeeth Mar 13 '17 at 21:52
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    If you do a full iTunes backup, it's not creating a disk image. Instead, it's a backup of your data, such as text/imessages, notes app data, map locations, call history, favourite contacts, settings, third party app data, and so on. If you've enabled the encrypt backup option in iTunes, then additional info will also be backed up (such as Wi-Fi settings, saved passwords, health data, etc). So, even if your backup was made while you had an earlier version of iOS installed, this data can still be restored onto your device. What is not backed up and restored is the actual iOS installation. – Monomeeth Mar 13 '17 at 22:16
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If you turn off iCloud Backup on your iPhone, the iCloud Backup isn't deleted from your account immediately.

The Backup does get "abandoned" some time after it stops receiving updates, I think it's like 6 months... but you should call up a AppleCare rep to confirm what time frame it is, I never found out how long, just that it is months afterward the backups stop from that device

  • Source: Roommate stopped using their iPad mini a bit over a year ago and left it turned off. Got a new iPad (bigger screen!!!) recently and went to restore from iCloud, to find that the backup was no longer there. We called up and was told the backup was abandoned to reclaim the space on the account several months after the iPad Mini was boxed. Luckily we just backed the original iPad Mini again and then restored it to the new one, and I can see the logic in this system too – FreelancerJ Mar 14 '17 at 12:17
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+50

Short answer

Since you've clarified that what you're really trying to achieve is a downgrade from iOS 10 to iOS 9, I'm sorry to say there's no way to re-install iOS 9 on your device. Basically, when a user installs a different version of iOS on their device, the process involves Apple signing the installation. Unfortunately, Apple stopped signing iOS 9 installations in October 2016.

For more info see this answer.

Long answer

If you do a full iTunes backup, it's not creating a disk image. Instead, it's a backup of your data, such as text messages/imessages, notes app data, map locations, call history, favourite contacts, various settings, third party app data, and so on.

If you've enabled the encrypt backup option in iTunes, then additional info can also be backed up (such as Wi-Fi settings, saved passwords, health data, etc). However, in no scenario is it backing up the OS itself.

If your backup was made while you had an earlier version of iOS installed, all your data can still be restored onto a device running a newer version of iOS, but the OS itself will not be downgraded to the version you were running when you made the backup.

  • I've given you the bounty, but accepted the other answer; FreelancerJ answered the question I actually asked, so he gets the answer; you answered the underlying problem, so you get the bounty. – philomory Mar 20 '17 at 7:46
  • No worries. :) I hope you're finding iOS 10 better now that you've been using it a while. – Monomeeth Mar 20 '17 at 8:32

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