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I was hoping to restore my iPhone (that I use regularly and have iCloud backup enabled on) to a backup from a few days back. I have purchased a ton of space from Apple for iCloud for the purpose of ensuring everything I need stays there. Unfortunately, it only shows me the two most recent iCloud Backups. However, I have seen screenshots from people showing multiple available iCloud Backups to restore from. What gives with that?

Basically, Apple deleted my older backups, which I was not aware they did. When I spoke to Apple representatives, many were under the impression that Apple does not delete your Backups or stop backing up unless you are low on space (I am not low on space). So, extra confusion there when Apple representatives all aren't on the same page and hand out conflicting information.

I was wondering if there was any possibility that my iCloud backups still exist somewhere on Apple's servers, and if it would be possible to access them? I know things would have been at some point stored on multiple Apple servers. I understand this is a long shot, and I understand that I should have been backing up my phone in multiple ways (I actually do, but lost a message during the week I need to restore from).

Does anyone have insight into why Apple started doing this, especially when a user has purchased additional space and there is no need to delete?

  • Sounds like a question only Apple can answer, despite the 'answer' you got from Apple reps. I use iCloud backups as well, but I'm a belt & suspenders kinda guy and I also do an encrypted backup through iTunes to my computer every week to my work computer, and at home. – IconDaemon Dec 11 '18 at 14:09
  • Are you sure the backups were done to iCloud and not local thru iTunes? I've never heard of Apple deleting anything from iCloud backups and I've never experienced this after years of using iCloud. – fsb Dec 11 '18 at 14:09
  • I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't know about this. That's smart of you to do. I have an iTunes backup but it doesn't include the data from last week. Basically, I deleted something from my phone, and it was not included in the latest backup, but would have been included in a previous backup. And yes, this is definitely through iCloud backup. I had an issue with iCloud previously, so made sure to have it enabled and also purchased extra space so that I didn't have to worry about it filling it up. – milleniumfalcon200 Dec 11 '18 at 14:11
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iCloud Backup only stores the most recent backup of your device. Every time you take a new backup, the old one is automatically erased.

This is how it is supposed to be, and how it always has been (or at least for multiple years). It’s not something new, nor is it specific for your account. It doesn’t matter how much space you’ve bought, how much you’ve paid or how much free space you have.

You can have multiple iCloud backups stored on your account when you have multiple devices, or backups of older devices that you no longer have. As far as I recall, it is also possible to have multiple iCloud backups stored if you have done a major iOS update, so that you have the latest backup from before the upgrade, and the latest backup from after the upgrade.

There’s no user-accessible way of accessing backups that have been overwritten in this fashion. I doubt that Apple has any way to restore such backups either, as the disk blocks probably have been reused for other purposes in the mean while.

There's also no user-accessible way of asking iCloud Backup to keep two or more backups of the same device at different points in time.

If you want to have multiple point in time backups of the same device, you’ll need to use iTunes and backup on a local computer.

  • I don't think this is true though. As I mentioned, when I looked before I had two "separate" iCloud backups to choose from, each from a different date, but nothing from before that. I have also seen screenshots of people who have had multiple iCloud backups available on their devices. I am specifically talking about full backups that occur overnight when plugged into Wifi and power, and not the incremental backups that take place during the day. – milleniumfalcon200 Dec 11 '18 at 15:29
  • @milleniumfalcon200 I haven't been able to find anything to contradict what I wrote - it is also consistent with the behavior I have seen with my own devices. Can you link to those screenshots or descriptions? - Are you sure you're not looking at information that is many years old? – jksoegaard Dec 11 '18 at 16:07
  • As far as I know there's no technical difference between the backups that take place during the day, and the backup taken while plugged in overnight while on WiFi. – jksoegaard Dec 11 '18 at 16:08
  • Perhaps the only way would be to make a copy of each backup with a different name so that the Script Apple uses only targets the files generated by the backup process when they are "replacing" older ones. – Solar Mike Dec 11 '18 at 16:18
  • Yeah it might be that I am looking at old information, which is honestly all that I could find on the issue. I did recently find information from Apple that states it keeps 3 backups for 180 days, I'll try to find it again, hence my confusion, as well as people posting screenshots of their phones displaying multiple backups. I did also find a thread on Reddit Apple where a user was able to restore photos from months and months ago that were completely deleted from iCloud, so I guess I am hoping the case would be the same with backups. – milleniumfalcon200 Dec 11 '18 at 17:04

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