I recently switched to Verizon. My wife's phone was a 16GB AT&T iPhone. Verizon had the 8GB version for free with the contract.

Is it possible to restore from the 16GB backup to the new 8GB phone?

Both are iPhone 4s.


Ok, I got it done, but it took a little bit of a run around.

I had failed to mention in my question that the size of the original 16GB backup was indeed close to 16GB. Clearly not going to fit on the new 8GB phone.

The very first time I tried to restore from backup, I got a message about the size incompatibility. Every subsequent time it would just hang at "Estimating Time Remaining..."

Next, I decided to remove much of the superfluous data on the old phone, to get a new backup of it under 8 GB. Trying to use this new, now smaller, backup resulted in the same hang up.

At this point I thought it just might not work.

With nothing to lose, I decided to have iTunes restore the phone to factory. Then, the very first thing I did was try to restore from the new smaller backup... Success!!

Somehow the failed attempts before hand, were keeping the phone from successfully restoring from backup.

  • 1
    My old phone was damaged. Any Idea how to do this by editing the backup? – Jonathan Jan 25 '16 at 18:05

You can pare down the backup by using selective deletions with an external tool such as iTunes Backup Manager


Yes - the system will alert you if the contents cannot fit, but everything will be fine if the apps and data all fit on the smaller device.

  • Yeah, my fault, I failed to mention the size of the backup was indeed larger than the new phone. – JoshP Oct 20 '12 at 12:41
  • 2
    No worries. You have a great answer how you solved this. When I find the backups are too large, I go into the iCloud backup settings and selectively delete things such as the camera roll or game backups until the total backup size is small enough to fit on the new device and then proceed as you did with a restore. – bmike Oct 20 '12 at 14:44

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