I had the misfortune of a stolen iPhone 4 a few months ago. In the interim I've decided not to get a new iPhone.

I can view my iCloud storage page and see there is a 1GB file there. There are random photos and two years worth of message history, amongst other odd bits and bobs I'm sure. I do not have a local backup.

Problem: How do I recover my iPhone backup sitting in iCloud?

I've looked all over and find no way of doing this without an iPhone. Surely there must be a way though, it is my data after all.

Any ideas?

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately, you are very limited in what you can do with that backup. In fact, there is literally nothing you can do with an iCloud backup unless you restore the backup. This can be done, however, on any iOS device (as in iPhone, iPod, or iPad), that is at least the iOS version that the stolen device was on. For example, if the iPhone 4 was running iOS 6, you will only be able to restore to a iOS 6, or 6.1 device.

If you are on a Mac, you should have easy access to Calendars, Contacts, Notes, Reminders, and such data. If you are on a PC, you can access most of that by going to iCloud.com. This isn't really the data that you've backed up, though, and it's really data that is just "synced" through iCloud. Either way, Contacts, are typically pretty important.

If you own a Mac, you should be able to get your Photostream pictures by installing and opening Photostream. This doesn't capture videos, though.

If you do have an eligible iOS device that you can do a restore on, be sure to back up that device locally before wiping. It might also be advisable to make sure that device doesn't do a backup of the newly erased setup to iCloud. If you keep that iCloud account disabled on that device, you should have an easy restore from iCloud, and a backup in iTunes should something go wrong.


I guess this is what you could do if someone you know could spare you an iPhone for a day or so:

  1. Get an iPhone and take a backup of the same on your system - use iTunes to do that
  2. Now (this is really critical and follow it at your own risk) log into your iCloud account on the phone and restore that phone while pointing to the iCloud backup. In this was you will have all of the iCloud data in that phone
  3. Now use another computer (or at least another user account on the same computer) to take a backup of the phone with your data - don't use the same account as everytime iTunes takes a backup of your phone, it overwrites the previous one. So you risk a chance of loosing the data which originally came with the phone
  4. Get a backup recovery software and install it on the computer which has your data backed up.

Some available unofficial software or services are:

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