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I am trying to restore my new iPhone with the data from my old iPhone via iCloud. I have tried to follow this tutorial, but unfortunately I cannot connect to wifi during the setup process (my wifi requires me to activate each device via safari/some other mobile browser).

Is there any way to restore my old data (i.e. photos, texts, etc.) after the setup process?

  • Is restoring through iTunes an option? Do you still have the old phone around that you could backup to iTunes and then restore to the new iPhone? – bassplayer7 Feb 20 '13 at 18:45
  • Unfortunately the old iPhone is dead, and I only backed up to iCloud – JSW189 Feb 20 '13 at 21:07
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    I am going out on a limb to say that you "found" a significant (IMO) loop hole in the iCloud restoration process. As I am sure you are well aware, normally, when a user connects to a wifi, Apple pings a web page on their site. If it fails to connect, it will pull up an in-app browser so you cannot log in. But it sounds like that in-app browser is absent during iCloud setup. – bassplayer7 Feb 20 '13 at 22:04
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Since this appears to be a defect in Apple's software with no non-hacky solution, I thought I would share how I worked around this issue to achieve semi-restoration:

  • Photos: I first imported my photos from my iCloud photostream to iPhoto using this tutorial. Then I went to iTunes --> iPhone --> Photos and checked "Sync Photos from iPhoto." Further, oddly enough, after linking iCloud to my iPhone again post-setup, a photo stream was synced with my phone, albeit missing a lot of photos. But iPhoto was able to load them all, so it didn't really matter.
  • Contacts: Luckily I had my contacts already synced with my Mac Contacts app. So to add my existing contacts all I had to do was go to iTunes --> iPhone --> Info and check "Sync Contacts."
  • Calendar: I use Google calendar, so this was as simple as setting up my email again. However, even if you relied on your iPhone calendar, I believe this issue can be resolved by going to iTunes --> iPhone --> Info and selecting "Sync Calendar."
  • Notes: Once I linked my iCloud to my phone post-setup, these notes automatically synced from the Notes Mac app.

What I was unable to sync:

  • Messages. Unfortunate but not really that important.
  • Applications. But these can easily be re-downloaded.
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I had a similar problem trying to restore a iCloud backup after my phone had a meltdown and I had to erase it and start again. The only WiFi network I had was in a hotel room which meant I had to enter my room number and name to register. I realised it worked off MAC addresses so I

  • did a basic phone start up to and registered on the wifi
  • erased the phone again
  • restarted the phone and restored from backup

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