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? Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 18:45
  • Unfortunately the old iPhone is dead, and I only backed up to iCloud
    – JSW189
    Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 21:07
  • 1
    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. Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 22:04

2 Answers 2


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.

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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