I recently made a full backup of my iPhone 4S to my computer. I was having some issues with it, so I went into DFU mode and did a clean install.

Unfortunately as soon as iTunes finished installing iOS 6, it automatically made a full back-up of my phone, and I now can't see the previous back-up I made. Please tell me it's still there!

How may I recover a previous back-up?

  • Pretty good question 😩!
    – dan
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 7:50

4 Answers 4


[I realize this is an older question and may not solve the problem for the OP, but this answer is intended to provide guidance to others.]

If you use iTunes backups, there is only one backup (the latest) maintained per device at any point in time. So in this case the new backup overwrote the older backup, and it would be possible to recover only if a copy of ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/ was made before the clean install (through Time Machine or any other solution), restoring that folder on the system and doing a restore from iTunes.

You can see the device backups (with the timestamps) available in iTunes by going to iTunesPreferences and then navigating to the Devices tab.

Some recommendations and points to note to avoid such a situation and have something to fall back to:

  • You can have multiple backups in iCloud for a device and choose which backup to restore from (assuming there are no device/iOS compatibility issues).
  • Use both iCloud and iTunes backups together (once iCloud backup is turned on, automatic backups in iTunes would be turned off; so a manual backup would have to be triggered in iTunes).
  • When using iTunes backup, trigger a manual backup in iTunes followed by a manual backup in Time Machine before major changes to a device, like re-installing iOS or jailbreaking or recovering from older backups.

See: Choosing an iOS backup method (Should I use iTunes or iCloud to back up my iOS device?)

  • Why was the older backup "corrupt"? Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 2:04
  • 1
    That was a misunderstanding of the problem. I've fixed it in the answer. Thanks.
    – M K
    Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 5:25
  • @DjangoReinhardt : The older backup wasn't corrupt but was overwritten by the new one. This is a bad method from a security standpoint but at the same time avoid a huge space waste.
    – dan
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 8:45

Assuming you have older backups:

Mac OS: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup

Windows XP: %AppData%\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup

Windows Vista: %AppData%\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup

Windows 7: %AppData%\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup

Go onto iTunes, right click on your device on the left-hand side bar, and their should be an option 'Restore From Backup', or something similar, click that and it'll restore your iPhone to a previous backup.


You can see all backups in Itunes settings -> backup I think it keeps two or three latest backups

  • 1
    The OP says he can't
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 8:55
  • 1
    The OP ? What's that ?
    – JonsiYorke
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 17:46
  • 1
    Original Poster a term in usenet and other fora for the first one to start a thread
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 20:20

If you have back up your iPhone data, you can restore from the backup.

To restore information from a backup, use one of the following methods after connecting your iOS device to the computer with which you normally sync:

Right-click (or Control-click) the device and choose Restore from Backup If you have a new phone, you can connect to iTunes and it will prompt to restore from your backup Solution from Apple.com: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1766

  • 1
    The OP says the backup is bad - how do you get an OLD backup
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 9:54

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