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Doing a foolproof backup & restore


iPF Novice
Apr 28, 2011
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I got an iPad mini the other day....so when I got home I backed up my iPad 3 to iTunes via a sync cable.

I think I should have done an encrypted backup to ensure that all the password info would be brought to mini, according to this (apple page for iOS backups).

So, I had to re-enter all the passwords, and there are quite a few. That is a pain. All the accounts, contacts, messages, mail, etc, were transfered fine, though.

Also, the data for several apps didn't transfer. In fact, I had 9.3 GB free on the iPad 3 and after the restore, I have 22.8 GB free on the mini. So, I'm now tracking down what is missing. So far, this is what i have found.

1) No sync'ed music got transferred. Not a real problem as I can easily retrieve it, but I would have preferred it all be included in a "backup & restore".

2) My iBooks PDFs - in collections. All of that is missing. This, IMO, is a problem. What good is a back up if it doesn't keep this kind of "data".

3) My "My Movies for iPad" database was totally empty. Ok, I just re-sync'ed to the online database maintained by the My Movies people.

4) Glee (I know, silly, app and I cant sing, but I still enjoy it). All of my purchased songs were missing. However, while typing this post I finally found how to retrieve them under "Info". Curiously, using the Magic Piano app by the same company, all of my piano songs were automatically transferred.

5) DVD Profiler. None of my dvd data was carried over, but I just connected to the my PC and transferred the database over to the mini. I'd rather not have to do this....

6) Dropbox. None of my password & account info is transferred.

7) Kindle. Nothing transferred, but I can redownload what I want.

8) Newstand....I can get stuff back here, but I'd rather not have to.

9) Photos & Camera: Not even sure what is missing, but the iPad 3 shows 4.2 GB and the mini shows 3.7 GB, so something is amiss. This makes no sense. That's a lot of stuff to look for.

10) Zinio. Nothing transferred, but this probably ok because those old issues were eating up space.

11) Facebook: must re-enter email and password. Argh. (not really a big deal as I don't do much here)

12) Google+: same deal.

13) Twitter: username remembered, password must be re-entered. (again, not a biggie to me, but making a point)

14) Other stuff, but I'm tired of thinking about it now.

So my biggest issue right now is figuring out how to do the backup so I have to do the least amount of jiggering after the restore. I must have 300 apps and it this takes time to work though. Also, if I were just going to wipe my iPad 3 and then restore, I'd be missing some 13.4GB and tracking this down is a hassle.

A backup doesn't appear to really be a backup on iOS. Or, am I missing something?

Reading the iTunes pages also makes the process seem very complicated...as if you to take special steps to actually get everything. What gives?

What do you all do to ensure you get everything backed up and then, most importantly, restored?

Has anyone developed a foolproof set of steps to ensure a 100% perfect backup and restore?

Sorry for the long post...
None of the media that sync with iTunes is in the backup. Never has been.

In the case of iBooks, when you add non-iBookstore content directly to the iPad, those books won't sync back to iTunes, even with a Transfer Purchases command. I agree. It's a problem. It's also why I add all my non-iStore stuff to the computer first, then sync to the iPad.

I've never had a 100% restore, but I've come close. It takes more than some steps, it takes planning ahead. Mostly making sure that all iStore content is up to date on the computer. I also make sure all my documents from other apps are backed up elsewhere first. It's hard to tell what exactly a developer has included in their backup area (yes, it's up to them).

But yes, it's a multistep process. You restore, then you sync, and sometimes you need to restore a second time to get the rest of the app data.

In some ways, restoring form an iCloud backup looks like it should be more complete and have fewer steps. However, my internet connection is so slow that it always gets bogged down when restoring the apps themselves. When I upgraded to the iPad 3, I ended up stopping it and starting over with the computer.

The last restore I did was the iPhone 5. The apps are smaller, and my connection speed was better. It still took forever, but their wasn't much to fix afterwords. I remember that all my email accounts wanted me to enter the password again, and in the case of Yahoo I think I had to delete and re-add the account. There were probably a few other things, but I took care of them as they arose and don't remember what they were.

My internet connection is 3 Mbps on a great day. If you're sporting a 30-40 Mbps connection it should work much better.

At this point, that's probably as simple as it's going to get.

P.S. I don't recall having problems with system passwords on any restore. Doesn't mean they did not happen. On the iPhone, at least, I had to enter my Apple ID in the store when I got it; so that probably prevented any problems later when I restored from my old iPhone backup.

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