iCloud: Restore Missing Data Through Your Browser

Apple recently added a long-awaited feature that’ll let you easily recover lost data from iCloud Drive, calendars/reminders, or contacts. The way you’ll do this is really simple, too—just visit iCloud.com, sign in with your appropriate Apple ID (see note below), and then click on the big ol’ “Settings” button.

iCloud settingsWhen that page loads, scroll to the bottom of the screen and look for the “Advanced” section. There you’ll see options for restoring different types of data.

iCloud settings advanced options

After you choose the type of info you need to recover, you’ll be taken to a screen where you can pick what date to restore, say, or which file.

iCloud file restore viewPay close attention to the caveats at the bottom of the different restore screens! When you recover calendars, for example, you’ll have to reconfigure your sharing settings, any invitations will be re-sent (yuck!), and the recovered version will replace your existing info on all of your iCloud devices. 

Here are the warnings listed on the “Restore Contacts” window:

iCloud restore data warningFor iCloud Drive files, you’ll be able to see how long you have to recover each document in question so that you can take action if necessary:

iCloud Drive data recovery timeframes

So, yeah. Just be sure you read the fine print before you proceed. This is incredibly helpful, though! I mean, everyone should be using an on-site backup of some type (you are, aren’t you?), so recovering contacts and documents should never have been a huge deal. However, with iCloud calendars, this’ll be a much simpler way to restore lost stuff, as Time Machine won’t allow you to just get things back up and running in the simple way you can with, say, contacts or email. So kudos to Apple. 

If I were a snarkier person, I might comment that this has been a long long LONG time coming, but folks, I’m just not that petty.


(Note: If you have multiple Apple IDs and aren’t sure which one to use to sign in, check your devices. On the Mac, you’ll do that at System Preferences> iCloud; on iOS, that info is under Settings> iCloud. Whichever email address is listed in those places is the one you’ll want to log in with at iCloud.com, as that’s the one that’s syncing between your devices!)