ICloud Backup Issues ! BEWARE !!!!

  • Posted: 17 January 2013 01:01 PM

    Hope this finds everybody well and that all is good with you.

    Anyway, I just thought I would share a bad experience I had with ICloud backups recently

    I have a 64GB Iphone 4S which has been behaving kind of strange of late so I decided to plug it in to Itunes and do a restore. No problem I thought having done this numerous times with other Iphones I have owned over the years when for whatever reason the phone has been playing up.

    Anyhow, so I do the restore and then attempt to download the last back up I made from the Cloud. Everything was going fine until about 1 minute from the end of the restore when I get a message on my screen informing me that the backup data was corrupt and could not be completed. I look and notice that there were two other back ups only a day or two older so I try the next one. Exactly the same thing happens again with the corrupted data error message. This happened on all 3 of the available backups that the cloud was showing me were available.

    So now I have an Iphone which I can not restore from either of the 3 available backups on the Cloud. I call Applecare and explain my predicament and the only solution they have for me is to set the phone up as a new phone. Luckily all of my emails, contacts, calendars and photos were in the Cloud so this procedure was very easy. The only thing I could not retrieve were my text messages. I then however had to spend most of yesterday evening re downloading all of my apps from the App Store. The bad news however that is that I have lost a lot of data from one of the apps that I use for doing my daily expenses and also my car mileage log that I use for business.

    This obviously has now made me very wary of the cloud and I called Applecare again this morning and gave them the following feedback on my experiences. They were really helpful and said that they could never recall a situation like mine where 3 available backups were corrupted.  They ran a diagnostic tool remotely on my phone and all looked good.

    My point to Apple was:

    When we all plug our phones into the power and let it backup to the Cloud we have no way of knowing whether that backup was successful or not. If a backup is unsuccessful for whatever reason or like mine corrupted, then a message should come back to the device telling you this. It is not until you need to do a restore like I discovered yesterday that your backup is in fact corrupted and useless. The lady I spoke to was really grateful for my feedback and said that she would direct into the appropriate channels.

    I like everybody else now place my trust in the Cloud to do it’s job properly and store our data safely. In my case this did not happen.

    As a precaution I am now once a week going to be turning off ICloud backup in my Iphone and doing a manual backup to Itunes in my Macbook.

  • Avatar

    Posted: 18 January 2013 11:56 AM #1

    Yikes. Thanks for sharing the story here for all of us, Brian.

    And your plan of doing routine local backups is a good one — I do the same. But you don’t need to turn off iCloud to make that happen. In all versions of iTunes you can simply right-click on your iPhone in the “Devices” section and choose “Back Up” — That creates a LOCAL backup for you.

    In iTunes 11 there is a “Back Up Now” option under the “Manually Back Up and Restore” section of the Summary tab once you click on your device. That, too, creates local backups.

    If you want to check the age of your local backups, you can go do iTunes > Preferences > Devices and they’re all listed here. iTunes also will start a new backup each time you perform a software update, so you may see (many) old iterations of backups, each with a date on them. If you like, you can remove these older ones.


    -Dave Hamilton / The Mac Observer / Mac Geek Gab / Dave on Twitter
    When you find a big kettle of crazy, it’s best not to stir it.

  • Posted: 18 January 2013 12:40 PM #2

    Hi Dave,
    Thanks for replying to me. And thanks for the advice on local backups as well. I have now got that all sorted.

  • Posted: 21 January 2013 11:16 AM #3

    I just hit the 1000 items on the iCloud photostream storage, I was not happy to realize my older photo’s disappeared. Luckily I had many of them inside of my local iPhoto.

    Where do you store your iPhone backups? Locally on the machine? On the web?

  • Posted: 21 January 2013 11:30 AM #4

    Yes, that can be a problem with the stream as far as storing photos is concerned. I now do a manual back up through Itunes once a week as well as backing up through the cloud. My mac is also backed up to a Time Capsule as well so hopefully I am covered now



  • Posted: 21 January 2013 12:47 PM #5

    iCloud is just too new for me to trust with my backups.  I will leave that to the pioneers, when it becomes as stable as my desktop computer I will think about it.  But for now it is (still) local backups only.

    Andy D

  • Posted: 21 January 2013 07:12 PM #6

    Dave Hamilton - 18 January 2013 11:56 AM

    ....If you want to check the age of your local backups, you can go do iTunes > Preferences > Devices and they’re all listed here. ....

    I went to this location—iTunes > Preferences > Devices—expecting to see lots of backups after 3 months of iPhone use. 
    There was only ONE backup from today.

    I use iTunes with wire to iPhone about once a week to dump my calendars and contacts (from MS Office Entourage into iCal then synced to iPhone) and to update apps.  I manually hit the SYNC or APPLY button.  The Time Counter notice (what’s that called again) said it was doing a Backup each time.  (Is it correct that one only has to click on the SYNC/APPLY button once and iTunes will perform the settings on each of the tabs:  Summary, Info, Music, Apps, etc.?)

    I expected to see 20 backups.  Why only one?

  • Posted: 12 August 2013 09:18 AM #7

    I lost my iPhone 4 & have purchased iPhone 5. It won’t allow me to take any photos. It indicates that I’ve reached my backup limit for the iPhone. Help!