How to recover and restore iTunes data

Restore an iTunes backup or extract messages, photos, contacts and more using Enigma Recovery® software

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Compatible with Windows and Mac computers

Compatibility: iPhone XS/XR/X/8/7/6/5/4/SE, iPad, iPod Touch, iOS 6 - 12

Backing up your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to iTunes is a smart way to secure your files. But how do you go about recovering and restoring iTunes data when you need it most — perhaps after you’ve accidentally deleted a photo or lost your device? Here, we’re going to explain:

Whether they’re precious family photos or important business notes, follow these instructions to recover data from an iTunes backup.

How to restore an iTunes backup

You can restore an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch from an iTunes backup by following the instructions below. This will allow you to recover files that were lost or deleted since the backup was taken. However, please note that this process will overwrite all existing data and settings on your device.

If you want to avoid the potential for further data loss, or you would like to extract specific files, follow our instructions on recovering data from an iTunes backup.

  1. Open iTunes on the PC or Mac that you used to back up your device.

  2. Connect your device to the computer using a USB cable.

  3. Follow the onscreen instructions on your device — you may need to unlock and ‘Trust’ the computer from your device to allow access.

  4. Select your device once it has been recognized in iTunes.

  5. Select ‘Restore Backup’ under the Backups section.

  6. Select the backup that you would like to restore. If you are not sure, it may be safer to recover your files using Enigma Recovery. If there is not a suitable backup, try recovering data from iCloud or your device (iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch).

  7. Select ‘Restore’. You may need to enter your password.

  8. Once your device has finished syncing, you can disconnect it from your computer.

How to recover data from an iTunes backup

When iTunes creates a backup, it stores your data in an unreadable format. This means that you cannot view or extract specific files: you can only restore the entire backup, overwriting your existing device data in the process. Unfortunately, this can result in additional data loss.

However, using Enigma Recovery for PC or Mac , it is possible to extract various types of data from an iTunes backup file. You can then view individual files via the software, export them to your computer, or even restore them to your Apple device.

What do I need?

It is possible to recover data from an iTunes backup without the iPhone or other iOS device in question. You just need the following:

  1. A computer running Windows Vista/7/8/8.1/10 or Mac OS 10.7–10.14.

  2. The full version of Enigma Recovery. Pricing depends on the number of devices you would like to recover data from (each iTunes backup is linked to a specific device, using the serial number).

  3. An iTunes backup file containing the files you need. When you select ‘Recover from my iTunes’ on Enigma Recovery, you can see a list of available backups. If you don’t have a suitable iTunes backup, you can try recovering files from iCloud, or directly from your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, instead.

What types of data can be recovered from iTunes?

You can use our software to extract photos, WhatsApp messages, contacts and other important data from an iTunes backup. View the full app compatibility list below and click through for specific instructions on recovering your files.

How to save/export recovered iTunes data

You can export recovered iTunes data by using the ‘Export & Restore’ menu on Enigma Recovery, then saving to a destination of your choice. As well as creating a backup, this allows you to easily share, print and organize data. Learn about the supported file formats and see the compatibility table below.

  • CSV: Can be opened in programs like Excel, Google Sheets or OpenOffice Calc. Useful for organizing and filtering data.
  • XML: Can be opened in browsers, such as Chrome or Safari, as well as text editors like NotePad or TextEdit.
  • PDF: Can be opened in programs such as Adobe Reader or Preview. Useful for sharing, because formatting stays consistent across computers.
  • VCF: A standard file format for contact information, also known as vCard. Can be imported to almost any digital address book.
  • XLSX: An Excel format that can be opened in programs such as Google Sheets.
  • HEIC: The standard file format for photos on iOS devices. JPEG is a better alternative for other operating systems.
  • JPEG: A widely supported image file format.

How to restore recovered data to your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch

While it is always possible to access your extracted data on iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch in some way, only select data types can be restored to their native app after being recovered from iTunes:

  • Calendar: Transfer to the Restore app then create a new event from within this app.

  • Contacts: as VCF (vCard) then import to your device via iCloud or another data transfer method. Alternatively, transfer to the Restore app then create a new contact from within this app.

  • Notes: Import or copy and paste to a location accessible via your device, such as Google Docs or the Restore app, then copy and paste to Notes.

  • Photos: Export as HEIC or JPEG files then import to your device via iCloud or another data transfer method.

  • Videos: Export as HEIC files then import to your device via iCloud or another data transfer method.

Our Restore app allows you to view calendar events, call history, contacts, iMessages, notes, text messages and WhatsApp messages on your iOS device in a user-friendly format. (As mentioned above, contacts, calendar events and notes can then be transferred from Restore to their native apps.) Simply download the Restore app for free, connect the device to your computer, then go to ‘Export & Restore’ > ‘Restore to device’ on Enigma Recovery.

Another option is to export your data to your computer, then import it to an iOS app that supports that file format. For example, CSV files can be imported to Google Sheets then viewed via the app or website on your Apple device.

What’s next?

Whether you decided to restore your entire iTunes backup or extract specific files, you should now have your lost or deleted files back. It’s now a good idea to back up your device and review your settings. You might also want to find out more about what our iOS data recovery software can do.

If these methods didn’t work for you, don’t worry: you might be able to recover your files from iCloud, or directly from the database of your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Feel free to contact us if you’d like some help.

Install Enigma Recovery on Windows & Mac computers

Compatible with Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10 and Mac OS 10.7 to 10.14

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Compatible with Windows and Mac computers