The title should make this pretty clear, but this basic tutorial is for iPhone/iPad/iPod touch users who own a Mac. Sure there may be ways to do this on a Windows PC, but I don’t own one so I can’t really do a walk through without! Also, keep in mind there may be alternate ways to do this, some faster some slower. I really don’t know for sure, but this is the way I found worked best for me in the recent 4.1 update. As I mentioned in a prior post I tend to do a clean update, meaning I install iOS and do not restore my data from backup. Why? I don’t know. I guess having used Windows for so long I got used to a nice clean re-install of the OS every once in while.
However, I’m sure immediately you can see a flaw in plan as some apps don’t sync to cloud, and don’t provide any good way to backup and restore data. For example (iTunes Links) – Momento, Days Off, and Gas Cubby (which does sync but not automatically). All of these apps are ones I store important data in. For example Gas Cubby I’ve been using since March to keep track of (obviously) mileage information. Normally I sync as soon as I put in a new tank, but I forgot last time because I was on my R6 and one my way to work. I also forgot I hadn’t sync’d until naturally AFTER I had done a clean install of iOS 4.1 in my iPhone 4. Instantly, this became a crisis and I set out upon an adventure to figure out how to get my stuff back.
Luckily, I had done a backup before I did the update. Click on through for how I recovered my app data, and how I got back pictures I’d taken but forgotten to pull off the phone into iPhoto.
An iPhone / iPad / Touch that you’ve backed up recently.
The steps here are pretty darned simple. Here’s what you do -
Open up iPhone Backup Extractor. Click that little button that says “Read Backups”. The list isn’t really sorted so don’t freak out if your latest backup isn’t right at the top. Scroll through the list and select the one you want to get data back from. Click Choose.
Now you’re be presented a list of files contained in the backup. iOS Files contains exactly that – your keychain, some config data and most importantly – your camera roll. If you forgot to pull out your pictures, extract the iOS Files, wait a minute while the magic happens and inside the recovered backup is Media > DCIM > 100APPLE. Library > SMS > Parts contains the images you sent through SMS. I’m sure you can poke around in here and find more fun stuff to recover – but those are the things I was looking for.
Inside those com.company.app folders you’ll find the relevant backup data for the individual apps.
So, you’ve got the information back in a readable form on your desktop… now what?
Connect your iPhone / iPad / iTouch and launch iPhone Explorer. Once connected there’s some magic that happens and iPhone Explorer presents a list of your Apps and Folders. Expand out the apps list, expand out the apps you want to put your information back on, and that’s pretty much it. Copy the data from the Documents / Library folders to the corresponding folders in the Apps. Once you’ve copied everything back over you’re done. Launch your app and make sure what you wanted to see is there.
I’ve found that it works best to restore data to applications before you’ve launched them the first time. I’m not sure why … I imagine some of the database uses hash or something the app generates on first launch and by doing this first it doesn’t do that… but who knows.
I also highly recommend you take some time and poke around in iPhone Explorer. There’s a lot of interesting details you can gather from going through the folders.
There you have it. Do you have a better way to recover data that you have backed up or can’t sync to the cloud? Let me know in the comments.