What a Hellish Experience it Is to Restore an iPhone

IMG 8125I’m sure you’ve had to restore your iPhone at least once. Stuff happens, you try to reset some settings, but it still doesn’t work as it should. Since yesterday, I’ve been having trouble connecting to cellular networks on mine. If I put the SIM card in my iPhone SE, that works fine, so it seems to have something to do with iOS 12. I tried resetting network settings, and that worked for a few minutes, but then the same thing happened.

So, it was time to restore the iPhone. I have a 15 Mbps internet connection, so the 3+ GB download for iOS only took about an hour. But then there’s all the apps to re-download. Because iTunes no longer manages apps, you have to redownload potentially tens of gigabytes of stuff. If you have music and photos in the cloud, you have to download some of them, but the apps alone make this process painful.

In addition, you can’t pause the process; you can only put the phone into airplane mode. So if you do need to use the phone to make calls or use data, your connection is saturate, and you’re limited for the several hours it takes to get everything downloaded.

When I think about all those who have even slower internet access than I do, I feel sorry for them. I feel sorry about Apple, who assumes that everyone has fiber, and can restore an iPhone in five minutes. It’s really quite a bit of contempt for many of Apple’s users. It makes life really complicated.

10 thoughts on “What a Hellish Experience it Is to Restore an iPhone

  1. You have my deepest sympathy. Have you tried iMazing? I used it to download and install iOS 12 to all my iDevices and it was faultless. Moreover, once you have downloaded an iPhone upgrade (or iPad upgrade – they are different), it retains the download and simply installs directly on to any other iPhone (or iPad). Vastly quicker than iTunes.

    And restoring, which I’ve had to do previously is fast AND all your apps are included in the restoration process. And because the restoration is from Archived backups, I don’t think that you need the internet except to update any apps that have changed since your last backup.

    NB I have absolutely no financial or any other connection with iMazing. Personal experience only.

    • I work for iMazing, writing content for their website and creating screencasts. iMazing does not back up apps; you can download them through iMazing, and store them in a library folder, but you need to do this in advance, so there’s no real time saved.

  2. Totally agree. I’ve never been happy about Apple removing the App Store from iTunes. It was a lot easier to manage my apps through iTunes.I sometimes wonder if anyone at Apple actually lives in the real world. So many things in iOS are frivolous to people who live and work in the real world.

  3. I’m another iMazing fan. The cost works out to something like 10 cents a minute for your first iPhone restore (over a connection with Kirk’s speed). After that, you’ve got a great tool for iDevice backups and many other things.

    Like Ian, I have no relation to iMazing, except as a satisfied customer.

  4. Pity me, then, because I have 2.5 Mbps internet. I’ve been clinging to iTunes 12.6 for as long as I can, but that means I can’t get a new iPhone (it’s about time to upgrade from my 6), upgrade from Sierra to Mojave, or maybe even upgrade my iPhone and iPad to iOS12. So I think my days are numbered. But after reading the comments here, I think I’ll see what iMazing is all about.

  5. I win! I have 1.5 MBps down. If it helps, I got an iPhone 8 last spring and it works fine with 12.6.4. There a recent (last week?) update to 12.6.5 for ios 12 compatibility and presumably the new phones too. 12.6 exists primarily for business and education, and at least so far they’re still supporting new stuff.

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208079

    There’s another real pita about restoring–most apps don’t backup their downloads folder. So if you’ve downloaded files in those apps, they may be gone. Apple seems to think that oh, you can just download them again. But even if the file is still there, you’d need to have them all bookmarked somewhere. And not all can be downloaded again, such as pdf books that are free for a few days. For some of my map apps, you have to remember the settings you used to regenerate the tiles for however many maps you set up, then it takes many hours more to redownload all of them.

    iMazing might be able to help with some of that, but I haven’t had time to try it out. Meanwhile for apps, I have 12.6 set to auto download newly purchased apps, and after I update apps, I drag the older versions out of the Trash into an archive folder.

  6. Had to restore an iCloud backup after a hardware replacement. It took 8 hours. I thought everything was broken and called Apple Support. They confirmed that if you have large numbers of Whatsapp messages it will take a long time.

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