iPad iCloud: How to Backup and Restore

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How to Automatically Backup Your iPad With iCloud

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If you chose to have your iPad backed up to the iCloud when setting the iPad up for the first time, you should already have regular backups stored on the iCloud. However, if you chose to skip that step, it is rather easy to set up the iPad to automatically back itself up to iCloud. (And if you are unsure, just follow these steps and you will confirm you have it set up correctly.)

First, go into the iPad settings. The settings for backing up your iPad are located under "iCloud" in the left-side menu. New to the iPad? Here is some help on how to get into the iPad's settings.

The iCloud settings will let you choose what you want to back up, including contacts, calendar events, bookmarks in the Safari browser and text saved within the notes application. By default, most of these will be on. 

Once you have these settings the way you want them, tap "Backup" to set up the automatic backup. On this screen, you can turn iCloud Backup on or off by tapping the slider button.  When on, the iPad will back itself up when it is plugged into a wall outlet or to a computer.

Last, perform your first backup. Just below the iCloud Backup slider button is a  'Back Up Now' option. Tapping this button will perform an immediate backup, making sure you have at least one data point you can restore from later.

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How to Restore an iPad From an iCloud Backup

Restoring the iPad From an iCloud Backup
Image © Apple, Inc.

The process for restoring an iPad from an iCloud backup begins by wiping the iPad, which puts it into the same clean state it was when you first got it out of the box. But before you take this step, it is a good idea to make sure your iPad is being backed up to the iCloud. (Obviously, this won't be possible in certain circumstances, such as restoring a brand new iPad with your old iPad's data and settings.)

You can verify your iCloud backup by going into the iPad's settings and choosing iCloud from the left-side menu. In the iCloud settings, choose Storage and Backup. This will take you to a screen that will display the last time the iPad was backed up to iCloud.

Once you verify the backup, you are ready to begin the process. You will start by erasing all data and settings from the iPad, which puts it into a clean state. You can do this by going to the iPad settings and choosing General from the left-side menu. Scroll all the way down the General settings until you see "Reset". From this menu, choose "Erase All Content and Settings".

Get More Help Resetting the iPad to Factory Default

Once the iPad finishes erasing the data, you will be taken to the same screen you were at when you first got your iPad. As you set up the iPad, you will be given the choice to restore the iPad from a backup. This option appears after you have signed into your Wi-Fi network and chosen whether or not to use location services.

When you choose to restore from a backup, you will be taken to a screen where you can choose from your last backup or other backups, which is usually your last three or four backups.

Note: If you are restoring from a backup because you have run into problems with your iPad that can only be solved by restoring it, you can first choose your latest backup. If you still have problems, you can move on to the next latest backup, repeating the process until (hopefully) the problem is cleared.

Restoring from a backup can take some time. The process uses your Wi-Fi connection to download settings, content, and data. If you had a lot of content on your iPad, this can take a while. The restore screen should give you estimates at each stage of the restore process, starting with restoring the settings and then booting into the iPad. When the iPad home screen appears, the iPad will continue the restore process by downloading all of your applications.

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If you do run into a problem with this stage, you can always download an application again from the app store for free. You can also sync apps from iTunes on your PC. But the iPad should be able to restore all of your applications on its own. Remember, if you have a lot of apps, it could take some time for the iPad to complete this step. In addition to downloading apps, the process restores photos and other data, so if it doesn't look like there is progress, the iPad could be working on downloading more than just apps.

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