iCloud: How to Backup and Restore Your iPad

Keep your iPad data safe in the cloud

Person using tablet with wifi symbol at home

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If you chose to have your iPad backed up to iCloud when setting the iPad up for the first time, your regular backups are stored on iCloud. However, if you chose to skip that step, it's easy to set up the iPad to automatically back up to iCloud.

These instructions apply to devices running iOS 8 and later.

How to Automatically Backup Your iPad With iCloud

To turn on iCloud backups for your iPad:

  1. Open Settings.

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  2. In the left panel, tap your name.

    Apple ID in Settings on an iPad
  3. Tap iCloud.

    iCloud in iPad settings
  4. In the iCloud settings, choose what you want to back up, including contacts, calendar events, bookmarks in the Safari browser, and items in the Notes app. By default, most of these are on.

  5. Tap iCloud Backup.

    iCloud Backup on iPad
  6. To turn on automatic backups for the iPad, turn on the iCloud Backup toggle switch. When on, the iPad backs up when it is plugged into a wall outlet or computer.

    iCloud Backup on iPad
  7. Tap Back Up Now to perform an immediate backup.

    Manual backup on iPad
  8. The iPad will back up automatically. The text below Back Up Now displays the date and time of the last backup.

How to Restore an iPad From an iCloud Backup

Restoring an iPad from an iCloud backup begins by wiping the iPad, which puts it into the same state it was when you first took it out of the box.

Perform a manual backup before you reset your iPad to prevent losing any photos or data.

  1. Open Settings.

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  2. Tap General.

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  3. Tap Reset, then tap Erase All Content and Settings.

    Erase all settings and content on iPad
  4. Confirm your choice, and the iPad returns to its default state.

When the iPad is finished erasing the data, the iPad shows the same screen that displayed when you first got the iPad. As you set up the iPad, it offers the choice to restore the tablet from a backup. This option appears after you sign in to your Wi-Fi network and choose whether or not to use location services.

When you choose to restore from a backup, you can choose from the last backup or one of the previous ones.

If you are restoring from a backup because the iPad has problems that can only be resolved by deleting it, choose the latest backup. If the iPad still doesn't work correctly, move to the next most recent backup. Repeat this process until the problem clears.

Restoring from a backup can take time. The process uses a Wi-Fi connection to download settings, content, and data. If there's a lot of content on the iPad, this can take a while. The restore screen displays 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.

If you run into a problem with this stage, download an application again from the App Store for free. You can also sync apps from iTunes on your PC. The restoring process also replaces photos and other data, so if it doesn't look like it's making progress, the iPad could be downloading more than apps.