Turbulence During iCloud Restoration to Replacement iPhone 4

My firm purchased the Apple “Joint Venture” service, which allows us to register our iDevices, and get priority support from the Geniuses at an Apple Store, as well as training. The home button on my iPhone 4 went wonky on me, and would not react in the normal way when pressed. So I called the JV guys up. Here’s what happened.

The support folks at Joint Venture told me it is a typical problem, and offered to replace my iPhone in-store, since it was still covered by AppleCare.

The next day I went to my Genius appointment at the Ginza Tokyo Apple Store, and though I showed up early, they still took me, and got me set up very quickly. There were still crowds from people wanting to get the new iPhone 4S, so the Genius Bar was packed, but the JV status allowed me to get serviced immediately, which was nice. Shinji, the Genius who helped me, also set up the phone with iOS 5, so I could just get to the restoring. I was out of there in less than an hour, and bought an Apple TV on the way out, so I guess Jobs’ charm is still working on me!

Restoring an iOS 5 Backup to a new iPhone 4

I took the half-setup phone back to my office, got on WiFi, and started the restore from iCloud. Basically, the settings did indeed come over, but after about an hour, I got an error saying that it could not restore everything and that I should restore from iTunes (I am not sure whether that is normal, or a problem). I also had a few prompts to enter my iCloud credentials (Apple ID and password), for whatever reason. I kept re-entering, and it finally stopped asking.

I had backups in iTunes, so I restored from that, but that did not fully work either. I had to de-attach and re-attach the phone to iTunes, then click Sync in iTunes, to get it to fully install my purchased Apps. Finally it did work, but I am not sure what VooDoo caused that.

Despite the speed bumps along the way, basically, I was able to get my iPhone 4 restored. A couple of points:

  • Even if you are backing up to iCloud, it is really too new to trust, so make a manual backup. Connect to iTunes, then ctrl-click on your iPhone or iPad icon in iTunes, and choose backup from the popup menu. This will force a manual backup to iTunes locally, which can be restored from.

  • When you are going through the restore process, persevere, even if prompted for your password multiple times.

  • After you restore from iCloud if that is the route you are taking, you will need to restore at least Apps directly from iTunes.

  • Once you restore everything, you will need to re-enter passwords for things like Mail and so on, so have those handy.

I hope this helps someone facing the same problem. Enjoy!