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Old Mar 12, 2013, 09:05 AM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2009
iPhone 5: can't restore from iCloud backup

Ready for an absolute stumper, boys and girls? Have I got one for you. Here's the dealio:

I backup to iCloud with all my iOS devices (iPhone 5, iPad mini). I pay for extra storage, in fact. I've never had a problem with it.

Last night, I visited the Genius Bar due to a "speck" appearing on all of my images taken with my iPhone 5 camera. The Genius happily offered to swap my iPhone out, which I had anticipated. I already had an iCloud backup taken from earlier in the day. After verifying that I did have a backup, we wiped my old iPhone 5 and the Genius offered to help load my iCloud backup on my new iPhone 5. I politely declined, as my iCloud backup is huge and I'd rather do it from the comfort of home (and my 50 megabit connection) instead of loitering around the Apple Store. He completely understood, we shake hands, and he sends me on my way.

I arrive home, and go through the Setup Assistant until I get to the point where I restore from iCloud backup. I type in my iCloud username (blahblah@gmail.com) and password and...

Incorrect Apple ID or Password
Try Another Apple ID
I type it in several times, painstakingly, letter-by-letter, ensuring that it's right. Won't work. So, I fire up Safari on my iMac and swing over to http://appleid.apple.com/. I figure my password's expired or something is not right with my account and that site will tell me. I log right in with no problems and everything looks good. All my information is correct, I've set security questions, the whole nine yards. You would never know there's a problem from visiting that site.

For kicks, I changed my password anyways, thinking maybe it's locked out or something. Same error on the iPhone Setup Assistant. I finally decided to bypass the iCloud restore for the time being and just get into the phone. The next step of Setup Assistant asks me to sign into iCloud to automatically set up my iMessage and FaceTime. Again, same error message. Fine, I'll just bypass that, too.

So, I finally get through Setup Assistant and get into iOS. Once I'm in iOS, I visit the Settings.app, and lo and behold, I can log into iCloud, FaceTime, iMessage with my Apple ID without a problem. I even log into the App Store, and download a new paid app (and verify my billing information so Apple ties the serial # to me). Everything works fine. Only Setup Assistant has a problem with logging into my Apple ID.

I realize I'm only on iOS 6.1 (and my iCloud backup is from 6.1.2), so I plug the new iPhone into iTunes on my iMac, and do a restore for iOS 6.1.2. Once it's done, I'm back in the Setup Assistant, it still won't accept my Apple ID password, despite it working fine EVERYWHERE else (included on the phone once you're through Setup Assistant).

I called AppleCare, and had a shockingly poor experience. They answered quickly, but forced me to wait on hold for most of the call and after about 20-25 minutes, concluded I should just take the device back to the Apple Store and swap it again. They didn't have any answers.

Luckily, I have a few other iOS devices laying around that run iOS 6 -- an iPhone 3GS and an iPhone 4. I powered them up, went into Setup Assistant, and had the exact same problem as on the iPhone 5. So, it's not a device-specific problem.

Okay, so what do we troubleshoot next? Well, maybe it's my connection at home! That could be the issue. I took all of my devices to work, logged on the Wi-Fi there (which I've used countless times to restore from iCloud backups -- I'm a mobile device administrator), and again, same issue.

It's pretty conclusive that something's wrong with my iCloud account, seeing as this issue is not device specific, nor connection specific, and it only occurs within the Setup Assistant. At this point, I'm pretty lost as to where to proceed from here. AppleCare was very unhelpful last night, but with the added information of it not being device, nor connection specific, perhaps I could press them harder to find a solution (since a device swap won't help). I could also go to the Genius Bar and pretty much refuse to leave until it's working. I am not sure what's my better choice at this point. The Apple Store is not far from my house, so I don't mind going there if need be. I'm just curious what you guys think would be most effective, or if you have any other suggestions for getting a resolution.
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Old Mar 12, 2013, 09:20 AM   #2
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Do you perhaps have both @gmail.com and @me.com/@icloud.com Apple IDs? I ask because I do and have had to remember to use my @me.com ID when setting up my phone (after restore, for example) and then changing/adding my @gmail.com ID for the App Store, iMessage, FaceTime, etc. When I've forgotten to do this in the past and instead tried to use my @gmail.com ID, it hasn't worked, at least not in the way I needed (can't remember if I got an error though).
"kkkkkkkk ....ok" - iphone4s16gb
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Old Mar 12, 2013, 10:25 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by r2shyyou View Post
Do you perhaps have both @gmail.com and @me.com/@icloud.com Apple IDs? I ask because I do and have had to remember to use my @me.com ID when setting up my phone (after restore, for example) and then changing/adding my @gmail.com ID for the App Store, iMessage, FaceTime, etc. When I've forgotten to do this in the past and instead tried to use my @gmail.com ID, it hasn't worked, at least not in the way I needed (can't remember if I got an error though).
My @gmail.com is my one and only Apple ID.
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Old Mar 24, 2013, 10:27 PM   #4
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I've got an update... and it's not so good.

On Tuesday, March 12th, I decided to go a different route with AppleCare -- I started off on Apple's online chat support and was eventually referred to a phone conversation with an AppleCare Senior Advisor named Anne (her real name is not actually Anne). Under the circumstances, I have no problems with Anne's performance. Anne was essentially reduced to the role of a middleman or liaison -- shuttling information back and forth between me and the iCloud Engineering Team. She did a great job communicating some very bad news to me and maintaining a great demeanor throughout.

I shared my experience with Anne, and she had me try a couple more troubleshooting steps -- like changing my password one more time -- but it did not help. Anne said she would open a ticket with iCloud Engineering.

Four full days later, on March 16th, Anne called and shared the results of the Engineering ticket she had opened. iCloud Engineering had reported that since my AppleID was a "reseller" account, they "couldn't do anything about it".

I explained to Anne that I had originally opened this Apple ID (blahblahblah@gmail.com) as a PERSONAL ACCOUNT way back in the early 2000s, probably around the time the iTunes Music Store had first opened for Windows users. It was not created as a "reseller ID".

As for why my AppleID is considered a "reseller ID" -- I used this same personal Apple ID to enroll in Apple Sales Web (ASW) and Apple Sales Training Online (ASTO) when I worked for an Apple Authorized Campus Store. I worked at the Apple Authorized Campus Store from August 2007 through May 2009.

So, if that makes my AppleID considered a "reseller ID", then that predates the very existence of iCloud backup and restore by at least two+ years. This doesn't explain why iCloud restores worked fine for over a year, then suddenly stopped. I even shared with Anne the exact date I knew iCloud restore last worked properly: December 26, 2012.

Here's how I know iCloud restore worked on that exact date: I had a Genius Bar appointment on that day, where my iPhone 5 was swapped out due to camera issues. The Genius and I backed up my old iPhone 5 to iCloud, and then restored my replacement iPhone 5 from iCloud using my blahblahblah@gmail.com Apple ID. We encountered no problems.

I challenged Anne on this assertion that my "Reseller ID" caused my iCloud restore not to function -- why did it work fine on December 26, 2012 and NOT March 11, 2013? Absolutely nothing changed -- PARTICULARLY not in any "reseller" related actions -- seeing as I hadn't worked at the Apple Authorized Campus Store since mid-2009.

The "reseller" excuse doesn't make logical sense -- why could something from 2007-2009 allow iCloud backup/restore to work fine for 2011 and 2012, and suddenly stop working in 2013?

Anne agreed that this seemed odd, and armed with the new information, said she would go back and push iCloud Engineering for more answers.

After not hearing from Anne for a week, I contacted her via email on March 23 and asked her for an update. Anne called me today, Sunday, March 24 and shared the bad news with me: iCloud Engineering continues to insist that because my Apple ID is a "reseller ID", there's "nothing they can do".

I vented my frustration with Anne. This does not make sense from a purely logical perspective. Look at the absurdity of this:

Me: iCloud backup and restore worked fine on my Apple ID from October 12, 2011 (iOS 5 launch) through at least December 26, 2012. AN APPLE GENIUS PERSONALLY WITNESSED IT WORKING ON DECEMBER 26, 2012. Somewhere between December 26, 2012 and March 11, 2013, it stopped working.

iCloud Engineering: Something you did from 2007-2009 made it stop working.

Me: But it worked correctly in 2011 and 2012 fine, only sometime in 2013 did it stop working.

iCloud Engineering: Yes, but something you did in 2007-2009 magically made it stop working in 2013, even though it worked all through 2011 and 2012. Just accept our flawed logic!


Anne apologized that my data is unable to be recovered, and put me on hold while she contacted the "compensation" department. After 20 minutes of really terrible hold music, she returned and told me that the "compensation" department didn't really want to compensate me for this. I was provided my case numbers, and a telephone number for "corporate" (it's a 408 area code). It turns out it just Apple's contact number that's posted quite publicly on their site. I am skeptical I will have any more luck with that number.

I did receive a refund for the extra iCloud storage I had purchased.

So here I am, two weeks later: hours of wasted time on the phone, $20 of my own money returned to me, my iCloud backup is still unrecoverable, and Apple's solution is to just accept that my data is lost and start a new iCloud account -- and absolutely no compensation for Apple refusing to provide access to my data.

I am honestly shocked at this behavior from Apple. You've lost customer data and you don't care? You don't want to do anything to make it right? Are you serious? This makes me sad.

Anyone have any ideas for next steps? I think I'm going to need to send Eddy Cue a letter.
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Old Oct 8, 2013, 10:05 AM   #5
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It was possible to solve the problem? I do the same thing.
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Old Oct 8, 2013, 01:26 PM   #6
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Interesting (in a bad way). Here's what I think: when you worked at that campus store you somehow got labeled a reseller. Which wasn't any problem until the iOS7 rollout. iOS7 doesn't like you old resellers. In short, the engineers don't know what happened to your backup. iCloud lost your ****.
26" iMac, iPad 2, TV, old iPod, iPod touch,
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