Apple Activity / Health data not in iCloud backup?


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 10, 2019

I'm missing a couple of years of my Apple Activity / Health data due to an user error.

So the timeline is:

I have been using Apple Watch 2 since October 2016 together with iPhone 7. Tracked all bike rides, walks etc since.

Bought a new iPhone XS November 2018. Set up as «new phone» paired with the same «old» Apple Watch. And all my Activity data and Health data was there actually. As I set it up as new I assume the Health data synced with iCloud?

So, this January 2019 i bought the Apple Watch 4 with eSIM. All set up and good to go! After fiddling around a bit I saw that there were many duplicates or instances of the Apple Watch under «Sources» and the list «DEVICES» in the Health App. So my OCD kicked in, and I deleted the instances that said «This Apple Watch is no longer paired with this iPhone»


Of course this was stupid, even though this is for me a common thing to do. For instance with a list of Bluetooth devices that are no longer in use etc. For me, it was just a cleanup of any other device list - at least I thought!

But of course I saw to my surprise, that all my old Health and Activity data was missing from the past two years.

I Googled a bit and saw that my Health data should be backed up via the iCloud backup, and I checked to see that I had an iCloud backup right before the change from iPhone 7 to the XS and I had! Did not have the time to do a reset and restore at the time, but slept well knowing that my data was in that backup.

So after doing a bit of research I had a plan.

These were the steps:

- Use a third party app called HealthFit, that can sync Apple Health data to other sources like Strava etc.

- Sync all my activities from Jan - to March 2019 with Strava - done! (really recommend this app)

- Reset my XS and restore it from the iPhone 7 iCloud backup from November 2018 - done!

- And just to be sure I reset the Apple Watch data from an old backup as well - done!

- Next step would have been to sync all my old Activities from Oct 2016 until Nocv 2018 with HealthFit, and then roll back to my latest XS iCloud backup from yesterday - or just do a clean up of the apps that I don't use anymore etc. This last bit is not as important as getting all my Activities

I have now done these steps. And the only Health data I can see is still the data from January to March this year? Even with the backup from Nov 2018?


So for me it seems that the Health / Activities is not included in the iCloud backup itself. But in another instance of iCloud outside of the actual backups?

I used a full day for this yesterday, reading up and down forum posts etc. Looking into third party apps and so on. And all i read is that it SHOULD be included in the iCloud Backup. I did an .xml export of the Health data from the Apple Health app as well, just to be sure it was not “hiding” somewhere inside there… But no luck - the data is gone!

Is there something I am missing, or is my Activity/Health data lost forever?

One of the ideas I have, is as I mentioned - that it is syncing with iCloud outside the backup (maybe in addition to be included in the backup as well) once the reset of the phone is done. Could it be an idea to do another reset, and then immediately turn off iCloud sync on Health under iCloud settings? To check if my data is there?

I have also read that some have stated that it took a few days before data started showing up? But that have only been cases where people have restored a new phone with an iCloud backup from the old one - but I feel that since I have actually deleted the history myself, even on the new phone months later, this might be another case.

All tips, tricks, ideas etc is much appreciated, thanks!



macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 10, 2019
I got a call from Apple Support now, and it seems the data is actually lost. Health data is NOT included in the iCloud Backups, it syncs with iCloud itself. Health data is ONLY backed up if you are using encrypted iTunes backup.

So since I stupidly deleted those devices myself, that data is probably gone forever... :(
I say probably because the support person from Apple was not completely sure In my case, but he was 100% sure that Health data is not included in the iCloud Backup itself, even with iCloud sync of Health on or off.

Only my own fault of course. But I have to say that it's very strange that we should have to have a device list that will just keep growing and growing with a lot of instances of the same device, as well as new and old ones that are not in use any longer. So in about 10 years time, there will be 20-30+ devices in that list... Will probably change by time, but, does not help me now.

Thanks anyway, I hope this helps anyone else with the same or similar issue. And again, I highly recommend syncing with HealthFit or any other app to your preferred platform like Strava etc.
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macrumors 6502a
Feb 5, 2016
West Jordan, Utah
I feel for ya, I've come SO CLOSE to doing exactly what you did.... I have had probably 7 or 8 Apple Watches, and they're all in there. I, being somewhat OCD myself, started to delete the oldest one, (a series 2 I had about a year and a half ago), and was reading through the warning and it said "Delete this source and data".... I got to thinking.... Then, "somewhere" I read that this would permanently delete the data in the Health App, so I swallowed my "neatness" OCD gene, and left it be. So close... LOL "There, but for the grace of God, go I"...


macrumors member
Mar 27, 2015
Limburg, The Netherlands
Same problem here. Did when I went from the Series 0 to Series 3. So I'm missing all those medals and stuff.
After going to a Series 4 I know better. Was really disappointed when I found out I've lost everything.