Do iCloud backups really get deleted immediately (appears not)

Discussion in 'Apple Music, Apple Pay, iCloud, Apple Services' started by Morac, Oct 12, 2013.

  1. Morac, Oct 12, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2013

    Morac macrumors 65816


    Dec 30, 2009
    Trying to fix an issue I decided to delete my iCloud backup for my iPad 2, turn off iCloud backup and do a restore and restore backup from iTunes. After everything finished, I turned iCloud backup and forced a backup.

    The backup finished in a few minutes (uploading about 40 MB according to my router), but the iCloud backup size showed as 1.5 GB (same as before). This makes absolutely no sense since it should have uploaded 1.5 GB.

    The only thing I can think of that makes sense is that when I deleted the backup, it didn't actually delete it. Then when I turned it back on, it simply used the old backup data and appended whatever changes I had made to it, like it normally does. I called Apple though and they said that's not how it works (they also claimed they saw 1 GB of data uploaded, despite my router reporting only 40 MB).

    Does anyone know what happens exactly if an iCloud backup is deleted and then a new backup is created on the same device a few hours later?


    The same thing can be seen, if for example I turn off backing up of the camera roll and then wait a bit and turn it back on and force a backup. My Camera Roll is 205 MB, but it only uploaded about 2 MB.

    The only thing I can guess is that the actual data isn't deleted when you delete a backup. It probably gets flagged for deletion and then gets deleted in the future.

    Can anyone reproduce my test by turning off backing up of a specific large item and see that the amount of data backed up, is much smaller than that?
  2. Morac thread starter macrumors 65816


    Dec 30, 2009
    Well I think I might have the answer though the answer makes no sense.

    I decided to take my unused iPhone 4S and do a restore from iCloud from my iPad 2 backup to see what it looked like. It appeared to be restoring app settings and purchases for most (but not all) apps. It didn't restore photos, but I stopped it mid restore, so I don't know if it would have done so after the apps.

    Anyway, I repeated the process and this time I chose to show all backups. It showed a backup for my iPad 2 that shouldn't have been there as it was before I re-enabled iCloud backup on my iPad. It looks to be about the time I deleted the iPad Cloud backup from my iPhone (during the sync process), but I'm not sure. I am sure it was before I made a backup after enabling back up. Plus I deleted the backup twice. The second time being after the sync finished. This backup was definitely

    There's only two possibilities I can think of and neither is "good":
    1. When I deleted the iPad iCloud backup from my iPhone it didn't actually delete, despite showing as gone.
    2. It was deleted, but somehow the iPad managed to do an iCloud backup despite no iCloud account being on the iPad.

    Since I deleted the backup again from my iPad and pre-deletion backup is still there, I'm leaning to #1. That would explain why the backup was doing a delta backup, but it doesn't explain why the backup was there in the first place.

    I did get a message stating that some items could not be restored and to use iTunes. I don't know if that's because I'm restoring an iPad backup to an iPhone or if something is wrong with the backup.
  3. Morac thread starter macrumors 65816


    Dec 30, 2009
    Well I deleted the backup again from my iPad and it no longer showed as available to restore. I then created a new backup, which appears to backup 56 MB.

    I then did a test by restoring my current iPhone iCloud backup to my old phone. First off it downloaded 140 MB before rebooting. Second when it rebooted, my ringtones and photos were there (photos had place holders, but I knew there were folders ).

    I stopped the restore and then tested restoring the iPad backup. It downloaded 85 MB before rebooting. When it rebooted, there were no ringtones or photos, despite the iPad having them, which should have been backed up. Either iPad to iPhone restores don't support tones and pictures, which I don't believe is the case, or they were never backed up despite saying they were.

    I noticed I could get iCloud to indicate there was an incomplete 1 GB backup before I even made a backup, so I don't think new backups are working correctly.

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