Forgot iPhone encrypted backup password

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by mollyc, Aug 18, 2016.

  1. mollyc, Aug 18, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2016

    mollyc macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2016
    #1
    I will preface this by saying I already know the answer, but hope there is new info out there I haven't found yet. :mad:

    I upgraded my iPhone last fall, and in doing so, set an encrypted password to set up my new phone. Everything transferred fine and I have had no issues. I was also very deliberate in hanging on to the password until I was sure the backup worked because I knew I would have to set iTunes to "unencrypt" it at some point.

    Apparently in my excitement about having a new phone I never actually did remove the password, and now I have no idea what I used (I have a suspicion as to part of the password, but have tried various combinations to no avail). I do have a password keeper on my computer (iMac) but never entered that one because I assumed it was temporary and I no longer needed it.

    I have no actual need at this point to restore my phone or access the backup, but I would like to remove the password.

    Is there a way to effectively remove/delete my existing encrypted backup file so that I can start fresh? I don't care about the existing backup if I can make a new, unencrypted one (and then be sure to write down any new password for it.o_O)

    All of the things I've googled have sent me to a Windows based password cracking program, but I'm on an iMac with no access to a PC. I do, however, have access to another iMac, if it would be possible to back up there, then transfer that backup to my current computer????

    I suspect I am just screwed here, through my own fault, and that when the time comes for a new phone I will just have to start fresh on it. I back up all my photos through Dropbox, which really is the only thing irreplaceable, other than game data that might be saved. I'd be annoyed to lose game data but it wouldn't be the end of the world.

    Does anyone have any suggestions of things to try? I cannot find the password in my iMac Keychain.

    Thanks.
     
  2. mollyc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2016
  3. laudern macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
    #3
    Do you need to have the password to untick the encryption tick box in iTunes to make a new backup do you?
     
  4. mollyc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2016
    #4
    Yes, in order to uncheck the encryption box you must know the original password.
     
  5. KALLT, Aug 18, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2016

    KALLT macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    #5
    It is not possible. An erase and new setup (without restoring) is the only solution. I am guessing that a new iPhone would not be tied to this limitation, so you might be able to transfer the data with an iCloud backup. I suggest that you use this if you are unwilling to set up your device again.
     
  6. mollyc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2016
    #6
    if I were to back it up to a different computer (another iMac), would the phone know it was already encrypted elsewhere?

    I know I've already read that it's not possible in a thousand other places, I am just grasping at straws and trying to think outside the box.

    I totally get that the password can't be reset, and I understand why (and agree with it)....but at the same time, I don't get why (theoretically) one can't delete a backup and start over, since presumably you need the phone to start a new backup.
     
  7. KALLT, Aug 18, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2016

    KALLT macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    #7
    You cannot sync an iPhone with another iTunes library once you set it up, that includes backups. It will only allow you to erase all data and begin anew.

    It is a good question. Apple should offer a method within the phone to disconnect from a local backup or ask iTunes to destroy it. There is no reason why the key could not be stored or accessed on the phone. But as it currently stands, that is just not an option Apple provides.
     
  8. mollyc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2016
    #8
    Out of curiosity, why do the paid for code crackers for this problem only exist for Windows based computers? Honestly I don't have anything on my phone that I couldn't recreate manually, as tedious as that would be, except some game data, so a $70 recovery option for me doesn't make sense. But I know a couple of them give you the first two characters for a trial version, which may well be enough to jog my memory. But I have no access to a Windows PC to try anyway.
     
  9. KALLT macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    #9
    I have no answer to that question. Have you checked whether the game data can be synced with iCloud Drive or Facebook or perhaps even a specific account? All three are very widely supported in iOS games. All of the stuff that you synced from iTunes to your iPhone can also be synced again after the device has been reset. The only data you might lose is data within apps that is not synced with iCloud, predominantly SMS/iMessage.
     
  10. GalFieri macrumors regular

    GalFieri

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2016
    Location:
    California
    #10
    Check Keychain on your iMac to see if it was ever saved there, unless that's what you were referring to with "password keeper".

    Otherwise there really isn't anything else you can do.

    EDIT: Oh, I missed the very last bit of your post. Sorry.
     
  11. mollyc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2016
    #11

    Yes, thank you...I have ton of passwords stored in keychain, but that one for some reason doesn't show up. I have no idea why it wouldn't be in there, since I've only ever backed up to this computer with an encryption password.
     
  12. KALLT macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    #12
    ‘iPhone’ or ‘Backup’ in Keychain Access does not turn anything up? It should be in the ‘login’ keychain.

    Storing the password in your keychain is optional, iTunes does not need it to make backups (presumably because a token is stored on the device or in iTunes). When you enable backup encryption, there is a checkbox you need to check to also store in your keychain.
     
  13. mollyc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2016
    #13
    No, the only thing I can find is an entry for Handoff Decryption Key, which is around the same date as when I transferred phoned, but clicking on the "Show Password" button doesn't actually show anything. And Handoff isn't likely the same thing as the backup. Nothing else pops up in the right date range.

    I typically store things in keychain, but don't remember that option specifically.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 23, 2016 ---
    I do have Time Machine backups to then. If I restored Keychain from near then, is is possible the password would show up then? I've only ever restored specific documents. Can I restore Keychain.app? What happens to current passwords if I do that?
     
  14. KALLT macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    #14
    You can go back to an earlier point and locate the login keychain in your user library, under Keychains. There you select it and click restore. It will ask you what to do. You should select ‘keep both’. Afterwards you can simply open the old keychain with Keychain Access and view it. When you found it, you can copy the password over and simply delete that duplicate keychain from Keychain Access by clicking on it in the sidebar.

    Before you open the Time Machine application, you should go to the keychain directory. You can do that by pressing command–shift–G in Finder and then entering the following: ‘~/Library/Keychains’ (without quotes).
     
  15. mollyc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2016
    #15

    Which file would I restore, then? Not Keychain.app but something from my Library? I have 6 files in the Library folder, accountStatus.plist, keychain-2.db, keychain-2.db-shm, keychain-2.db-wal and user.kb.

    Thanks so much for your help. Not sure this will work, but it is more likely than me just magically remembering. o_O
     
  16. KALLT macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    #16
    Wait, I made a small mistake. You should just copy the entire keychain directory to your current system. Still choose ‘keep both’. You need to open the login.keychain file.
     
  17. mollyc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2016
    #17
    I restored the specific date of a 2015 folder to a temporary folder (so as not to mess with my existing Keychain info, even though I copied it and saved it to my desktop). But when I double click on the 2015 login.keychain file, it just opens my current info (with current dates). The Keychain app doesn't seem to want to read the old file. Should I just replace the 2016 folder with the 2015 info? Or will that not work?
     
  18. KALLT macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    #18
    I am actually not sure. You could also create a temporary user account and copy the keychain directory there.
     
  19. deadpupet Suspended

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2016
  20. mollyc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2016
    #20
    Yup. Wasn't in keychain.

    I never did remember the password for the backup. When the time comes, I will just have to set everything up as new instead of doing a restore. Really the only thing I will lose is maybe some game data, but most games connect to facebook now anyway, so even that isn't a huge deal.
     
  21. mollyc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2016
    #21
    I found my password! I recently moved my computer to a different area and was doing some organizing this morning and came across the piece of paper I'd written my password on! My backup is no longer encrypted! Yay!
     

Share This Page