How to recover/undelete iPhone backup? HELP!

Micah McDowell

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 26, 2010
AAAARGH... Well, here's my story:

I purchased an iPhone 4 yesterday, intending to replace my 3GS which I wanted to reset and give to my mother who needed a new phone. I synced my 3GS as I do daily, then reset it. Then, I needed to give my mom the phone right away so I hooked it back to iTunes and synced as a new phone.

THEN, when I went to sync my iPhone 4, I found that the last sync DELETED MY BACKUP?!?! I obviously didn't think that one through far enough.

Now, I've got very important contacts, notes, and other files from that backup that I NEED back. First suggestion I've found was Time Machine, but unfortunately I don't have it set up on my old G5 Power Mac I sync to.

Second thought is using some form of recovery software (Data Rescue 3 or FileSalvage, perhaps). But, I don't know what files I'm looking for. Where do those backups go?

If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. Thanks a ton!


macrumors regular
May 8, 2010

Id call apple. I have not a clue what you would do other than that. They would be able to tell you what the files would look like which would be the place to start.

Aaron J

macrumors newbie
Jun 20, 2010
New Bern, NC
I did this same thing to my girlfriends iphone, I was unsuccessful in recovering anything. She was PISSED at me for it too!
good luck

Aaron J

macrumors newbie
Jun 20, 2010
New Bern, NC
did you check your iTunes preferences and under devices (looks like a little iPhone) may have kept an older back up there...


macrumors 68030
Feb 6, 2008
Does os x have a system restore option similar to Windows? I personally use time machine with my time capsule AND I back up online via Crashplan but a system restore option would be nice too I guess. Calling Apple is the right thing to do although I'm sure his computer is not eligible for free phone support anymore. Did you check the forums on Apple's site?


macrumors 601
Sep 21, 2008
It's gone unless you have a backup. I did a backup of my iPhone 4 before I decided to do a fresh install. I did it and decided against it. Little did I know, if you setup your new iPhone with the same name as your previous one, it overwrites any backup you had. Also, if you have "sync this iPhone automatically when connected" option checked in iTunes, you are also screwed.

Thankfully I have a backup done daily of my system. I was able to restore my previous backup of my phone. It was only off by two days and I didn't lose anything.

Apple should fix that and make it so a backup is renamed if you setup a new phone with the same name as the old. Pretty stupid.


macrumors 601
Jun 16, 2010
Do another restore and when it asks you to pick a back up click the pop down menu and pick one from an earlier date, or at least mine allows me to.


macrumors G5
Nov 7, 2007
New Sanfrakota
Right-click on your iPhone in the sidebar (in iTunes) and select Restore from backup. There should be more than one backup to select from (although they might share the same name) and try to find the old backup from the 3GS.