iCloud does NOT just continually save over itself?

james92se

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 21, 2010
818
27
Dallas, TX
I received my iPhone 5 on Wednesday and just used it as a new phone for a couple of days so that I could get it unlocked and then restore as new in iTunes to confirm the unlock (which was successful btw).

Anyway, so I just got around to restoring from my 4S iCloud backup yesterday evening. All went according to plan and I made quite a few changes deleting apps and installing new apps and rearranging things etc. So when I went to bed I wanted to backup to iCloud to get all my new changes saved.

I woke up this morning to some sort of message about my phone not backing up because I do not have enough space in iCloud. My backup is only about 3 GB total so I very confused.

I always just assumed that iCloud continually "writes" (physical hard drive type term for lack of a better word) over itself with each new save. Is that not the case when going to a new device/model? Looking at my iCloud settings it looks like it's separating out "space" for my 4S and "space" for my 5 in the cloud, which leaves me without enough free space to backup my 5.

This is what I show:








So, I just want to make sure I understand this correctly. Since my phone is RIGHT NOW exactly how I want it (and does contain all my 4S data, obviously), can I just delete the 4S backup from iCloud, then just backup my phone and go forward like that?

Conversely, I assume one could indefinitely keep their 4/4S backup saved in "the cloud" and use their 5 as a fresh phone and maintain BOTH of those backups in their single iCloud account and theoretically switch back and forth as necessary? If so, I can definitely see the benefit of that but it's not something I need/want to do.
 

nikhsub1

macrumors 68020
Jun 19, 2007
2,077
915
mmmm... jessica.'s beer...
I think what is happening is iCloud is seeing 2 different devices, your 4s and your 5... so it keeps the backups separate. What you should do (if you no longer have the 4s) is delete that backup from iCloud and then you will only have the one for your 5.
 

Tyler23

macrumors 603
Dec 2, 2010
5,652
157
Atlanta, GA
I had the same issue. Restored from my 4S backup, then deleted that backup, and did my first backup from my iPhone 5. All has been well since then.
 

HazyCloud

macrumors 68030
Jun 30, 2010
2,749
13
I think what is happening is iCloud is seeing 2 different devices, your 4s and your 5... so it keeps the backups separate. What you should do (if you no longer have the 4s) is delete that backup from iCloud and then you will only have the one for your 5.
This is correct. Imagine if you had a work iPhone and a personal iPhone. You wouldn't want your iCloud backups overwriting each other.
 

sakau2007

macrumors 6502
Oct 12, 2011
484
2
So, I just want to make sure I understand this correctly. Since my phone is RIGHT NOW exactly how I want it (and does contain all my 4S data, obviously), can I just delete the 4S backup from iCloud, then just backup my phone and go forward like that?

This is how I understand it, but before you delete all your stuff from the cloud, I'd wait on someone who is more sure than myself.
 

HazyCloud

macrumors 68030
Jun 30, 2010
2,749
13
This is how I understand it, but before you delete all your stuff from the cloud, I'd wait on someone who is more sure than myself.
Yes you can. Deleting the earlier backups will not affect any current data on the device. Once you delete the older backups, just backup to iCloud and be on your way.
 

james92se

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 21, 2010
818
27
Dallas, TX
I think what is happening is iCloud is seeing 2 different devices, your 4s and your 5... so it keeps the backups separate. What you should do (if you no longer have the 4s) is delete that backup from iCloud and then you will only have the one for your 5.
That's what I figured I should do, just wanted to double check

This is correct. Imagine if you had a work iPhone and a personal iPhone. You wouldn't want your iCloud backups overwriting each other.
That definitely makes sense and I can for sure see the benefit of that.

My brother just recently got the 5 as well. He had something like several thousand pictures on his 4. He set his 5 up as a new phone and has his 4 backed up in iCloud. He DOES want to save all the pictures from his 4 but doesn't really want them on his new phone.

So he could maintain both the 4 and 5 backups separately in iCloud (assuming he buys enough space to store both). And when he is ready to deal with all the pictures from his 4, he could just temporarily restore to the 4 backup, transfer all those pictures to an external hard drive or whatever he wants to do, then restore back to the 5?
 
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