Is it worth it to setup a new a new phone as "new"? ...

cmeisenzahl

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 7, 2005
330
27
Since the 4S I've gotten a new iPhone every year, and have restored my new phone from the latest iCloud backup.

Coming from many years in the Windows world I'm aware of how helpful it can be to reinstall Windows OS every year or so. On Windows (and I guess to a lesser extent, OS X), when you uninstall an app the system is never quite the same as before it was installed. Preferences files hang around, system extensions don't get removed, various other files never get removed. On Windows there are numerous registry entries, etc.

Is this the same as iOS? Since I haven't setup a new iPhone as "new" in several years, is my current 6S Plus rife with "cruft?" Or does iOS really keep itself clean? Is it worth starting from scratch on this phone?

Thanks in advance,
Chris
 

Armen

macrumors 604
Apr 30, 2013
7,391
2,274
Los Angeles
Since the 4S I've gotten a new iPhone every year, and have restored my new phone from the latest iCloud backup.

Coming from many years in the Windows world I'm aware of how helpful it can be to reinstall Windows OS every year or so. On Windows (and I guess to a lesser extent, OS X), when you uninstall an app the system is never quite the same as before it was installed. Preferences files hang around, system extensions don't get removed, various other files never get removed. On Windows there are numerous registry entries, etc.

Is this the same as iOS? Since I haven't setup a new iPhone as "new" in several years, is my current 6S Plus rife with "cruft?" Or does iOS really keep itself clean? Is it worth starting from scratch on this phone?

Thanks in advance,
Chris
I do it every time I get a new iPhone and at least once every 3-4 months.
 
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SgtPepper23

macrumors regular
Oct 13, 2010
167
38
Los Angeles, California
Some things like Text Messages, Mail and attachments usually are kept, even in backups. when i got my latest, i started new, no backup settings nor texts. it was a minor thing to get used to, not seeing all the messages since i've been on iPhone, but i made backups of them minutes before i traded in my old phone!
 

Risco

macrumors 68000
Jul 22, 2010
1,767
153
United Kingdom
Does not make a difference for me, unless you are having issues. I don't like doing it because Sky are stupid and a restore means I have to reactive my SkyGo on a clean install.
 

Sekelani

macrumors 6502
May 26, 2012
273
76
It's all up too you. I've never had any bad experiences when restoring from back up but some people feel it's a need. It has it's pros and cons.
Pros are your phone will be fresh with default setting with a bigger possibility there won't be any bugs compared to restoring from s backup file which may pass on some errors.

The cons are you gotta manually set up every app you and on your previous device. I've done it both ways and honestly haven't noticed a difference.
If you have issues with your device, set it up has new brother.
 

KALLT

macrumors 603
Sep 23, 2008
5,136
3,183
Is this the same as iOS? Since I haven't setup a new iPhone as "new" in several years, is my current 6S Plus rife with "cruft?" Or does iOS really keep itself clean?
No, no and yes. iOS apps are sandboxed and they don’t have access to the overall file system. When you install an app, the system will create a unique container with a number of subcontainers that the app can access through APIs. Even app settings will just be stored as a file in one of these containers (no such thing as a registry). It will not be able to go outside of its own container. When you delete the app, the system will completely remove that container and it will not be retrievable.

When you make a backup, iTunes or iCloud won’t save everything. Pretty much only your containers (Apple’s own apps use them as well), system settings and your media. When you restore from backup, your system is pretty much a clean install in which iTunes or iCloud will simply import your app containers and your media again. The system rebuilds caches and indexes automatically after this and of course periodically while you use or upgrade your system.

That’s the general impression I got from the developer materials and some testing with Apple’s developer tools. It seems all pretty sophisticated and I doubt that Apple leaves data behind when users can’t access anything. I still have the same system since the iPhone 3G, which I passed on from backup to backup, to my iPhone 4, a temp iPhone 4, a new iPhone 4 and my iPhone 6. My iPhone is working flawlessly and I see no reason why a clean slate should change that.

Even on OS X there is pretty much no need to do a clean install. OS X and iOS don’t have a registry and although applications can access the file system, it is typically trivial to clean up applications after you deleted them. Just enjoy your iPhone like you usually do and let Apple worry about how your phone works.
 

sunking101

macrumors 604
Sep 19, 2013
6,710
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Deleting my back up and setting up as new was the biggest iPhone mistake I made. I actually have bugs and issues now that I didn't have with my backup, plus I've cost myself hours of hassle. Try your backup and unless it's giving you problems then stick with it.
 

Abazigal

macrumors G5
Jul 18, 2011
12,911
10,982
Singapore
I can't say I have experienced any loss in performance from restoring my devices from backup. With the exception of iMessage, all my files are synced via icloud, and can be readily downloaded to any device anyways. There really should be an option to back up my SMSes to icloud and restore from there, IMO. Even Whatsapp has hopped on board.
 

KALLT

macrumors 603
Sep 23, 2008
5,136
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There really should be an option to back up my SMSes to icloud and restore from there, IMO. Even Whatsapp has hopped on board.
But iMessage is a separate service unrelated to iCloud. You don’t have to log in to receive iMessages and even if you do you can use a separate Apple ID. I think the challenge with iMessage is that Apple has to consider encryption, especially since iOS 8 offers end-to-end encryption. Using iCloud means that your messages are either not encrypted before uploading or the encryption key is sent along with them, which makes the service vulnerable again. SMS are of course not encrypted, but it would be weird if you could upload SMS but not iMessage.

I’m not sure how WhatsApp does it, but I suspect that they have to do something similar. When you log in on a new device and download your backup from iCloud, WhatsApp will probably not decrypt them separately, but rely on iCloud’s security. If they do, then the key has to come from somewhere else, presumably their servers.
 

thekayman

macrumors 6502
Oct 23, 2014
290
47
What size phone do you have? I have a 16GB iPhone 6 and the infamous "other" storage has a habit of swelling out of proportion over time, so periodically I have to restore and set up as new just to regain my precious space. If you have a 64GB phone this should be a non-issue.

Performance wise it doesn't really make any difference.
 
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typicaluser

macrumors regular
Sep 15, 2013
142
64
I do it every time I get a new iPhone and at least once every 3-4 months.
Do you have to reinstall previous apps one by one after set up your phone as new and not restoring any backups? And what about app data? Do you lose all app data, for example, message record of Whatapp?
 

BigDO

macrumors 6502a
Dec 9, 2012
837
1,366
I've been restoring from backup ever since the 3GS, and never had any problems. The "set up as new" is unfounded nonsense unless you're troubleshooting a problem, which is the only time it makes sense.

As an aside, why would you want to keep your old SMSs?
 

jtrue28

macrumors 6502a
Apr 10, 2015
778
354
Lexington, KY
The important thing to me is, never set up the device from an iCloud backup. That's where issues come up. I ALWAYS set up the new device from backup, but while it is connected to my home PC with the latest version of iTunes.
 

Armen

macrumors 604
Apr 30, 2013
7,391
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Los Angeles
Do you have to reinstall previous apps one by one after set up your phone as new and not restoring any backups? And what about app data? Do you lose all app data, for example, message record of Whatapp?
Do you have to reinstall previous apps one by one after set up your phone as new and not restoring any backups? - Yes

And what about app data? Most of the apps I use keep their data in the cloud so it's not really an issue for me.
 

sunking101

macrumors 604
Sep 19, 2013
6,710
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As an example...

I set up my 6S+ with my iCloud backup. It's a backup I've been using and adding to since my iPhone 4 days so it's rather old but has previously given me no problems. However, due to my iCloud account not auto-backing up I decided to do a Spring clean and set up as new. I installed a fresh version of iOS9 and deleted my old backup from iCloud. What's strange is that certain apps now don't appear in the notifications panel of settings and others don't appear in the mobile data settings.

So my old backup had brought over settings which don't really exist in iOS9 where certain apps are concerned. It would appear that some apps need updating to function correctly in iOS9 and yet my old iCloud backup had them working perfectly fine! Why is this and is it a good or bad thing? I have done five clean installs without using a backup to try and cure this perceived fault with certain apps but I can only assume that they aren't fully compatible with iOS9....or that early builds of iOS9 are buggy and my old iCloud backup somehow circumvented this.

Oh and my iCloud account still doesn't back up automatically so I'm left with a phone that doesn't function as well as if I had installed my backup, and I have wasted hours trying to cure an iCloud issue to no avail.:mad:
 
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jtrue28

macrumors 6502a
Apr 10, 2015
778
354
Lexington, KY
More unsubstantiated nonsense. What do you base that statement on?
Personal experience. Every time I have done this, I have issues with things being restored properly.

On the other hand, when I do the restore from iTunes, it works flawlessly. One would assume using the same backup info...

Your turn.
 

BigDO

macrumors 6502a
Dec 9, 2012
837
1,366
Personal experience. Every time I have done this, I have issues with things being restored properly.

On the other hand, when I do the restore from iTunes, it works flawlessly. One would assume using the same backup info...

Your turn.
Lol. Look up "anecdotal evidence".

I've never had a problem restoring from iCloud. Does that imply that it works 50% of the time? :D
 

jtrue28

macrumors 6502a
Apr 10, 2015
778
354
Lexington, KY
Sure OP, have at it. Take the folks who have responded, with their experiences with grains of salt. Who knows what will happen to you. Could be glorious, but could also be a disaster. Prayers sent.
 

FSMBP

macrumors 68030
Jan 22, 2009
2,521
1,501
More unsubstantiated nonsense. What do you base that statement on?
Every single time by myself or with a friend I've gone to the Genius Bar, if their standard remedies don't work, they will ask you to setup it up a new device & see if your issues persist. It is a last resort method but the fact that they have it explains a lot (it's not like they want to waste your time).

Also, although iOS is great, bugs can be carried-over when restoring from Back-Ups (just like OS X). It's like people who say it's "unsubstantiated nonsense" to quit apps in iOS; there is a reason Apple makes it possible for you to quit apps and that apps are not perfect.

If you want complete peace-of-mind, I would recommend setting it up as new. I'm not saying things will run perfect, but at least you know if you're experiencing issues that it isn't from a buggy Back-Up.
 

BigDO

macrumors 6502a
Dec 9, 2012
837
1,366
Every single time by myself or with a friend I've gone to the Genius Bar, if their standard remedies don't work, they will ask you to setup it up a new device & see if your issues persist. It is a last resort method but the fact that they have it explains a lot (it's not like they want to waste your time).

Also, although iOS is great, bugs can be carried-over when restoring from Back-Ups (just like OS X). It's like people who say it's "unsubstantiated nonsense" to quit apps in iOS; there is a reason Apple makes it possible for you to quit apps and that apps are not perfect.

If you want complete peace-of-mind, I would recommend setting it up as new. I'm not saying things will run perfect, but at least you know if you're experiencing issues that it isn't from a buggy Back-Up.
As I said, setting up from scratch is a troubleshooting step. What you describe above corroborates that. Suggesting that people who never had issues restoring from backup set up as new just to "keep it fresh" is nonsense.
 

FSMBP

macrumors 68030
Jan 22, 2009
2,521
1,501
As I said, setting up from scratch is a troubleshooting step. What you describe above corroborates that. Suggesting that people who never had issues restoring from backup set up as new just to "keep it fresh" is nonsense.
Preventive measures are not nonsense...its like saying eating healthy is nonsense if you don't have health problems. It's okay for you not to agree with someone but calling their opinions nonsense & being stubborn doesn't help your case.
 
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