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Software update when 'restoring' ipad


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 8, 2010
In the year and a half that I have owned my ipad, I have needed to 'restore' it a few times. And every time I do it, it checks to see if the software is up to date.

It is always running the latest version, but yet itunes always insists on spending an _hour and a half_ downloading the same software that is already on the ipad and "updating" it before it restores. Every. Time.

Why is this?


macrumors 68020
Feb 17, 2011
Spokane, WA
Because a common reason to restore, is a corrupt download or .ipsw file. iTunes is making sure that it puts a good copy of iOS on the device.


macrumors regular
Sep 14, 2009
A restore means that iTunes replaces/reinstalls the software and firmware on the device. In order to do that, it needs the image from Apple. In the past, the only way to update your iOS device was through iTunes, so iTunes always had the latest image you had updated to, and didn't have to download it when you wanted to perform a restore. That all changed with iOS 5, which introduced over-the-air updates directly on the device, allowing you to bypass iTunes when updating. If you've been keeping your iPad up-to-date using over-the-air updates (rather than tethered updates through iTunes) then iTunes does not have the latest images on hand, and it must download them before it can perform the restore.

If this is bothersome to you, perhaps you should try "Restore from Backup" instead of "Restore". You can access this option by right-clicking on the iPad in the iTunes left-hand sidebar. This just restores your personal backed-up data to the device and does not do a full reinstallation of the software & firmware.

Alternately, you could try "Erase All Content & Settings" from the device's Settings > General menu, then do a "Restore from Backup" as described above. Make sure you actually have a backup in iTunes or iCloud before you attempt this.

Neither of these two options is equivalent to a full restore, but perhaps you don't need a full restore.
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