iPhone Upgrade X -> XsMax apps did not restore

jtara

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Original poster
Mar 23, 2009
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I back up my devices locally on my Mac Mini with iTunes and/or Apple Configurator 2. I get a new phone every year with ATT Next. I upgraded this year from iPhone X to XsMax. I haven't returned the X yet, I have only a couple more days to return it.

I did a backup of my iPhone X just before activating the Xs. It was a big confusing, because the XsMax came with 12.0, and so I first had to update the new phone to 12.1, as I already had 12.1 on the X and so couldn't restore that image until update. I wiped the new phone after update as per the instructions (which doesn't make sense to me, but OK I did it anyway...)

This has worked flawlessly in the past as I have worked my way from iPhone 3G to present. Until now!

Now, I realize that apps are no longer backed-up locally, but are re-downloaded from the App Store. But...

None of my apps restored. I have only the built-in apps now on the XsMax. The apps that I do have are in the folders I'd moved them to on the X. But it is only the built-in apps, and any folder that didn't have a built-in app in it is now missing. (Along with it's apps, of course.)

I did some Google searches, and mostly what I found talked about "stuck icons". I have no "stuck icons". When I go into the App Store on the Xs, there are no spinning icons. Just download icons.

So, sure, I can go through one by one and download apps, then painfully move them all to the folders and create folders that are missing. But, to me, that's not the way backup is supposed to work!

I don't want to "download all" because over that many years, there are many apps that I no longer use.

Then what about the data the apps held? That was backed-up to my Mac Mini, right? Will I get app data back this way?

Anybody have this happen to you, and if so, did you find a solution that gets back the apps that you had on your old phone, in the same folders?
 

gsmornot

macrumors 68040
Sep 29, 2014
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I left local backup years ago so can only tell you about iCloud but it should share the basics. Assume your X had newer software than your new phone the process would be this: setup your new phone as a new device, give basic replies to everything during the setup process, reach the home screen and update the software. Once updated, erase all settings which resets the phone to the state it was coming out of the box. At that point, proceed with the setup/restore as you would normally. In your case, connect again to iTunes and select the backup you want to use for restore. You should then see everything. Not seeing the apps tells me you have not restored the phone using your previous backup.
 

NoBoMac

Moderator
Staff member
Jul 1, 2014
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881
Wild guess, as I have not paid close attention to process steps with iTunes...

Seem to recall that iTunes will do a backup before update. Can see a sequence of events where new phone did the quick setup (copy settings from old phone wirelessly), backed up to iTunes, then did update. So, MAYBE, old backup replaced with newer half-state one? But like said, really wild guess as makes no sense that folders with only builtin apps show up vs. downloaded apps and their folders.

Might go into Devices in iTunes to see if still have an older backup and try restoring from that.
 

BugeyeSTI

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Aug 19, 2017
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Arizona
When I setup my X last year i updated the OS then erased all content and settings. I placed the X next to my 6s, it recongnized the new phone and it asked me if I wanted to quick setup my X using my 6s. After using this process, everything on the new phone was identical to the old phone.. Worked great
 

jtara

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Original poster
Mar 23, 2009
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I'm going to try again. I will back up the X again, just to be sure I won't be restoring from a backup of the XsMax. Then reset/erase the XsMax and just plug in to my Mac Mini, skipping the quick setup.

I think my mistake was doing the quick setup, and THEN doing restore from Mac Mini. Not sure what I was thinking. I was thinking, oh, it's just going to set my WiFi password, iTunes, account, etc.

But if I'm going to restore from the Mini, there's no need for all that.
 

MisterSavage

macrumors 68000
Nov 10, 2018
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I'm going to try again. I will back up the X again, just to be sure I won't be restoring from a backup of the XsMax. Then reset/erase the XsMax and just plug in to my Mac Mini, skipping the quick setup.
That's what I was going to suggest.

I hit a problem last year when I got my iPhone X. I couldn't do a restore from my old phone because I had upgraded the old phone to the latest version, which was higher than what the X was out of the box. I couldn't upgrade the X for hours because it was launch day and I assume the servers were slammed. Fun times. However, once I was able to upgrade the X I did a restore and all of my apps were arranged like on my old phone. I did everything through iTunes.
 

papbot

macrumors 6502a
May 19, 2015
508
134
I'm going to try again. I will back up the X again, just to be sure I won't be restoring from a backup of the XsMax. Then reset/erase the XsMax and just plug in to my Mac Mini, skipping the quick setup.

I think my mistake was doing the quick setup, and THEN doing restore from Mac Mini. Not sure what I was thinking. I was thinking, oh, it's just going to set my WiFi password, iTunes, account, etc.

But if I'm going to restore from the Mini, there's no need for all that.
Just remember that iTunes no longer restores any apps. All apps are downloaded from the App Store based on the data and settings in your backups. That’s why I stopped using iTunes fro restores and setups years ago. You seem to have tried to use both methods at the same time. That’s kinda frightening. I only use iTunes as a fall back in case iCloud restore fails which it never has, fingers crossed. Or if you have a major problem and have to wipe the device which seems to be what you’re doing now. Although just erasing all content and settings on the device and then going through the set up screens and restoring from the last iCloud backup you made of the device it’s replacing should be sufficient.
 

jtara

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Mar 23, 2009
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Or if you have a major problem and have to wipe the device which seems to be what you’re doing now
Actually, when I updated from iOS 12.0 to 12.1 on my iPhone X, for some reason it needed to do a restore. Worked flawlessly, though.

I do not currently back-up to iCloud. I suppose I could let the iPhone X backup to iCloud as a precaution, but I'd rather not cloud back-up a device that I'm going to almost immediately turn-in on my Next plan.

Oh, it looks like you have to choose to back-up to either iCloud or local computer, not both. At least that seems the case in iTunes. It's a radio button choice, not check-box...

Just one more "Apple muddles the UI" pain point. They've lost their touch at clear UI. (Still occasionally getting the clueless "Trust this computer?" message on my Apple Watch. To which my internal muttered response is "WHICH COMPUTER?". Apple: HELLO! Do you think it would be helpful to know which computer?
 
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jtara

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Mar 23, 2009
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Success!

Backed up my iPhone X again to be sure. Erased the iPhone XsMax again. Plugged XsMax into Mac Mini. Takes a while for the "set up your new phone" dialog to come up on desktop. I think that's what threw me the last time. The phone comes up with the "Hello...' and wants to lead you through setup steps, which you must ignore. It restored from my backup, and when it rebooted, it started to download apps - all in the right folders.
 

papbot

macrumors 6502a
May 19, 2015
508
134
Oh, it looks like you have to choose to back-up to either iCloud or local computer, not both. At least that seems the case in iTunes. It's a radio button choice, not check-box...
I have mine set to do the automatic iCloud backups but once a week I manually backup all my iOS devices to iTunes just to have a fallback if necessary. But for several years now I have done all set ups and restores through iCloud.

Years ago I had one bad experience using an iCloud restore process. Not everything was arranged properly on my screens and I had to manually find and organize my apps and folders. But since then I’ve used iCloud and found it simpler and faster than using iTunes. As long as you have a decently fast internet connection. But since all apps have to be downloaded from the App Store whether or not you use iTunes or iCloud the time element is not significant.