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Restore Your iOS Device from an iCloud Backup

As long as you have a successful backup of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch's contents stored on iCloud, you can restore your device from anywhere there's a Wi-Fi Internet connection, should something go wrong with your device.

Or, if your iOS device is lost or stolen and you need to replace it, when you activate that replacement device using iOS 5, you'll have the option to Restore from iCloud. You can use your backup files from your previous device to restore to a replacement device.

While you can upgrade from an iPhone 4 to an iPhone 5 using iCloud Backup (if the iPhone 4 was previously running iOS 5, and the iCloud Backup feature was used), you cannot restore any iPhone from an iPad backup, for example, nor can you restore an iPad from an iPhone backup.

If you have iCloud set up to work with your iOS device, in addition to using the optional iCloud Backup feature, all of your previous iTunes Store, App Store, iBookstore, and Newsstand purchases are automatically available to you at anytime via iCloud on any of your iOS devices. Plus, you can set up your iOS device to back up and sync app-specific data from Contacts, Calendar, Mail, and Safari, for example, and also use the Photo Stream feature to store up to 1,000 digital images within your iCloud account, so they are accessible from any computer or iOS device that's linked to that account. These are all separate from using the iCloud Backup feature.

iCloud Backup Pros and Cons

The main benefit to using iCloud Backup is that you can perform a Restore from virtually anywhere, and not have to first connect your iOS device to your primary computer via a USB cable. This is convenient if something goes wrong with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch while you're on a trip, for example, and can't physically connect your iOS device to your computer.

The drawback to using iCloud Backup is that you must keep your device within a Wi-Fi hotspot's signal radius, and have it plugged into an external power source for it to automatically perform the backup procedure daily.

In addition to using the traditional iTunes Sync process or the iCloud Backup process, a third option for maintaining a backup of your iOS device is to use the new Wireless iTunes Sync process, which is also available from within iOS 5. This is a wireless backup method that allows you to back up your iOS device to your primary computer, without connecting the computer and iPhone or iPad via a USB cable.

For Wireless iTunes Backup to work, both your computer and iOS device need to be connected to the same wireless home network, and the latest version of the iTunes software needs to be running on your computer. The backup files created using Wireless iTunes Sync are stored on your computer's hard drive (not on the iCloud service). The iCloud Backup feature needs to be turned off if you opt to use Wireless iTunes Sync as opposed to iCloud Backup.

It does not matter which backup process you utilize, as long as you pick one, and then use it regularly.

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