Today we're going to address a question from a customer:
I backed up my phone last night to iTunes before trading it in today...wiped the old phone and turned it in and then learned when I got home that the backup was "corrupt or not compatible" when trying to restore today. So essentially all I have on my new phone is my contacts, as they transfer when you log in with your Apple ID. I'm extremely upset as I have 2 years of pictures that have not been saved to my computer. How do I fix a corrupt or not compatible iTunes backup?
Corrupt iPhone/iPad/iPod backups can be a simple version mismatch issue, or be due to bugs in iTunes and iOS that affected the backup when it was made. Here's three different fixes for the iTunes could not restore the iPhone because the backup was corrupt or not compatible error messages in iTunes.
(Note: If you're getting the corrupt or not compatible message while trying to make a backup, then read this help article instead. You need different advice for a corrupt backup while making a backup. This help article is all about the corrupt or not compatible message for an iTunes restore.)
Corrupt or Not Compatible iTunes backup fix #1: Update the iPhone.
It's really common to get the corrupt or not compatible iTunes message when setting up a new iPhone, because your new iPhone was manufactured and packaged before the latest iOS updates came out. So, your shiny new iPhone comes out of the box running an older version of iOS than your old iPhone was running. I applaud your iPhone good-citizenship for keeping your iPhone up to date! The first you should try for your corrupt or not compatible iTunes backup is to update your new iPhone:
Step 1: Open iTunes and select your iPhone.
Step 2: Press the
Check For Updates or
Step 3: After the iOS update finishes, try to restore your backup again.
Corrupt or Not Compatible iTunes backup fix #2: Put the iPhone in Airplane Mode.
If you already set the iPhone up and just logged in to iCloud, it's possible that your iCloud services are syncing while you're trying to restore, causing a processing traffic jam. This is especially possible if you use iCloud Photo Library. Put the iPhone into airplane mode to stop the iCloud syncing, and try to restore the backup again.
Step 1: Open the iPhone
Step 2: Click the
Airplane Mode switch to turn on Airplane Mode.
Step 3: Try to restore the backup again.
Corrupt or Not Compatible iTunes backup fix #3: Repair the backup with Decipher Backup Repair.
If your iPhone is up to date and you're still getting the corrupt or not compatible message in iTunes, your backup may genuinely be corrupt! Just like any other app, the iPhone backup app has bugs sometimes, and those bugs lead to corrupt iPhone/iPad/iPod backups. We made Decipher Backup Repair to fix the bugs in corrupt iPhone backups after experiencing the "iTunes could not restore the iPhone because the backup was corrupt or not compatible" message ourselves and realizing it was a common problem.
Step 1: Open Decipher Backup Repair and select your corrupt iPhone backup.
Step 2: Follow along reading the errors found in your corrupt iPhone backup, and enter in your license code.
Step 3: Wait until you see the
Time to Restore screen, showing the iTunes instructions.
Step 4: Open iTunes, click
Restore Backup, and select the
Decipher Repaired backup.
Decipher Backup Repair creates a new copied backup, fixing the corrupt iPhone backup bugs on the new copy.
If you have questions or need help with Decipher Backup Repair, contact us via our support page. We offer a moneyback guarantee for all of our software — we'll help you get your corrupt or not compatible iPhone backup restored, or we'll refund your purchase.
Kelly Heffner Wilkerson is Decipher Tools' lead developer. She's been developing software for iPhones and iPhone backups since the App Store opened in 2008. Kelly earned her Master's Degree in Computer Science from Harvard University and her Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from the University of Arizona.