Fixed: Restoring iPhone Backup Causes Freezes or Reboot Loops After Restore

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Kelly Heffner Wilkerson

Categories: Development, iPhone | View Comments

I've been seeing a lot more boot-up/setup problems after restoring from an iPhone/iPad/iPod backup since iOS 11.3.1 came out. The problems usually manifests in one of a few ways:

  1. After restoring from your backup, the iPhone reboots repeatedly while starting up on that Apple logo screen.
  2. After restoring from your backup, the iPhone reboots while setting up your iPhone (like after putting in your WiFi password, or selecting the language and region.)
  3. After restoring from your backup, the iPhone freezes while booting up.
  4. After restoring from your backup, the iPhone freezes while you're setting up the iPhone.

We saw a large number of people with this problem when iOS 9 came out, which was due to old jail-break settings files lingering around causing unexpected problems. (Even if the device wasn't currently jail-broken, the settings can stick around from backup to backup for a long time!) We also saw a little patch of this in iOS 10, but this is the first time during iOS 11 that we've really seen this issue get popular again.

These are issues not caused by a "broken backup" per say. The backup itself is fine and iTunes doesn't give you an error restoring; instead it's that some of the contents in the backup have broken settings, or at least settings that trigger bugs in iOS.

For the various issues, I've been using our Decipher Phone Refresh software to "filter" out old settings files that are causing these kind of issues. We've had a lot of success doing this since iOS 11.3.1 came out!

Download Decipher Phone Refresh

  1. Select your backup in Decipher Phone Refresh.
  2. Follow along, and enter your license code. You'll need a registered version of Decipher Phone Refresh to keep more than Health and Apple Watch data in your backup.
  3. Select all of the checkboxes of data you'd like to keep in the "cleaned" backup. (This will still get rid of a lot of settings, even with everything on.)
  4. Follow along to the "Time to Restore" screen.
  5. If your iPhone is still currently frozen or stuck in a boot loop, plug it in to iTunes and click "Restore iPhone" to reinstall iOS from scratch (and ensure we've purged all of the bad settings files.)
  6. Now restore the "Decipher Cleaned" backup!
  7. After the phone reboots, unplug and re-plug into iTunes, and select "Setup as New" (rather than restore from backup again) when iTunes asks what to do with the iPhone.

If you have this problem with the iPhone getting frozen during setup or rebooting, and/or use Decipher Phone Refresh to fix the problem, leave us a comment below. Your comment helps us know how widespread a problem this bug is!