How to Fix an iPhone Backup that Causes Freezes or Repeated Rebooting

   No ratings yet.
Kelly Heffner Wilkerson

Categories: iPhone, Development | View Comments

Every so often, we receive emails about iPhones or iPads that are stuck frozen or rebooting after setting them up or restoring from a backup. Here's a few example scenarios, as voiced by our awesome customers.

Restoring a backup causes a loop of repeating restarts:

But I cannot access through "Restore from Backup" function in iTunes. When this is tried iPad goes into a restart loop (white apple icon against black background on iPad screen) and does not restart. Had to restore iPad to initial factory settings. Lost all data that was on iPad. When restoring iPad from a different back-up done after restoring iPad to factory it works as it should and restores data.

"Transfer Directly from iPhone" causes the new iPhone to freeze while booting:

I recently bought an iPhone 11 pro and my previous is an iPhone 8 Plus. I used the wireless transfer, and after it finishes the new iPhone can not turn on stuck in the apple loading bar forever.

The iPhone setup glitches and restarts after restoring a backup:

The back up I just uploaded is stuck on "enter apple id" it will say "updating icloud settings" and then the screen goes black and back to "hello" and continues to ask me for my icloud information.

The phone always boots to the setup screen:

The restore appeared to work OK but when the phone rebooted I was back at the "Press home to upgrade" screen again...

iPhone boot-up/setup errors

I've helped with a lot of iPhone boot-up/setup problems over the years. 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, iOS 11, and iOS 12. But, I've seen an increasing amount of these kind of issues when setting up new phones on iOS 13 and iOS 14.

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 some custom versions of our Decipher Backup Repair software to deal with old settings that are causing these kind of issues. We've had a lot of success doing this for iOS 13 and iOS 14, so I'm considering building the option directly in to Decipher Backup Repair.

If you're experiencing an issue like this with your iPhone or iPad, and want to try to use Decipher Backup Repair to fix the issue, please contact us and mention this blog post and we'll build you a custom version of Decipher Backup Repair with the appropriate fixes we've found for this issue.