What happens if I interrupt iPhone restore?

Restoring an iPhone can be a lengthy process, especially if you are restoring from a backup. It’s understandable that you may be tempted to interrupt the restore process before it completes, whether accidentally or intentionally. However, interrupting an iPhone restore can lead to serious consequences. In this article, we’ll explore what happens when you interrupt an iPhone restore and how to avoid or recover from potential issues.

Why Does Restoring An iPhone Take So Long?

There are a couple reasons why restoring an iPhone from a backup takes quite a bit of time:

  • The backup file itself can be very large – easily several GB for an average user. Transferring all that data takes time.
  • After the data is transferred, iOS needs to extract and configure all the apps, settings, and files. This also adds to the restore duration.
  • If you’re restoring from an iCloud backup, download speeds can bottleneck the process.
  • Newer iPhones with more storage capacity take longer to restore than older models.
  • Encryption lengthens the restore process since all data has to be decrypted on the device.

The restore process goes through several stages, such as verifying and copying data. Interrupting this complex procedure incorrectly can lead to issues.

What Exactly Happens When You Interrupt an iPhone Restore?

If you interrupt an iPhone restore, one of several things could happen:

  • The restore process stops partway through – This means your iPhone will likely be stuck in recovery mode with error messages. The device will be unusable until the restore can complete successfully.
  • Data loss or corruption – If you interrupt while files are being transferred or written, it could lead to partial data that’s unusable. App data and settings may be lost.
  • The iPhone gets “bricked” – In worse case scenarios, interruptions can corrupt system files and leave the iPhone completely unusable. You’ll need to attempt system recovery.
  • Unexpected reboots/crashes – An interruption may lead to instability where the iPhone unpredictably reboots and experiences crashes during use.

The extent of the damage depends on at what stage you interrupted the restore and the state the iPhone was in. But you can expect that an incomplete restore will lead to unpredictable behavior on the device at the minimum.

What Are Some Common Ways People Interrupt an iPhone Restore?

There are a few common ways that users may inadvertently interrupt an iPhone restore:

  • Disconnecting the Lightning cable – If the cable comes loose during a wired restore, it will interrupt the process. This can happen if the cable is bumped or loosely inserted.
  • Allowing the device to power off – Restores can take over an hour. If the iPhone battery dies before completion, it will stop the restore.
  • Force rebooting the device – Some users may intentionally force reboot their iPhone not realizing a restore is underway.
  • Putting the iPhone in sleep/standby mode – If the device goes to sleep during a lengthy restore, it can pause or interrupt it.
  • Memory errors – On rare occasions, out of memory errors can halt a restore.

The best way to avoid these interruptions is keeping the iPhone connected to power and undisturbed until the restore fully completes.

How Can You Tell if an iPhone Restore Was Interrupted?

If you suspect a restore was interrupted, there are a few symptoms to look for:

  • The iPhone will be stuck at the connect to iTunes screen with an error code or message.
  • Apps are missing or crash on launch. Music and photos may be unavailable.
  • Settings have reverted to defaults and recent data is missing.
  • You’ll see frequent freezing, crashes, and unexpected reboots.
  • Your iPhone fails to activate after the interrupted restore.
  • You may notice significant storage space is still available as if no backup was restored.

If you experience any of these issues after a restore interruption, you will likely need to attempt the restore again after resolving what caused the interruption.

What To Do When an iPhone Restore is Interrupted

Here are the steps to take if your iPhone restore was unexpectedly interrupted:

  1. Force restart the iPhone – Hold the volume up and side buttons down simultaneously until you see the recovery mode screen.
  2. Close any open apps and reduce activity – This will prevent interference with another restore attempt.
  3. Check for connection issues – Make sure you have a strong WiFi or cellular signal if restoring from iCloud.
  4. Connect power adapter to iPhone – This will maintain ample power throughout the restore process.
  5. Initiate restore process again – Go back into recovery mode and select Restore from iTunes or appropriate recovery option.
  6. Let the restore fully complete – Do not disconnect or interrupt power to the iPhone this time.

Following this process should allow the restore to finish properly without further issues in most cases. Be patient and let the restore run through its full course.

How to Avoid Interrupting an iPhone Restore

Here are some tips to avoid interrupting a restore in the first place:

  • Use a sturdy lightning cable and check for tight connection.
  • Connect your iPhone to a power source or leave it plugged into a computer.
  • Close all running apps and disable automatic lock to prevent interruptions.
  • Turn on Do Not Disturb mode so calls/texts don’t interfere.
  • Clear up storage space and disable unnecessary settings.
  • Remain patient and leave the iPhone alone until restore completes.

As long as you don’t disconnect, power off, or otherwise interrupt the configured restore, it should run through completely without issues in most cases.

Can You Resume an Interrupted iPhone Restore?

Unfortunately, you cannot typically resume an iPhone restore from where it left off if interrupted. Since the state of the iPhone after an interruption is unpredictable, the entire restore process has to start over.

The main solutions are to just repeat the full restore procedure from the beginning or try to recover data using third-party software tools designed for interrupted restores. But there is no “Resume” option for restores in progress.

How to Recover Data After an Interrupted Restore

If you lost important data due to an interrupted iPhone restore, third-party software provides some options for trying to recover it:

  • iPhone data recovery software – Apps like iSkysoft and EaseUS MobiSaver can scan your iPhone and find lost files after a failed restore.
  • iCloud restore – If you maintain an iCloud backup, you may be able to restore data from iCloud again.
  • iTunes/Finder restore – Restoring from your most recent local iTunes or Finder backup is another option.
  • Professional data recovery service – Experts can manually recover data from an iPhone, but this is expensive.

Prevention is still the best approach, but data recovery tools can salvage photos, messages, notes, and other personal data if needed after an interrupted iPhone restore.

Can Interrupting a Restore Brick an iPhone?

“Bricking” refers to a device becoming totally unresponsive just like a brick. While rare, it is possible for an interrupted iPhone restore to brick the device.

Reasons an interrupted restore may brick an iPhone include:

  • Critical system files corrupted.
  • Failed firmware installation.
  • Partition map or bootloader damage.
  • Unresponsive touchscreen.
  • Invalid device activation state.

A bricked iPhone will get stuck on the Apple logo during reboot, fail to boot, or just show a black or blank screen. You’ll need to attempt system recovery to restore full functionality again.

How to Fix a Bricked iPhone After Interrupted Restore

If your iPhone is bricked after a restore interruption, try the following fixes:

  • Let battery fully drain then reboot.
  • Attempt recovery mode restore again.
  • If hardware issue, take to Apple Store for servicing.
  • Ask Apple Support to unbrick device remotely.
  • Restore using third-party repair tool like Dr.Fone.
  • Update or downgrade iOS using iTunes to reinstall OS.

A bricked iPhone usually requires professional help or advanced tools to get working again. But restoring the firmware/OS via USB can fix software-related bricking in some instances.

Can You Cancel an iPhone Restore?

Once an iPhone restore has begun, there is no official way to cancel it from within iOS. However, you do have a couple options to stop the restore process:

  • Force restart the iPhone – Hold power and home button to force a hard reboot. This will halt the restore.
  • Disconnect from computer – Unplugging the USB cable will interrupt and effectively cancel the restore.
  • Turn off phone or computer – Powering down the device or computer forces the restore to stop.
  • Close iTunes/Finder -Quitting the app managing the restore will end the process.

Note that while these methods will cancel a restore, they may corrupt software or data in the process. Properly completed restores are still recommended whenever possible.


Interrupting an iPhone restore is never recommended, but accidents happen. At minimum, you’ll need to restart and repeat the full restore if it’s interrupted. In worse cases, data loss, device instability, or even bricking could occur.

To review, main points on interrupting iPhone restores include:

  • Restore interruptions often leave devices stuck in recovery mode.
  • Data corruption, freezes, crashes are common side effects.
  • There is no resume option – full restore must be restarted.
  • Lost data may be recoverable using backup or software tools.
  • It’s possible but difficult to fix a bricked iPhone.
  • Exercise caution when cancelling a restore in progress.

Overall, it’s always best to ensure iPhone restores fully complete without interference. But the above tips should help you recover smoothly if your restore does get unexpectedly interrupted.