What happens if iPhone restore is interrupted?

Restoring an iPhone from a backup is a common way to transfer data when switching to a new iPhone or troubleshooting issues on an existing device. The restore process allows you to wipe the iPhone and reload its contents from an iCloud or iTunes backup (1). This lets you revert your iPhone’s software and settings while retaining your personal data like photos, messages, app data, and device settings.

A full iPhone restore can take some time depending on factors like internet speed, size of backup, and amount of data being transferred. Interruptions during the restore process are not uncommon given the length of time it takes. This can lead to a variety of issues that may require fixes or re-attempting the restore.

Common Reasons for Interruptions

There are a few common reasons why an iPhone restore may be unexpectedly interrupted:

Power failure – If the power goes out or the device loses power during the restore process, it will cause an interruption. Restoring an iPhone requires a steady power source, so any loss of power can disrupt the process.

Cable disconnect – The USB cable connecting the iPhone to the computer is how the data transfer occurs during a restore. If this cable gets disconnected for any reason during the restore, it will interrupt the process. Using a high quality Lightning cable can help avoid this.

User canceling – The user always has the option to manually cancel an iPhone restore in progress. Accidentally clicking cancel or force quitting iTunes during a restore will interrupt the process. It’s best not to interfere with a restore once it has begun.


[1] https://discussions.apple.com/thread/254645067

[2] https://discussions.apple.com/thread/8546751

Effects of Interruption

Interrupting an iPhone restore can have serious consequences and leave the device unusable. The two main issues that can occur are:

Leaving the device in recovery mode – If the restore is interrupted before completion, the iPhone may get stuck in recovery mode with the connect to iTunes screen. This is essentially a diagnostic state where the device cannot boot up normally. You will need to connect it to a computer with iTunes and complete the restore process.

According to Apple Discussions, forcing a restart does not help and the phone stays in recovery mode until the restore is finished.

Corrupted operating system – If the files being copied over are not complete, interrupting the restore can lead to serious file system corruption. The device may get stuck at the Apple logo, fail to boot, or behave erratically with crashes and freezes. Fixing an iOS corruption requires restoring the device.

Overall, interrupting an iPhone restore usually results in the device becoming unusable until the restore can be completed without interruption. Users have to be careful not to disconnect or interrupt the process before it fully completes.

Fixing Recovery Mode

If your iPhone gets stuck in recovery mode during a restore, there are a few things you can try to exit recovery mode and get your device working again:

First, use the cable that came with your iPhone and plug it directly into a USB port on your computer, not a hub. Sometimes using a different cable or USB port can help.

You can also try force restarting the device by pressing and quickly releasing the Volume Down button, then pressing and holding the Side button until you see the Apple logo. This will restart the device and exit recovery mode (Source: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/251440024).

As a last resort, you may need to put the device into DFU (Device Firmware Update) mode, which is a deeper restore mode. To do this, connect to iTunes or Finder and hold the Power and Home buttons for 10 seconds, release Power but keep holding Home until you see the Recovery mode screen.

In some cases, recovery mode issues can indicate hardware problems. If you’ve tried everything and your device still won’t exit recovery, you may need to visit an Apple store or service provider.

Fixing Corrupted OS

If an iPhone restore is interrupted and results in a corrupted operating system, there are a few options to try and fix it:

The first option is to attempt the restore again. Connect the iPhone to a computer with the latest version of iTunes or macOS Catalina or later, and try restoring from a backup [1]. Sometimes the corruption was temporary and a restore will work on the second attempt.

If restoring fails again, the next option is to update the iPhone software. Connect the iPhone to WiFi and check for any iOS updates, as installing the latest update may resolve any OS corruption issues [2]. Updating has the benefit of preserving your data if possible.

As a last resort, you can factory reset the iPhone to wipe the corrupted OS. This will erase all data and settings and install a clean version of iOS. While you’ll lose your data, it gives you the best chance to fix the corrupted system [3].

Overall, restoring from a backup, updating iOS, and factory resetting are the main ways to address an iPhone with a corrupted operating system after a failed restore. Trying these steps can often get the iPhone working properly again.

Preventing Interruptions

There are a few key things you can do to prevent interruptions during an iPhone restore process:

  • Use a reliable power source – Make sure your iPhone is plugged into a wall charger or computer USB port that is providing consistent, uninterrupted power. Avoid using low power sources like a laptop running on battery or a weak power strip.
  • Use the proper Lightning cable – It’s important to use an official Apple Lightning cable in good condition. Third party cables can sometimes cause connectivity issues leading to interrupted restores.
  • Close all other apps and disable autosleep – Make sure you have closed out of all other apps on the iPhone and disabled auto-sleep to prevent the device from sleeping during the restore process. This will help ensure consistent connectivity.
  • Restart devices – Try restarting both the iPhone and the computer it’s connected to before attempting the restore. This clears out any software glitches that may interfere.
  • Update iTunes/Finder – If restoring through a computer, make sure you have the latest version of iTunes (Windows) or Finder (Mac). Older versions may have bugs that lead to failed restores.

Taking preventative steps like these can help minimize frustrating interruptions during iPhone restores. Reliable power and connectivity are key.

Backing Up Data

It’s crucial to back up your iPhone data before attempting a restore. A proper backup ensures you can recover your information if anything goes wrong. The two main methods for backing up an iPhone are using iCloud or a Mac/PC with iTunes.

According to Apple Support, iCloud automatically backs up your iPhone daily when connected to WiFi, power, and has over 50% battery. It saves data like photos, messages, documents, and more. To enable iCloud backup, go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > Backup, and turn on iCloud Backup.

You can also backup locally to a Mac or PC using iTunes, as described in this PCMag article. Connect your iPhone to your computer, open iTunes, and select your device. Go to the Summary tab, select “This Computer” under Backups, and click Back Up Now.

Having a recent, complete backup from either iCloud or iTunes gives you the best chance of recovering your data if a restore is interrupted or fails. It’s a simple but critical precaution before attempting any iPhone restore.

Alternative Restore Methods

There are three main options for restoring an iPhone: using iTunes or Finder on a computer, using iCloud, or using a third-party app. Each method has advantages and disadvantages to consider.

Using iTunes or Finder allows you to restore from a backup stored on your computer. This gives you full control over backups and doesn’t count against your iCloud storage quota. However, it requires connecting the iPhone to a computer with the latest version of macOS or Windows installed. The restoration process can be slow depending on internet speeds.

Restoring via iCloud is convenient since it doesn’t require a computer connection. iCloud backups happen automatically when the iPhone is charging, connected to WiFi, and has an active internet connection. The downside is limited storage space – only 5GB is free. Upgrading iCloud storage can get expensive. There is also no way to selectively restore data from an iCloud backup.

Third party apps like AnyTrans, iMazing, and PhoneTrans provide alternative ways to backup and restore an iPhone. They can selectively restore data like messages, photos, or contacts. These apps also give options to encrypt local backups for security. However, unlike iTunes and iCloud, third party apps generally cost money to purchase and require downloading to a computer.[1][2]

Overall, the restore method depends on individual priorities like convenience, flexibility, security, and costs. Trying an alternative restore can be worthwhile if the standard iTunes or iCloud restore is repeatedly interrupted or failing.

Seeking Professional Help

If you have exhausted all options for fixing the interrupted restore on your own, it may be time to seek professional help at an Apple Store or authorized Apple service provider. There are a few instances when taking your iPhone into a repair shop is recommended:

  • Your device is stuck in recovery mode and will not exit, even after trying a forced restart and different cables/computers.
  • Attempting to restore results in error messages that you cannot resolve.
  • Important data is inaccessible and a restore will wipe your device.
  • There is physical damage preventing the restore from completing.

The technicians at an Apple Store or authorized service provider have advanced tools to put your device into recovery mode, attempt restores, and retrieve data. They may be able to rescue an interrupted restore, recover data, or determine if the device needs full replacement. While this service is not free, for some interruptions it is the only way to get the iPhone working again without losing all its contents. Before visiting the Apple Store, be sure to back up your device if possible, to maximize the chances of data recovery.


Restoring an iPhone can sometimes get interrupted, which can lead to issues like the device getting stuck in recovery mode or having a corrupted operating system. The most common reasons for interruptions are loss of internet connection, power outage, or insufficient storage space.

If the restore gets interrupted, the best solution is to retry the restore process. Make sure you have a stable internet connection, sufficient battery or power supply, and enough available storage space. You may need to do a forced restart or factory reset to get the device out of recovery mode.

To avoid interruptions in the future, always backup your data beforehand, close other apps during the restore, ensure you have at least 10GB of free space, and use a wired internet connection if possible. If repeated restore attempts don’t work, you may need professional help to repair the device.

With some preparation and care, you can usually avoid major issues when restoring an iPhone. Just be patient, troubleshoot any interruptions, and contact Apple support if you keep having problems.