These holidays a lot of Apple hardware changed owner within our family and friends. As always it is my job to organize all the backups and restores. With proper planning everything went well, but I also learned some little differences I want to share with you.
First of all, most of the backups (and restores) went through the iCloud. This works great and did not give any problems. Every device from iOS 5 up can use iCloud as a backup and restore mechanism. I had one iPhone 4 that was still running iOS 4. So this one I had to do via the iTunes backup/restore procedure. Effectively this gives the same result as iCloud.
Backup and restore with exactly the same device and iOS is the easiest. You will restore all your Apps, Apps settings and iOS settings, including passwords.
A restore can only be done to the same iOS or newer, but to every type of device. So you can restore an iPad to an iPhone and vice versa. When you apply such a restore you will get all your Apps (when device supported) and App settings back. You will however lose your iOS settings, including mail settings, passwords, backgrounds and folders. But still, most of the information is intact.
When you restore to the same device type, but a different device and/or newer iOS you will get everything back except for passwords.
In my opinion these procedures work great and the things you can’t restore are in my view expected and accepted. Apple did a great thing here and I love the iCloud option they introduced in iOS 5.