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Dangers of losing data after or during iOS update: Is data recovery possible?

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There is no doubt that updating your software is important. However, backing up your data before you update anything is of far greater importance.

Here’s an example of why you should heed this advice:

One day you get a notification on your phone that a new software update is available. So you go ahead and download it. You quickly follow that up with installation and BAM! – out of nowhere all of your existing data has gone missing. It turns out that the new update restored your phone to the factory defaults rather than a state following the update. Ouch, that can really hurt!

Sadly, it does happen and far more than you may think. Each and every month ADRS® sees about 10 to 15 cases where newly updated phones have lost their data.

Getting Stuck in a Recovery Loop

Not only that, but there is also a chance of iOS getting stuck in a recovery loop mode resulting from a logical corruption.

In some cases, the recovery loop means there is a serious software corruption but data recovery is possible. That is, assuming the corruption can be bypassed depending on the severity of the corruption. The chances of recovery are not all that great, as it turns out.

Things can go wrong in many different ways and – trust me on this one – backing up as often as you can go a long way in giving you peace of mind. You can Cloud backup, iTunes backup, whatever you prefer. Just keep in mind that iTunes backups can also be corrupted.

Our recommendation is to always back your devices up on the Cloud. For an added safety measure, also backup on iTunes.

What about Wondershare?

So, if it does happen to you and your data vanishes following an update, steer clear of the websites out there that are claiming to have the tools to recover your lost data. There are a number of them including Easus Data Recovery and Wondershare. Save yourself the trouble as these products don’t work. Well, that is if you didn’t accidentally delete some photos, text messages or videos and had not overwritten any of that.

Is there a recovery solution for these types of corruptions? Unfortunately, there is not. Thanks to the encryption used on Apple devices, you can forget about recovering lost data. In fact, there is no way possible to recover data from iPhones that have gone back to factory default settings. The FBI can’t do it, either.

Data Recovery Promises

Anyone who claims otherwise is full of well, they are lying to you. You can keep getting click baited to websites that have promising titles such as “Restore Your Data From Factory Reset iPhone” and you’ll get pretty much the same template from all of these online locations.

They go something like this:

  1. You will be presented with an option to recover your data from an iTunes backup
  2. You will be encouraged to download their paid software in order to recover the data from the previously mentioned iTunes backup
  3. You discover quickly that the software you’ve just downloaded and installed doesn’t work, doesn’t do anything that was promised
  4. You feel ripped off
  5. You aren’t any further ahead than you were before you started the first step noted here

There is a disclaimer I should include here. While that program won’t recover all of your lost data, it may work on some accidentally deleted files but nothing substantial related to the factory defaults.

Now, with all of this extra knowledge related to what could possibly happen when your iPhone gets messed up by an update, you should know that recovery is out of the question. This is especially true if the corruption revolves around the phone settings falling back to factory defaults. When this happens, it is like you never had anything entered into the phone at all. You could say your phone has gone back in time and has never met you.

However, if you followed along this article and paid attention to the details you will have noticed that I did give you a solution.

All you have to do is get in the habit of performing regular backups. The frequency is entirely up to you but if you have a lot of data involved and use it for business and pleasure, you will want to do backups no less than once a week. For less frequent use, say you have an iPhone and it is shared by a couple of people in your family or business. If it is usually used for just phone conversations, the odd text messages and to check email, you can get away with backing it up less than weekly.

It is your call. Just remember that without a relatively current backup, you’ll end up a little behind if it is needed. At least an old backup is better than no backup.

Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

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