What iPhone data is backed up by iTunes?

Most iPhone owners have been using iTunes to back up their iPhones. This is a smart move, since your data will be saved to your computer in the event something happens to the iPhone. iTunes will restore from the backup file if necessary.

But what exactly does iTunes back up? Contacts? Text messages? Here's a complete list. Each iPhone firmware version backs up the following items:

iPhone OS 1.1 and later:
- Address Book and Address Book favorites
- App settings, preferences and data
- Calendar accounts
- Call history
- Camera roll photos and captures
- Google Map bookmarks, recent searches, and the current location on the map
- Keychain (only restores to same iPhone)
- Mail accounts
- MobileSafari bookmarks, cookies, history and currently displayed pages
- Network settings including Wi-Fi hotspots
- Notes
- Paired Bluetooth devices (only restores to same iPhone)
- Saved corrections (entered when rejecting a suggested spelling)
- SMS messages
- Wallpapers
- Web clips
- YouTube bookmarks
- Voicemail token (only restores to iPhone with your SIM card)

iPhone 2.0 and later:
- App Store Application data
- List of External Sync Sources (Mobile Me, etc.)
- Managed Configurations and Profiles
- Microsoft Exchange account configurations
- Nike + iPod saved workouts and settings

iPhone 3.0 and later:
- In-app purchases
- Individual app preferences for allowing use of location services
- MobileSafari web page autofill
- Offline web application cache and database
- Trusted hosts with certificates that cannot be verified
- Videos in camera roll (only smaller than 2GB)
- Voice memos
- Web sites approved to use location services

See this tip to speed up the time it takes for iTunes to perform a backup of your iPhone.


Not for me, it didn't. :-(

When I upgraded to OS 4 about a week ago, I discovered (to my horror), that the new Comodo Internet Security Suite I was testing had wreaked havoc with my phone. It's an integrated virus checker/firewall/and (most dangerous) an over-zealous "malware protector" thing that likes to put everything it's unfamiliar with (which is EVERYTHING, during its first few days on a new machine!) into a "sandbox", where it can't do any harm (or write actual data to disk, it seems.) Instead, this thing lets the software THINK it's doing whatever it's supposed to do, and then it just never writes it to the drive or registry or whatever.

I didn't know this thing had sandboxed iTunes, and since Apple had said that the upgrade & restore could take up to an hour, so I didn't think much of it. But after an hour and a half, it still said it was only about 20% through backing up, and wasn't getting anywhere fast... So, I aborted that run, and tried again, determined to let it run as long as it needed....

About 3 HOURS later, this one was still also hanging around 20-30% done with backup. I started digging, process tracing, investigating, and eventually realized that this sandboxer was sandbagging the whole procedure. Itunes was being slowed down, and not allowed to do its job.

Anyway... Long story short: When I disabled the security stuff. iTunes was able to complete the upgrade in about 15 minutes. Nice! Then, it went to restore the backup, and said: "I'm sorry. The backup doesn't exist. Can't restore." ...And it booted up into a factory-fresh, and factory BLANK iPhone. It knew its number, had about 15-20 apps from the upgrade, and that was it. :-o

Some more quick detective work for articles like this one, and I found the backup directory and copied it. (I did this before even CLOSING iTunes! I didn't want it to *touch* that directory, as it might overwrite it while doing its update & sign-out.)

So, I have this directory from maybe 12 hours earlier. With all my stuff in it, somewhere. I do the restore thing via iTunes, and it finds all my apps. But NONE of the settings. I got my contacts back, but no calendar dates. I had no passwords or login/account info on any of my ~130 apps, so each one is like a joy of rediscovering what it's like to sign up with that particular app/site all over again. Things that were stored locally on the phone, like the gas-log for my car...gone. Well, I still have the old encrypted files. I just don't know how to get them back into the phone. All my text-message conversations & photos from texting are gone. I had to have AT&T reset the voicemail password, cause I didn't remember it from way back on Day 1 of my new iPhone when I set it up. :-(

If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be really happy for them! I love my iPhone, and it was like having my best friend taken out and shot through the brain by that annoying piece of security software, then returned to me as a vegetable. And now I've got it to the point where it can function again. But all of its memories are gone, and it's like it's going through the motions, but doesn't know who I am anymore. Kinda sad. :-(
(Also, really annoying! ;-) )

Anyway, I realize it wasn't iTune's fault that it got kneecapped during a critical OS upgrade. And I know they claim to back up all that stuff listed above, and I believe it. However: They don't necessarily RESTORE it all... They probably WOULD have done so without any problems if it was a normal backup. But since it was going from OS 3.1.3 to OS 4.0, I suspect it probably had some file format conversion things that were supposed to happen or something, and the new OS just didn't get what it needed to bring that data forward.

My old backup dir, for OS 3.1.3, weighs in at a hefty 246Mb in size, and contains 9328 files.
The new backup dir, for OS 4, is 19Mb, and has 336 files in it. Now, granted, a bunch of that extra is probably old logs & stuff. But SOME of it was my app data, password info, preferences, text messages, birthday info & calendar stuff, etc. And since it's all encrypted, I don't know what's what. I'd just like to get it all back where it's supposed to be. Any thoughts?

Pat