Restore from Backup

Created: Modified: Workflow Actions

The Restore from Backup action allows you to upload an iOS backup created from iTunes or Configurator to GroundControl, which can be used to further customize your devices.

Please note while many settings are preserved in a backup, iOS backups are NOT exact, mirror images of an iOS device: they do not include actual applications or the iOS operating system itself. Backups may include app content and settings, but what’s backed up really depends on the specific app. We recommend testing your workflow thoroughly to confirm desired results.

GroundControl makes sure that backups are portable:

  • Across device models: under most circumstances, an iPhone backup may be restored to an iPad, and vice-versa.
  • Across iOS versions: An older iOS backup may be used on a device with a newer iOS version. For example a backup of an iOS 11 device may be restored to an iOS 12 device, but will fail if you try an iOS 10 device.
Feature Availability

Backups may be restored to DEP and non-DEP devices.

DEP backups require you have uploaded GroundControl’s supervision identity into your MDM before you create the backup.

DEP backups on iOS 13 are not recommended. iOS 13 introduces new process that make it difficult to use backups while keeping the device on WiFi.

If you do want to use backups with iOS 13, note the limitations described in the table below.

DeviceLaunchpadNon-DEPDEP iOS 12 and earlierDEP iOS 13 and later
WiFi DeviceWindows
WiFi DeviceMac Launchpad with Network Tethering disabled
WiFi DeviceMac Launchpad with Network Tethering enabled
Cellular Device with active SIMWindows
Cellular Device with active SIMMac

Future iOS versions may further limit the use of backups.

Create a Backup

We have published instructions for creating a backup in a separate document.

Using Restore from Backup


Use the “Choose existing Backup File” radio button to select a specific backup file to use. Alternatively, you may choose the “Type a filename” option to enter the name of the backup file as text. This is useful if you wish to use attributes for intelligent workflows.

Backups display the iOS version. This helps you remember the version of the original iOS device. For example, the backup below may be used with iOS 12.1.1 and greater, including iOS 13.

To upload a new backup , click the “Upload” button. The maximum upload file size is 4 GB.

Working with encrypted backups

GroundControl detects encrypted backups when uploaded, and prompts you for a password. 

  • If you accidentally entered the wrong password for an encrypted backup, you’ll need to replace the backup file using the Cache tab.
  • Backups added before GroundControl 4.5 can be re-uploaded if you want to capture the helpful iOS version and backup type in GroundControl.
Backup Scrubbing

By default, GroundControl does some cleanup on the backups you upload. We remove old WiFi networks, MDM enrollment, supervision, and Apple IDs. However, you may intend to reuse the Apple ID on all devices. In this case, chose “Preserve Apple ID” in the restore dialog.

For more information, see our instructions for using a common Apple ID across many devices.

What Settings do Backups Preserve?

FeatureCan be restoredNotes
Airplane Mode
WiFiUseful if Airplane mode is on
BluetoothMay require similar devices for master & clone
Cellular Cellular Data
Notifications AMBER Alerts
Notifications Emergency Alerts
Notifications Public Safety Alerts
Sounds Vibrate on Ring
Sounds Vibrate on Silent
Sounds Ringer and Alerts Sound Level
Sounds Change with Buttons
Sounds Keyboard Clicks
Do Not Disturb Do Not Disturb
Do Not Disturb Scheduled
Do Not Disturb Activate
General Software Update Automatic Updates
General Handoff
General Background App Refresh
General Date & Time 24-Hour Time
General Keyboards Enable Dictation
Display & Brightness Auto-Lock
Battery Low Power Mode
Privacy Location Services
Passwords & Accounts AutoFill Passwords
Apple ID (iTunes Store)GroundControl's "Backup Scrubbing" must be disabled
Apple ID PasswordApple ID Passwords are never preserved
Restrictions Passcode
Battery Percentage on/off
Text Size
Raise to Wake
Enterprise App TrustUseful if you don't have MDM
Accessibility: Large Text, Reduce Motion, Assistive Touch
Add/Set Keyboards
Text Replacements
ContactsContact list is preserved from master to slave
AppsApps are not stored in backups
iOS VersioniOS versions are not stored in backups