Create a Backup

Created: Modified: Knowledge Base

iOS Backup files include device settings from the Settings app, home and lock screen images, icon arrangement and app content and settings. Backups do NOT contain apps or iTunes media.

GroundControl allows you to restore a single backup to many devices and we support encrypted and non-encrypted backups. In this way, you can control settings that aren’t available to MDM. For example, using a backup you can set the following:

⚠️ We do not recommend this feature with iOS 13 and DEP devices. iOS 13 introduced changes that made it difficult to use backups while keeping the device on WiFi. iOS 13.4 further changes the Restore from Backup process to display a dialog that inhibits automation.

⚠️ Imprivata GroundControl no longer supports restore from backup on iOS 14 DEP devices.

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

Some settings are never preserved within backups.

  • You can not save a device passcode
  • You can not grant permissions for camera or microphone for specific apps

When creating your master backup, remember that any settings will be duplicated to all your devices. Try to avoid adding an Apple ID on the master. Also we recommend starting with an erased device each time, to be sure you don’t have any undesired settings.

GroundControl helps you by automatically “scrubbing” the backup to remove Apple ID, MDM, saved WiFi networks, and supervision. GroundControl also “depersonalizes” the backup so that a common backup may be used across any iOS device type, and nearly any iOS version.

Follow the instructions below to create your back up, compress it and upload it to GroundControl.


Step 4: Compress the Backup for use with GroundControl

The backup folder is named with the device’s UDID. You can sort by date and time, and find the most recent folder.

We need to compress these backups files before we can upload them to GroundControl.

  1. Open the folder in order to display the list of folders within
  2. Select all files and folder inside the folder as shown in the image above. Important: do not select the backup folder itself, only the files and folders contained within.
  3. On Windows, right-click and send to “Compressed (zipped) folder”. On Mac, control-click and choose “Compress”.
  4. A zip file will be created, e.g. “”.
  5. Rename the zip file as desired. You may keep the .ZIP extension, or rename it to the traditional .iosdevicebackup.
  6. Move the file to another location, such as your Desktop.

The backup is now ready to be uploaded to GroundControl.

You’re done!  You should now quit iTunes (or Configurator), upload your backup to GroundControl and test the restore.

Tip: Test on a different device from your master. The mastering process may require a few more trips to the master device to tweak your settings, and the process will be easier if you keep your master around.