How to Recover Files, Contacts, Bookmarks, Calendars and Reminders in iCloud

by

Apple has little known iCloud tools that are designed to let you recover files that have been deleted from ‌iCloud‌, as well as recover Contacts, Calendars, and Reminders that have been lost.

Lost ‌iCloud‌ data isn't a situation that comes up often, but these tools were introduced following an iCloud Drive bug in 2015 that caused some users to lose documents stored in ‌iCloud Drive‌, prompting the creation of the tool.

Accessing Your Files on iCloud.com

  1. Visit the iCloud.com website on your web browser of choice.
  2. Enter your Apple ID, password, and two-factor authentication code if the feature is enabled.
  3. Once logged in, click on the "Settings" app in the main ‌iCloud‌ menu.
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the page until you reach the "Advanced" section.
  5. Click on the content that you need to restore. Options include files stored in ‌iCloud Drive‌, a list of contacts, your Calendars and Reminders, or your Bookmarks.

Restoring Files

Using the "Restore Files" option on iCloud.com brings up a list of all files that have been deleted over the past 30 days. It includes files from apps that support ‌iCloud Drive‌, such as Pixelmator, Napkin, and Byword.

You can select a single file to restore or multiple files, should there have been a catastrophic event that caused ‌iCloud Drive‌ to be wiped entirely. Check the box to make a selection and click "Restore File." Using the file restoration tool returns the file in question to ‌iCloud Drive‌ in its original parent folder, much like undeleting a photo on iOS.


Deleted ‌iCloud Drive‌ files remain available in ‌iCloud‌ for 30 days before being permanently deleted, at which point they become unrecoverable. As a side note, you cannot do a manual permanent deletion with ‌iCloud Drive‌ files as you can do with Photos on iOS - they're sticking around for the full 30 days.

Restoring Contacts, Calendars, and Reminders

Apple regularly archives a list of Contacts, which can be restored to an iOS device at any time. Restoring a list of contacts from the archive will replace the contacts on all iOS devices connected to your ‌iCloud‌ account, while archiving the current list of contacts to ensure nothing is lost. Contacts can't be restored one by one -- this is an all or nothing batch operation.


Restoring Calendars and Reminders works like restoring Contacts. Apple frequently creates a backup for the two apps, capturing snapshots for more than a month. Any of these archives can be used to replace a current Calendar or Reminder list, replacing the existing information on all connected iOS devices.


Restoring a Calendar will remove all sharing information, so Calendars and Reminders shared with friends and family will need to be shared again. All scheduled events will also be cancelled and recreated, reissuing all invitations for events.

Restoring Bookmarks

Along with Contacts and Calendars, Apple backs up the bookmarks that you have removed from your Bookmarks list in Safari on a regular basis.


To restore them, simply choose the deleted bookmarks you would like to put back in place and then choose the "Restore" option.

Conclusion

Most users probably won't need to delve into the Advanced settings that will restore content like this, but it's nice to have a backup should something disastrous occur. It's also useful because it enables people to restore key information to a new iPhone or iPad without having to work from a full backup.

‌iCloud‌ settings are also handy for immediately signing out of all browsers that are signed into ‌iCloud‌ should you suspect someone has gained unauthorized access to your account and for managing apps that let people look you up using your ‌Apple ID‌. It also displays all devices you're signed into, offers up a look at available storage, and displays the members of your Family Sharing group.

Tag: iCloud

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
63 months ago

Call me a cynic but, ‘Apple quietly introduced tools to recover deleted files ('http://goo.gl/6Ttibf') from iCloud’, suggests to me that they are never really deleted.
Now if this were google, the Fanboys would be up in arms about how Evil Google are storing your data to monetize it.

They just like a same way.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
64 months ago

How about they allow us to restore messages

iMessages aren't stored on a server once they've been delivered, so that would be impossible.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
64 months ago
How about they allow us to restore messages
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
59 months ago

It would be very convenient, but I don't think Apple will ever do it due to privacy concerns.



100% sure, the only way I could think that happened is you were previously signed into iMessage on that device and never signed out, so it thought the messages hadn't been delivered yet.

How are messages any more private than, say, emails, calendar data, stuff people keep in iCloud Drive - heck, even photos? My photos are (to me) way more private than simple old text messages. So is my calendar. But Apple already gives us the option to store that stuff in the cloud if we want. I'd like the same option for my messages. Always having access to them would be very much worth it to me.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
64 months ago

Are you sure? I've had past conversations appear on brand new devices after I've set them up and restored with iCloud.

You restored a backup which includes Messages.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Officially Obsoletes First MacBook Pro With a Retina Display

Wednesday July 1, 2020 3:40 am PDT by
As expected, Apple's first MacBook Pro with a Retina display is now officially classed as "obsolete" worldwide, just over eight years after its release. In a support document, Apple notes that obsolete products are no longer eligible for hardware service, with "no exceptions." This means that any mid-2012 Retina MacBook Pro 15-inch models still out there that require a battery or other...

New Mac Ransomware Found in Pirated Mac Apps

Tuesday June 30, 2020 11:44 am PDT by
There's a new 'EvilQuest' Mac ransomware variant that's spreading through pirated Mac apps, according to a new report shared today by Malwarebytes. The new ransomware was found in pirated download for the Little Snitch app found on a Russian forum. Right from the point of download, it was clear that something was wrong with the illicit version of Little Snitch, as it had a generic installer...

Unreleased iMac With 10-Core Comet Lake-S Chip and Radeon Pro 5300 GPU Shows Up in Geekbench

Wednesday July 1, 2020 10:48 am PDT by
Benchmarks for an unreleased iMac equipped with a 10th-generation Core i9 Intel Comet Lake-S chip and an AMD Radeon Pro 5300 graphics card have surfaced, giving us an idea of what we can expect from a refreshed 2020 iMac. The Geekbench benchmarks, which appear to be legit, were found on Twitter and shared this morning by Tom's Hardware. The iMac in the benchmarks would be a successor to the...

Leaker: Future iPhone Models to Come in 'Exquisite' Thinner Box

Wednesday July 1, 2020 1:57 am PDT by
Leaker L0vetodream this morning posted a tweet corroborating recent rumors that Apple's "iPhone 12" lineup won't come with EarPods or a charger in the box, adding that this will also eventually apply to the existing second-generation iPhone SE. L0vetodream also claims that future iPhone packaging will be "thinner" and "exquisite," which would make sense if Apple's handsets are set to come in ...

Apple's A12Z Under Rosetta Outperforms Microsoft's Native Arm-Based Surface Pro X

Monday June 29, 2020 10:31 am PDT by
Apple's Developer Transition Kit equipped with an A12Z iPad Pro chip began arriving in the hands of developers this morning to help them get their apps ready for Macs running Apple Silicon, and though forbidden, the first thing some developers did was benchmark the machine. Multiple Geekbench results have indicated that the Developer Transition Kit, which is a Mac mini with an iPad Pro chip, ...

Kuo: iPhone 12 Models Won't Include Charger in Box, 20W Power Adapter Will Be Sold Separately

Sunday June 28, 2020 7:56 am PDT by
iPhone 12 models will not include EarPods or a power adapter in the box, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. This lines up with a prediction shared by analysts at Barclays earlier this week. Kuo said that Apple will instead release a new 20W power adapter as an optional accessory for iPhones and end production of its existing 5W and 18W power adapters...

Rosetta 2 Benchmarks Surface From Mac Mini With A12Z Chip

Monday June 29, 2020 7:48 am PDT by
While the terms and conditions for Apple's new "Developer Transition Kit" forbid developers from running benchmarks on the modified Mac mini with an A12Z chip, it appears that results are beginning to surface anyhow. Image Credit: Radek Pietruszewski Geekbench results uploaded so far suggest that the A12Z-based Mac mini has average single-core and multi-core scores of 811 and 2,781...

Display Analyst Once Again Says No 120Hz ProMotion Display Coming to iPhone 12 Pro

Wednesday July 1, 2020 11:29 am PDT by
Apple's iPhone 12 models will not feature an upgraded 120Hz ProMotion display, according to display analyst Ross Young. Young previously said that Apple would not implement ProMotion technology until it adopted low-power LTPO display technology, a move Apple is not expected to make until 2021. In a tweet shared this morning, Young said that the none of his contacts have been able to...

Apple Seeds Third Betas of iOS and iPadOS 13.6 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Tuesday June 30, 2020 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the third betas of upcoming iOS and iPadOS 13.6 updates to developers, three weeks after seeding the second betas and over a month after releasing iOS/iPadOS 13.5 with Exposure Notification API, Face ID updates, Group FaceTime changes, and more. iOS and iPadOS 13.6 can be downloaded from the Apple Developer Center or over the air once the proper developer profile has been...

The New York Times Ends Apple News Partnership and Pulls All Articles

Monday June 29, 2020 11:17 am PDT by
The New York Times today announced that it is pulling out of Apple News, as the service does not "align with its strategy of building direct relationships with paying readers." Starting today, articles from The New York Times will no longer show up in the Apple News app. The news site says that Apple has given it "little in the way of direct relationships with readers" and "little control...