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.

icloudsettings

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. icloudrestoreoptions
  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.

icloudfilerestore
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.

icloudcontactsrestore
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.

icloudrestorecalendars
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.

icloudrestorebookmarks
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

LisaBonet Avatar
84 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)
Planey28 Avatar
84 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)
DeathBecomesMe Avatar
84 months ago
How about they allow us to restore messages
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
boston04and07 Avatar
79 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)
Yumbo Avatar
84 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)

Popular Stories

airpodsinear 1

AirPods Save Woman's Life With Feature Everyone Should Know

Friday January 21, 2022 2:13 am PST by
Apple's AirPods have been credited with saving a woman's life after a potentially fatal fall, People reports. When a 60-year-old florist in New Jersey tripped and hit her head in her studio, she lost consciousness and awoke heavily bleeding. With nobody around to call for help, she realized she had her AirPods in, and used a "Hey Siri" command to call 911. An operator was able to stay on the ...
iphone 13 earpods

Apple to Stop Including EarPods With Every iPhone Sold in France From Next Week

Friday January 21, 2022 3:21 am PST by
Apple will no longer include EarPods with every iPhone sold in France, starting on January 24, according to a notice posted by a French carrier (via iGeneration). Apple was previously required to include EarPods in the box with the iPhone due to a French law that required every smartphone sold in the country to come with a "handsfree kit," but the law has now been changed in favor of reducing the ...
peloton tv workout cardio

Apple Floated as Potential Buyer of Peloton

Friday January 21, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Following months of bleak news about Peloton's "precarious state," including the revelation that it has halted production of its bikes and treadmills, Apple is being floated as a potential buyer of Peloton's troubled fitness business. Yesterday, CNBC reported that Peloton will temporarily stop production of its connected fitness products due to a "significant reduction" in consumer demand, a ...
Questionable Design Decisions

Apple's Most Questionable Design Decisions in Recent Memory

Sunday January 23, 2022 2:59 am PST by
Apple has always emphasized the depth of thought that goes into the design of its products. In the foreword to Designed by Apple in California, a photo book released by the company in 2016, Jony Ive explains how the company strives "to define objects that appear effortless" and "so simple, coherent and inevitable that there could be no rational alternative." But every once in a while even...
Spring 2022 Apple Products Feature

New iPad Air, Macs, and iPhone SE With 5G Likely to Be Announced at Apple Event This Spring

Thursday January 20, 2022 8:32 am PST by
Earlier this week, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman tweeted that Apple "will be holding a spring event" to announce a new iPhone SE and other hardware. In a recent edition of his newsletter, Gurman said the event is likely to occur in March or April. Gurman did not elaborate on what "other hardware" will be announced at Apple's purported spring event, but rumors suggest at least four products are...
Upcoming Products 2022 Feature

Gurman: Apple Preparing 'Widest Array of New Hardware Products in Its History' for Fall

Sunday January 23, 2022 10:32 am PST by
Apple is working on a number of new products that are set to launch this fall, and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says that it will be "the widest array" of new devices that Apple has introduced in its history. In his latest "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explains that Apple is working on four new iPhones (iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Max), an updated low-end MacBook Pro, a ...
apple watch series 7 aluminum colors yellowbg

Apple Watch Charging Bug Fixed in watchOS 8.4 Release Candidate

Thursday January 20, 2022 4:01 pm PST by
The watchOS 8.4 release candidate that was seeded to developers and beta testers this morning addresses an ongoing bug that could cause some Apple Watch chargers not to work properly with the Apple Watch. Back in December, we reported on a growing number of charging issues that Apple Watch Series 7 owners were facing. Since watchOS 8.3, there have been a number of complaints about...
safari icon blue banner

macOS Monterey 12.2 and iOS 15.3 Release Candidates Fix Safari Bug That Leaks Browsing Activity

Thursday January 20, 2022 1:30 pm PST by
The macOS Monterey 12.2 and iOS 15.3 release candidates that came out today appear to address a Safari bug that could cause your recent browsing history and details about your identity to be leaked to malicious entities. As shared last week by browser fingerprinting service FingerprintJS, there is an issue with the WebKit implementation of the IndexedDB JavaScript API. Any website that uses...
apple college discounts

Apple Walks Back UNiDAYS Verification Requirement for U.S. Education Store

Friday January 21, 2022 12:43 pm PST by
Earlier this week, Apple began requiring that customers taking advantage of educational discounts in the United States verify their status as a teacher, student, or school staff member through UNiDAYS. The requirement was a major change as Apple had never asked customers to go through a verification process in the United States before, and now, just three days after verification was added,...