Decrypting encrypted iTunes backups


Extracting data from an encrypted iTunes backup is easy with the help of our backup extractor for iPhone, iPad or iPod. All you have to know is the password you used for encryption.

How to read an iTunes encrypted iPhone backup

Most people -- rightly! -- like to keep their personal data very secure. However, moving personal data from one device to another can certainly multiply the risks involved in keeping data secure. An iPhone and the backups created in iTunes can hold an incredible amount of personal data. In order to keep data secure when creating an iTunes backup, you can setup a password encrypted backup using iTunes.

However, there will be certain cases -- such as an iOS upgrade failure, or a new iPhone / iPad -- that you might want to get hold of the encrypted iTunes data. iPhone Backup Extractor can resolve these issues without compromising a backup's security. As long as you know your iTunes backup password, you can access your backup data instantly. We believe that being able to see what is stored in the encrypted backup is helpful, and helps to clarify a backup's usefulness.

How to decrypt an encrypted iTunes backup

If you want to extract any data from an encrypted iTunes / iOS backup, you can easily do this through our software, iPhone Backup Extractor.

Follow these steps to decrypt your encrypted iTunes backup:

  1. Download iPhone Backup Extractor. Download iPhone Backup Extractor from our site, then install it. We have two versions for download: for Windows and for macOS and both are compatible with the latest versions of iOS.

    Install and launch iPhone Backup Extractor
    Install and launch iPhone Backup Extractor

  2. Load your encrypted iTunes / iOS backup. Start iPhone Backup Extractor and wait until the backups from your computer are loaded. iPhone Backup Extractor automatically loads the backups located in the backup default folder from your computer.

    Unlock your encrypted backup by typing your backup's password. iPhone Backup Extractor will only work if you remember your password. Otherwise, if the password is incorrect, it simply won't open your backup.

    Decrypting an encrypted iTunes backup iPhone Backup Extractor
    Decrypting an encrypted iTunes backup iPhone Backup Extractor

    If the backup file is located in another folder, then browse through the folders and choose the backup file location. If you have multiple backups stored into your computer, you should choose the encrypted backup from where you need to extract the data.

  3. Save your data. Extract data from the backup by clicking on each type of data, or by using the "File" and "Extract" menu, or by accessing the files in "Expert Mode".

    Extract your encrypted iTunes iOS backup
    Extract your encrypted iTunes iOS backup

Some things you can and can't do with your iTunes backup data when encryption is enabled

Restore with iTunes Restore if you don't know your password
Read the encrypted backup with iPhone Backup Extractor Fully read your encrypted backup if it got corrupted -- but you can contact our expert support team at [email protected] for helpful tips and tricks
Save locally on your computer encrypted backup data such as photos, contacts, SMS, videos, notes, location data, WhatsApp messages and more Recover data when you lose your backup's password. However, check Apple's guide to troubleshooting encrypted backups
Access your everything in your encrypted iTunes iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad backup with an iPhone Backup Extractor license Access everything in your encrypted iTunes iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad backup with the iPhone Backup Extractor free edition (it's limited to four files from encrypted iTunes backups)

The encrypted backup process in iTunes

When creating a backup, iTunes stores the backup files with hex-encoded SHA1 hash filenames, and they're listed in the backup's "manifest".

Knowing what the files are inside the iTunes backup of your iOS device can be really helpful should your backup or manifest files get corrupted. You can still restore your corrupted backup files using iPhone Backup Extractor, which opens the encoded files and extracts available data.

If you want to protect your files by encrypting the backups in iTunes, you can enable data protection with a click on "Encrypt backup". iTunes will then give an option set a password for all backups created on the computer. You'll be asked about this password each time you want to restore so you might want to keep that password in mind or in a safe place.

What if you want to access data from your iOS device but iTunes has encrypted your backups? You can easily unencrypt your backup in iTunes, if the files are still on your device (by creating a new -- unprotected -- backup). Once finished switch the "Encrypt iPhone backup" option back and iTunes will re-encrypt that backup for you. That said, there should be no need to do this.

To make life easier, we've created a short video showing how to recover iPhone data from an encrypted backup. You'll see when we get to the extraction stage we pull out contacts, but it works just the same for iMessage, SMS, calendars, photos, videos, notes and app data.

Have you lost data because you couldn't restore your encrypted backup or maybe forgot the password? Do you need support to recover data from an encrypted iTunes backup? Our expert recovery team is ready to help you.

About the author

Alexandra Petruș served as Reincubate's VP of Product for a number of years and remains a friend of the company. She's recognised as a Google Developer Expert for Product Strategy, and is a co-founder of Bucharest AI.

Reincubate's CEO at Buckingham Palace

Pictured above are members of Reincubate’s team meeting HM Queen Elizabeth Ⅱ at Buckingham Palace, after being awarded the UK’s highest business award for our work with Apple technology. Read our position on privacy, safety and security.

We've helped over 3,000,000 people recover their lost iPhone data. Let us help you too.

Comments (2)

I am trying to recover a note that got deleted. I've run this process until i get to the point where it need to extract my notes. I have 80 notes, but I just need one. Is there a way to choose which one to extract, or do i have to pay to extract all 80 when I don't need the other 79 (I still have those on my current phone)?

Hey Shelley, there's no need to get a license to recover a handful of notes. If you wait for the dialog it'll let you continue with the free version after a short while. 🙂

My daughter just upgraded from an iphone 4 to a new iphone 5. Her latest backup was encrypted and it won't update her new phone. It gives the message that the backup is either corrupt or incompatible with the new iphone. Is the encryption the problem? Can you get past that?

Hi Randy! Encryption means that the backup has a password set on it, as long as you know the password you can use that backup to restore to the device or open the backup file with our software.

Corruption means that the backup file itself is incomplete or damaged or, as the message states, incompatible with the device. If the backup file is corrupt and encrypted, even if you know the password to it you will not be able to restore.

The best thing we can do is try to recover data from this corrupt backup file (if possible and data still exists). Please try out the free version of our software and see if it works to open your backup, or reach out to our suppor team if you need more help. 👍

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This is iPhone Backup Extractor, think of it as a "personal forensics" utility. It's pretty awesome.

Jonathan Zdziarski

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