Decrypting encrypted iTunes backups

Alexandra Malureanu

by Alexandra Malureanu

This post was updated in May 2017

Extracting data from an encrypted iTunes backup is easy with the help of our backup extractor for iPhone, iPad or iPod, but lately more and more of our users have asked if we can help with encryption support for their encrypted iTunes backups.

That’s the reason our engineers have added encryption support for iTunes backups, including the latest iOS 11 and iOS 10. All you have to know is the password you used for encryption.

How to decrypt an encrypted iTunes backup

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

Follow these steps to decrypt your encrypted iTunes backup:

Step 1. Download the iPhone Backup Extractor

Download the iPhone Backup Extractor from our site, then install it. We have two versions for download: for Windows and for Mac OS X and both are compatible with the latest iOS 11 and iOS 10.

Step 2. Choose a backup

Start the iPhone Backup Extractor and wait until the backups from your computer are loaded into the program. The iPhone Backup Extractor automatically loads the backups located into the backup default folder from your computer.

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.

Step 3. Preview your files

Once chosen, you'll be asked for the password. Once you entered the passcode, you'll be able to see the files available in the backup, in the right window, under "Overview" tab.

Decrypt encrypted itunes backup IPBE preview

If you want to extract all of your data, you'll need a license.

Step 4. Save your data

Choose the location where to save the data, click Open and in a few seconds the download will finish.

Encrypted backup process in iTunes

When creating a normal backup iTunes stores the backup files within hex-encoded SHA1 hash files which contain uniquely named files with alphanumeric hex values as listed in the backups manifest files.

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

If you want to protect your files by encrypting the backups in iTunes, you can enable data protection with one click on "Encrypt iDevice 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 iDevice but iTunes has encrypted your backups? Well you can easily decrypt your backup in iTunes, if the files are still on your iDevice. Then access the files needed using the iPhone Backup Extractor. Once finished switch the "Encrypt iPhone backup" option back and iTunes will re-encrypt that backup for you.

Do not forget your iTunes backup password

It is very important that you remember any password you add to your iTunes backups. Without the password you will not be able to restore or access the password protected backups. The password verification is done by the iDevice via the iOS kernel, not in iTunes even though that’s where you add it.

So what does this mean to you? Well, it means that you cannot restore password encrypted iOS backups to any other device without the passcode. So if you buy a new or replace a lost iPhone, without that password the backup you so carefully prepared will be useless.

If you change between different passwords when creating backups, you also will need to remember the old passcodes as the iPhone, iPad or iPod will only recognise the latest password when restoring. If the passcode is a really good one and you lose it, it will be really hard to recover it. That's why we advise you to keep your passwords in a safe and secure place.

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.

Alexandra Malureanu

by Alexandra Malureanu on

我们曾经帮助过 3,000,000 多人恢复其丢失的 iPhone 数据。 所以我们也能为您排忧解难。

Comments (1)

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.

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