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How to restore your iPad Air from a backup

When the need arises to restore your iPad Air from a backup, whether due to a new device, software update, or security breach, worry not.

The restoration process for your iPad Air is straightforward and can be accomplished using iTunes, Finder, iCloud, Mac, or PC.

In this guide, we will provide you with a wealth of techniques to effectively bring your iPad Air back to life.

By following our step-by-step instructions, you will gain the necessary knowledge to restore your iPad Air with ease.

Bid farewell to confusion and frustration as we offer clear, concise guidance to ensure your device returns to its former state.

How to restore iPad Air
Above: iPad Air being restored


While restoring your iPad Air from a backup is usually a smooth process, it is not unusual to encounter issues. This is why this comprehensive guide also explains how to deal with any errors that may occur during the restoration process.

This article applies to the following Wi-Fi and Cellular iPad Air models:

Before you restore your iPad Air

Before restoring your iPad, Air there are some important things to do in order to ensure the process is successful:

  1. Make sure to back up all of your important data on your iPad Air, such as photos, contacts, and documents, to either iCloud or your computer. This will prevent you from losing any important information during the restoration process.
  2. Switch off the Find My feature, as this can sometimes interfere with the restoration process. You can do this by going to Settings, tapping on [your name], selecting Find My, and then turning off the Find My iPad toggle.
  3. Check that your iPad Air has enough battery life and a stable Wi-Fi connection.

By following these steps, you should have a successful restoration experience and be able to enjoy your iPad Air like it’s brand new.

Download the latest version of iTunes

If you’re planning on restoring your iPad Air, it’s essential to download the latest version of iTunes onto your computer first. Without the most updated version of iTunes, you could face significant problems during the restoration process.

For example, an outdated iTunes app might have compatibility issues with your iPad Air resulting in the restoration process failing or your device getting stuck in recovery mode.

Also, the latest version of iTunes may have improved features, which will make the restoration process more manageable, faster, and more secure.

Therefore, it’s advisable to keep updating your iTunes to enjoy the most recent features and facilitate the restoration of your iPad Air.



Installing and downloading the latest iTunes version is vital as it fixes bugs, improves performance, adds new features, and ensures proper data synchronization between your iPad Air and computer.

Check for software updates

It is important to check for software updates before restoring an iPad Air to ensure that your device is running on the most updated and stable version of iPadOS.

Software updates not only bring new features, but also include bug fixes and security improvements. These updates can significantly enhance the performance of your iPad Air and prevent various software-related issues that may occur during or after the restore.

Checking for software updates can be done easily via the settings on your iPad Air. By ensuring that your device is up-to-date, you can have a seamless restore process and a device that runs smoothly and securely.


When restoring your iPad Air, all data and settings are erased, and your device will be reset to its original factory state. Therefore, it is crucial to have the latest software and security patches installed to avoid any potential problems with the restore process.

Backup your iPad Air

Backing up your iPad Air is crucial before attempting to restore it to its original settings. Without a backup, you may lose all your data and settings permanently.

Backing up your iPad Air not only ensures that you get your data back after restoring but also saves you from the tedious task of reconfiguring your tablet from scratch.

It is especially important to create a backup if you have valuable data, such as photos, contacts, and crucial apps, that you cannot risk losing. By creating a backup, you can easily restore your tablet’s setting to what they were before, giving you access to all your apps, contacts, and data in one go.

In case the restore operation fails or takes longer than expected, backing up your iPad Air beforehand ensures that you don’t lose anything important that might have been added since the last backup. It is a safe and intelligent way to protect your valuable data.

Restoring from backup

Restore your iPad Air from iCloud backup

Once you have done a factory restore of your device, which erases the information and settings, you are ready to restore your iPad Air:

  1. Turn on your device and follow the on-screen instructions until you get to the quick start screen.
  2. Tap setup manually at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to set up a Wi-Fi network.
  4. You will be shown information about how Apple handles privacy.
  5. Create your device passcode and, if your device supports it, set up Face ID.
  6. When you reach the Apps & Data screen tap Restore from iCloud Backup.
  7. Sign in with your Apple ID and password.
  8. If you use 2-factor authentication enter your code.
  9. Read the terms and conditions and tap Agree.
  10. Choose a backup to restore from the list. Look at the dates and pick the most recent version.
  11. Continue the setup process over the next few screens until you see the Restore from iCloud screen with the progress bar. Stay connected to Wi-Fi and let the device restore the data. It can take anything from a few minutes to an hour for the restore to be completed.
  12. If you disconnect from Wi-Fi, the progress will be paused until you reconnect.

Restore iPad Air from a backup on your computer

Using iTunes

What you need before you begin:

  • A PC or Mac running macOS Mojave 10.14 or earlier
  • Your iPad Air
  • A USB cable

How to restore iPad Air:

  1. On your computer start iTunes.
  2. Use the USB cable to connect your computer to your iPad Air.
  3. If a message asks for your iPadOS device’s passcode or to Trust iPad, follow the onscreen steps.
  4. Pick your iPad when it appears in iTunes.
  5. Select Restore Backup.
  6. From the dropdown look at the date of each backup and pick the most recent one.
  7. Click Restore and, if prompted, enter the password for the backup.
  8. Click Continue and wait for the restore to finish.
  9. Your iPad will restart and sync so make sure you keep it connected to the Mac. You can disconnect after the sync has finished.

Using Finder

What you need before you begin:

  • A Mac running macOS Catalina 10.15 or later
  • Your iPad Air
  • A USB cable

How to restore iPad Air:

  1. On your Mac start Finder.
  2. Connect your iPad to your computer with a USB cable.
  3. If a prompt requests your device’s passcode or to Trust This Computer, follow the onscreen instructions.
  4. Choose your iPad when it appears in the Finder window.
  5. Click the Restore Backup button.
  6. Look at the date of each backup in the dropdown and pick the most recent one.
  7. Click the Restore button and, it prompted, enter the password for the backup and click Continue.
  8. Wait for the restore to finish.
  9. Your device will restart and sync so make sure you keep it connected to the Mac. You can disconnect after the sync has finished.

Common issues during a restore

During an iPad Air restore, there are various common issues that may occur. These include errors with the backup process, such as downloading or transferring data to the device. In some cases, the device may become stuck in a loop during the restore process, or may display error messages such as iTunes error 9 or iPad cannot be restored.

Another issue that may arise is data loss, as restoring the device erases all existing data and settings.

It is also important to ensure that the device has enough storage space for the restore process to complete successfully, as running out of space can cause errors or interruptions.

In some cases, hardware issues such as a damaged or malfunctioning charging port or battery can also cause complications during the restore process.

Some of the most common issues and suggested solutions are covered below.

What to do if your iPad Air gets stuck during the restore?

From an iCloud backup

If your iPad Air is stuck on Restore from iCloud Backup, there are a few steps you can take to try and resolve the issue:

  1. Check that you have a stable internet connection and enough free storage space on your device to restore the backup.
  2. If this doesn’t work, try resetting your network settings by going to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings. This will erase stored network settings such as Wi-Fi passwords, but may help resolve the issue.
  3. If this still doesn’t work, try restarting your device by holding down the side button and either volume button until the slide to power off option appears. Slide to power off and then turn your device back on.
  4. If the problem persists, you may need to contact Apple support for additional assistance or try restoring from a computer backup instead.

It’s important to remember to backup your iPad Air regularly to avoid any data loss in the future.

From a computer backup

If you are facing issues with restoring your iPad Air from computer backup, then there are a few things that you can try to fix the issue:

  1. Disconnect your iPad Air from your computer and then reconnect it again to see if that solves the problem.
  2. If it doesn’t work, try restarting your computer and iPad Air.
  3. You can also try using a different USB cable or port on your computer.

If these solutions don’t work, then you can try restoring your iPad Air using recovery mode. Before doing that, make sure that you have the latest version of iTunes installed on your computer.

You can put your iPad Air into recovery mode by doing the following:

  1. If iTunes is already open, close it, then open it again.
  2. Keep the iPad Air connected to your computer via an Apple-approved USB cable.
  3. Press and hold the Side button, also called the Sleep/Wake button. At the same time, hold down the Volume Down or the Volume Up button.
  4. There will be a Slide to Power Off message that comes up on the screen.
  5. Release the volume button and continue holding the Sleep/Wake button. Your iPad Air will power down.
  6. Keep holding down the button till you see the recovery mode screen.

Once in recovery mode, you can repeat the restore process on your iPad Air.

If none of these steps work, then you may need to contact Apple or visit an Apple Store for further assistance.

Why Does my iPad Air still Say “Restore in Progress”?

If your iPad Air is still saying Restore in Progress, it means that the restoration process has not yet completed.

This may occur due to a variety of reasons, including poor internet connection, interrupted iTunes connection, outdated iPadOS version, or corrupted downloaded firmware.

It is essential to ensure that you have a stable internet connection and the latest version of the iPadOS software before attempting to restore your device.

Additionally, it is recommended to use authentic Apple cables and accessories when restoring your iPad Air.

If the issue still persists, try disconnecting and reconnecting your device to iTunes and restarting your computer. In some rare cases, a factory reset may be necessary to resolve the restore issue.

Once the restoration process completes, your iPad Air should function normally, and you should be able to access all of your data and applications.

Restore from iCloud Backup Failed?

Restoring an iPad Air from an iCloud backup is usually a straightforward process, but there are instances when it fails.

The first thing to do when this happens is to check your internet connection and ensure that it’s stable. Most restore problems are caused by poor connectivity, so make sure that your device is properly connected to a strong Wi-Fi signal.

Another thing to try is to sign out of your iCloud account and then sign in again. Doing so can refresh your iCloud account and resolve any issues that may be causing the restore to fail.

If the problem persists, you can also try resetting your device to the factory settings. This can erase all your data, but it can also fix any underlying software issues that might be hindering the restore.

Finally, you can contact Apple Support for assistance. They can help you diagnose the problem and offer the best solution to restore your iPad Air from your iCloud backup.

How to restore specific iPad models

If you would like to recover the data and setting on a specific model of iPad, see the following guides:

If you have an iPhone, you can find out How to restore your iPhone data from a recent backup.


Where do I find the restore option on my iPad Air?

You can find the Restore option on your iPad Air in the Settings:

  1. Firstly, tap Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Scroll down the page to find the General option and tap on it.
  3. Now, look for the Reset option and select it.
  4. Here, you will see various restore options, including Erase All Content and Settings, Reset Network Settings, and Restore from iCloud Backup or iTunes Backup.
  5. If you wish to restore all of your settings and data back to factory settings, select Erase All Content and Settings.

It is important to note that restoring your iPad Air will delete all your personal data and settings, so it is critical to backup all of your important data before proceeding with the restore process.

Does restoring my iPad Air remove the passcode?

Restoring an iPad Air will remove the passcode. However, it is important to note that restoring an iPad Air also erases all the data saved on the device. So, if you want to restore your iPad Air to remove the passcode, make sure to backup all the important data beforehand.

Does restoring my iPad Air remove the Activation Lock?

When you restore your iPad Air from a backup using iTunes or iCloud, the device undergoes a complete wipe. This means all data, settings, and apps are erased, and then the backup data is reloaded onto the device. During this process, the Activation Lock is typically unlocked and removed, allowing you to set up your iPad Air as if it were new or associate it with a different Apple ID.

However, it’s important to note that if your iPad Air is still linked to an Apple ID with Activation Lock enabled, you will need to provide the correct credentials (Apple ID and password) to remove the Activation Lock.

If you don’t have the Apple ID and password then wiping and restoring your iPad Air will not remove the Activation Lock. This additional security measure ensures that only the rightful owner can reset and recover the device.

See how to wipe someone else’s Apple ID password from your device.

How long does it take to restore an iPad Air?

The time it takes to restore an iPad Air depends on various factors such as the size of the backup data, internet speed, and device condition. Typically, restoring an iPad Air from a backup can take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours.

If you are restoring a large amount of data, like photos, videos, music, and apps, then it could take longer.

The speed of your internet connection also plays a significant role during the restore process as the tablet may need to download the data from iCloud.

If your device is damaged or has a low power battery, then restoring your tablet might take longer due to additional diagnostic tests and software upgrades.

Overall, the average time to restore an iPad Air ranges from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the mentioned variables.

Can I restore an iPad Air that has been reset?

Yes, you can restore an iPad Air that has been reset.

If you have a backup of your iPad Air stored on iCloud or iTunes, you can easily restore your iPad Air to the state it was in before it was reset. Simply connect your iPad Air to a computer running iTunes or sign in to your iCloud account and select the most recent backup.

If you don’t have a backup, you won’t be able to restore your iPad Air to its previous state, but you can set it up as a new device.

Keep in mind that restoring your iPad Air will erase all data on the device, so make sure you have a current backup before proceeding.

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