iCloud backup is perhaps the best thing since the iPhone itself. Creating a backup means that you may lose the device (mugged/misplaced), but you won’t lose your data. Moreover, iCloud backup means that you don’t need to transfer data or content when you want to upgrade your iPhone. In short, there are so many advantages of having an iCloud backup that you cannot underplay this feature even if you try.

However, there are two worst-case scenarios attached to iCloud. They do not happen too often, but they can. These two scenarios are the two messages that show up on your screen when you either try to create a new backup or restore the old backup on a new or same device. These two messages are:

  • iTunes could not back up the [iPhone] because the backup was corrupt or not compatible with the [iPhone].
  • Tunes could not restore the [iPhone] because the backup was corrupt or not compatible with the [iPhone] that is being restored.

Both these messages may look similar, but they are entirely different when it is about addressing them. In case of the first message, it is quite simple that you are allowed to delete old back up as it may be corrupt. Once it is deleted you will be able to create a new backup. In case of the second message, you simply can’t delete any file as you need to restore them. Well, have a look at the troubleshooting techniques that can help address both these issues.

Creating a New Back-Up and Restoring the Back Up:

As stated earlier, both these errors have different troubleshooting methods, but some of them are common between them. Read them and apply them to see if it works:

Software Update for iOS and iTunes:

The primitive reason for a new update is to enhance device functionality and also introducing some new features. So, if you are facing any trouble with iCloud while running on an older iOS, you will need to update the iOS first. You should also update the iTunes to the latest version as old versions are creating some troubles for many users. You can do that by:

Software Update:

1. Go to the Settings.

2. Tap on the option General.

3. Next tap Software Update.

4. Download and install the new update. If you don’t see any downloading option it means that you are running on the latest iOS.

iTunes Update:

1. Go to Apple.

2. Click About This Mac.

3. Tap Software Update.

4. Now go with on-screen instructions of an update is available.

Reboot Both the Mac and iPhone While Connected:

The second tip is to restart both the iPhone and Mac while they are connected. Make sure that you are using the original charging cable for the connectivity. You also need to directly connect your iPhone as some people tend to use Hubs for connectivity.

Make sure iTunes recognize your device by tapping Trust this Device on your iPhone. Once done, restart both the devices at the same time. Shutdown the Mac and switch off the iPhone. Remember, don’t force restart your device while it is plugged into iTunes or it will go into recovery mode. This trick works for many users, so consider doing it twice or thrice if it fails once.

Security and Antivirus Software:

Since most of the people do not have Macs and they use Windows PC or a laptop, it is recommended that they temporarily disable any security, antivirus, and malware software. It could be that one of the software would be interfering with iTunes’ functionality which affects the backup. As a result, users are unable to create a new backup or restore data on their devices.

Some Mac users also tend to install third-party security software. There is nothing wrong with using third-party security software but make sure it is temporarily disabled for troubleshooting this backup issue. You may have to seek advice from the developers if you do not know how to disable them. Turn them back on once the issue has been sorted out.

Troubleshooting Techniques only for Creating a New Backup:

These techniques should only be applied if you see the corrupt or not compatible message while creating a new backup.

Remove Existing Backup:

There could be a file that’s corrupted in the existing backup or even a full backup could be corrupted. For that reason, you may need to remove the iCloud backup from iTunes so it can create an entirely new backup from the scratch. Removing doesn’t mean that you have to permanently delete it, simply transfer it to your computer as you may be able to recover it using a third-party software/app.

Transferring Existing Backup on Mac:

1. Launch Spotlight.

2. Type ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/.

3. Press the Enter key to open the Backup folder.

4. Now cut-paste it on the Mac.

Transferring Existing Backup on Windows:

1. Type %appdata% or %USERPROFILE% in the search bar at the bottom of the screen.

2. Locate and open the folder called ‘Apple’ or ‘Apple Computer’ > MobileSync > Backup

3. Now find your iPhone’ UDID by connecting it to iTunes.

4. Once located, look for a folder with the same name as UDID.

5. Transfer that folder to your desktop.

6. Doing this will prompt iTunes to ask you create a new backup (as the old one has been deleted from there)

Recreate Backup:

1. Launch Spotlight on your Mac.

2. Type: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/.

3. Press the Enter key to open the Backup folder.

4. Now cut-paste it on the Mac.

5. Create a new folder in Application Support called Mobile Sync.

6. Create another folder within Mobile Sync called Backup.

7. Now try creating a new backup.

Uninstall and Reinstall the iTunes:

Create a copy of all the existing iTunes backup (if you haven’t already in above steps) before opting for this method. Removing iTunes won’t delete the data but it is just a precautionary step. Once done, follow these steps:

1. Press-hold Command + R keys simultaneously.

2. The Apple logo or a spinning globe would appear on your screen.

3. Enter the device’ passcode if required.

4. Click on the Reinstall macOS from the options on the screen.

5. Follow the on-screen instructions and let the process finish.

On Windows PC, the process is quite simple. It is just like uninstalling an app from the Control Panel and downloading it again.

Troubleshooting Techniques only for Restoring a Backup:

Try these techniques if you want to restore backup but the message corrupt/not compatible backup appears on your screen.

If you have multiple Apple devices and you back up all of them to iTunes, you can restore a different backup to your device. Here is how:

On Mac/PC:

1. Connect your iPhone to the Mac/PC.

2. Click File on the menu bar followed by a click on Devices on iTunes.

3. Next, click the option Restore from Backup.

4. Now select an alternative backup to restore from.

From iCloud on iPhone:

1. Go to the Settings and tap the option General.

2. Next, locate the option Reset and tap on it.

3. Now, Erase All Content and Settings. Provide the passcode if required.

4. Set up your phone and tap on the option Restore from iCloud Backup.

5. Restore from a different backup.

Conclusively, these are some of the quick troubleshooting techniques that can come handy when your iPhone tells you that your backup is corrupt or not compatible. They usually deliver the goods but if they don’t, many third-party apps can be really assistive in addressing this issue.