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How to use iPhone Backup Extractor

Aidan Fitzpatrick

by Aidan Fitzpatrick

Updated on

We've designed Reincubate iPhone Backup Extractor to be easy for users of all levels, on Windows and macOS.

If you haven't already got iPhone Backup Extractor installed, check out our guide on downloading and installing it. That'll get you the free version, which can do most things you need without the requirement to register. Don't forget we also have a guide on how to activate it.

If you'd just like to get up and running quickly, we recommend the video below. If you'd like to get into more detail on using the software, the rest of this article is for you.

iPhone Backup Extractor's interface is pretty simple. Once you've run it, you'll see its window is divided into two sections: a section running down the left-hand side for selecting data sources, and a wide part to the right of the window, where data is shown.

Using the left-hand navigation

The left-hand navigation bar is used to list the different sources of data available to iPhone Backup Extractor. By default, it will show all iTunes backups available to the current user.

If you provide iPhone Backup Extractor with more information, it will show more in the left-hand navigation.

Data source shown How to make it appear
* iCloud backups
* iCloud Photo Library
* iCloud Photo Stream
* Real-time iCloud data that exists outside of backups, such as contacts For iCloud information, you'll need to add the details of your iCloud account in the preferences section.
* Apple Watch backups Backups for Apple Watches are stored in encrypted backups, and will be shown once the password for an encrypted backup has been entered. To do this, select the encrypted backup in the left-hand navigation.
* iTunes backups stored in non-default locations To see additional iTunes backups stored in non-default locations, you'll need to specify those additional locations in the preferences dialog.

At the bottom of the left-hand navigation is a handy "+" button. This is a shortcut to bring up the Preferences dialog.

Using the Preferences dialog

The Preferences dialog can be opened on macOS by using the main iPhone Backup Extractor menu. On Windows, the dialog can be opened using the "File" menu.

Alternately, on both Windows and macOS it can be opened by clicking the "+" at the bottom of the left-hand navigation menu. The dialog has two panes: one for general settings, and one for iCloud settings.

Managing backup locations

Reincubate iPhone Backup will always search for backups in the user's default iTunes backup location. For security and privacy reasons, iPhone Backup Extractor won't search for backups created by other users of your computer, unless you explicitly add the backup paths for those folders, or copy them into your default backup location. You should not do this without the explicit consent of the backup's creator.

iTunes backups can be read even if they have been moved from their original location. Consequently, if you store your backups on Dropbox, Google Drive, or on a network drive, you can add that path using the Preferences dialog, and iPhone Backup Extractor will find your backups.

The dialog includes a link to your default folder, and if you click the link, it'll open your default folder with backups in Windows Explorer or macOS Finder.

Managing iCloud accounts

If iCloud accounts are added to Reincubate iPhone Backup Extractor, the interface will show the ability to retrieve files and data stored in the accounts.

When an account is added, users will need to input their iCloud password, and -- if two-factor authentication (2FA) is enabled -- a code that will be sent to their device. The iPhone Backup Extractor will remember that the account has been added to it, but it will not save 2FA data and will only store the account's password if the "Remember password" box has been checked.

Neither the account's details nor the password is ever stored by Reincubate.

Enabling or disabling sample data

iPhone Backup Extractor includes a rich set of sample data for users to experiment with. It can be used to see how the software can manipulate a backup. The sample backup is named "Johnny Appleseed's iPhone", and will appear if the "Enable sample account" box is checked.

Using iPhone Backup Extractor

To the right of the left-hand navigation pane is the main panel where backup information is shown.

If you have no backups available on your computer, the welcome screen will be shown. This presents information on how to get started.

Once a backup or iCloud account has been made available and been selected, the view will change to presenting information about the backup or account. This varies according to the type of backup or account selected.

Accessing iTunes backups

Towards the top of the screen, details are shown to indicate the device or backup's name, size, and last modified date. If the backup is encrypted, Reincubate iPhone Backup Extractor will ask for the password, and once that has been provided, backup details will be shown as usual. For privacy reasons, the software does not "remember" the password and will not store it. Under that, a set of tabs are shown, letting users switch between different views. Those views are:

  • Overview
  • Preview
  • Expert Mode
  • App View

The primary function of the overview is to help users see at a glance how much data they have for each app, and to make it easy to export it. Check out our "importing & exporting data" section for more information on working with iOS data.

Downloading iCloud backups

Similar to when viewing an iTunes backup, a set of tabs are shown, exposing what can be done with the iCloud backup:

  • Categories
  • Individual files
  • Full backup

Downloading iCloud contacts

If one or more iCloud accounts have been added to iPhone Backup Extractor, "Contacts" will appear in the left-hand navigation. If this is selected, a straightforward interface will be shown, allowing users to download their contacts from the iCloud.

Downloading iCloud Photo Library

If one or more iCloud accounts have been added to iPhone Backup Extractor, "Photo Library" will appear in the left-hand navigation. If this is selected, a simple interface will be shown, allowing users to download their iCloud Photo Library's contents from the iCloud.

Downloading iCloud Photo Stream

If one or more iCloud accounts have been added to iPhone Backup Extractor, "Photo Stream" will appear in the left-hand navigation. If this is selected, an interface will be shown, allowing users to download their iCloud Photo Streams.

Using the licensing and activation controls

Don't forget, we have a guide on how to activate iPhone Backup Extractor.

The licensing and activation controls in Reincubate iPhone Backup Extractor are straightforward: towards the top of the main window, the word "Activate" or "License" will be shown as a link.

If "Activate" is shown, it means that the software is not activated. In other words, you have not signed into it using your Reincubate account. Accounts can be created freely on our site, and are automatically created during the purchase process. Clicking "Activate" will guide you through the activation process.

If "License" is shown at the top of the iPhone Backup Extractor window, it means that the software has been activated with your license. You can click "License" to see more information about your license, and to deactivate it, if you wish. If you have several accounts, and you wish to switch between them, you can use the deactivation button to do so.

Resetting or recovering the Screen Time passcode or restrictions PIN

The Screen Time passcode (called "restrictions passcode" prior to iOS 12) is the PIN set in iOS to enable parental controls on an iPhone. Apple provide more information about it on their site.

Reincubate iPhone Backup Extractor's menu includes a "Utilities" section, which has two functions for the Screen Time passcode: to reset it, and to recover it.

Recover Screen Time passcode or restrictions PIN

The Screen Time parental restrictions passcode can be recovered using the "Recover Screen Time / restrictions passcode" option in the Utilities menu. The option will be greyed out if no Screen Time or restrictions passcode is set on the backed up device.

Reset restrictions PIN

The restrictions passcode can be reset using the "Reset Restrictions PIN" option in the Utilities menu. The option will be greyed out if no restrictions passcode is set on the backed up device. Once this has been done, the PIN can be removed by using iTunes to restore the backup to the device.

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