Previous 1 2 3 Next 75 Replies Latest reply: Aug 28, 2015 9:30 AM by jshrager Branched to a new discussion.
Tom_Cheltenham_UK Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I am having a bad time with trying to ensure that my future iPad backups are not encrypted.  I have never told iTunes to encrypt my backups. iTunes has done this automatically and without my knowledge.  A significant number of people online (and on this site) have noted that they also feel that iTunes has done this without their knowledge.


I do NOT want to recover previous backups I only want to create new backups which are unencrypted so I can be sure that I will be able to restore my iPad without being asked for a password I did not enter, but apparently until I input the aforementioned password (whatever the **** iTunes has decided that should be) it won't let me uncheck the "encrypt" box on the device summary page to do this.


As part of the advice I received from the Apple tech I deleted all my historic backups (unencrypted and the last which was encrypted) and tried recreating a new one.  This was also encrypted.


Due to the fact I am running iTunes on Windows I cannot access keychain and so recover the password.


Apparently the password is NOT:

My current PIN,

My current windows admin password (I thought this would be unlikely but it was the Apples phone tech's advice so I thought I would try it)

ANY 4 digit number or combination of such (had to run Elcomsoft iPhone password cracker to determine)

ANY word in the English language with minimal mutation (again courtesy of Elcomsoft)


So basically unless I want to run a comprehensive brute force attack on the backup to determine the password (Elcomsofts excellent iPhone password cracker calculates resolution within the next 153 years) then my only other option is to lose a lot of data and more of my precious hairline.


As mainly a PC user I want a proper solution to the issue and not some guff about wiping my iPad and its data.  Hopefully someone from their software devs will admit that iTunes does this so they can tell me what the default password should be.  Although I rather believe that my post will more likely find itself censored or deleted.



Sent from (Apple's pwns) My iPad.

  • Lawrence Finch Level 7 Level 7 (33,330 points)

    Tom_Cheltenham_UK wrote:


    I am having a bad time with trying to ensure that my future iPad backups are not encrypted.  I have never told iTunes to encrypt my backups. iTunes has done this automatically and without my knowledge.  A significant number of people online (and on this site) have noted that they also feel that iTunes has done this without their knowledge.


    What is a "significant number?" In almost 4 years my iPhone backup has never been encrypted against my will by iTunes. With 100 million phones a significant number would be over a million. The few messages posted about this are likely from people who chose to encrypt the backup at some time in the past and forgot they did so. You only have to do it once; you don't have to reaffiirm with each backup.

  • Tom_Cheltenham_UK Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Sorry, that should be UNHELPFUL answer.  Mr Finch, unless your response actually contributes to the issue instead of rushing to the defence of iTunes please put yourself in the shoes of a signicant number of people who have experienced this issue.  Classic example of black swan - just because you or anyone you know has never experienced this issue DOES NOT mean it doesnt exist, so please don't rush to deride my comments especially if you are not running iTunes on a Windows PC.

  • Klaus Bach Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Well, I'm one of these cases of turning on deliberately the password of the backup. The place I work at told us in case we use the device to access firm's information, all backups are supposed to be encrypted.

    The problem is, I don't use the device to access the company's data anymore, and I don't recall the password used. All I want is turn off the encrypted backup and nothing more. I don't care about the data backed-up (I have all the media and files I need to sync back), and I don't care about past backups. However, I care much about how the iPad is set. Why? Because I bought an iPad 2 and want to transfer all the settings from the iPad to it. To do so, I want to clear the current encrypted backup, do a fresh passwordless backup and then restore on the new iPad 2.

    It's unbelievable there isn't a way we could retrieve a lost password. Does it mean I have to loose everything I configured and every app setting my old iPad is tied to? Many apps I bought have settings that won't be carried over to the new device.

    I really sympathize with Tom's issue. There should be a way to turn off the encryption feature, even if it is to loose past backups. Even more, a way to recover the password is what this process need.

  • Lawrence Finch Level 7 Level 7 (33,330 points)

    As soon as there is a way to recover a password there will be hacks that take advantage of it. The ONLY secure password is one is unidirectionally encrypted. That is, once the password is created there is no practical way to determine what it was. If a site can tell you what your password was you should not be using that site. They may be able to let you reset your password if you can prove who you are through personal information you provided, but they should not be able to recover your password.  If you forget your Mac, Unix, Linux or Windows password there is no way to recover it - all you can do is reinstall the operating system and lose all of your data. (Well, actually you CAN recover a Windows password, but that's a bug, not a feature, and essentially renders Windows inherently unsecure).


    As to being able to delete the backup completely and start over with a fresh backup, I'm pretty sure there is a way to do that, although I haven't tried. I assume you would at the least delete the backup at the file system level, rather than with iTunes. You might also have to delete your iTunes database file that contains your playlists and rebuild it.

  • Klaus Bach Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Yes, delete the backup is not really the problem... what actually I needed was a way to transfer the settings from one device to another without relying on the backup/restore method.

    As for the password recovery, I perfectly understand your point of hacks that could take advantage, but there are methods that can safely safeguard your password and no one could retrieve but yourself. But I guess my point here is, if a person wants to disable the encrypted backup, knowingly and willingly at the expense of losing all previous backup files, that should be allowed. If you want to disable an encryption, you already have an iPad at hand and already have access to the information on it. And it would be probably connected to the computer where the iPad was backed up.

  • Jim VanLeeuwen Level 6 Level 6 (18,820 points)

    Tom_Cheltenham_UK wrote:


    As mainly a PC user I want a proper solution to the issue and not some guff about wiping my iPad and its data.

    The only solution for your problem is to restore your iPad and set it up as a new device.  From iPad: About Backups,


    You can consider that "guff" if you want, but it's the only way to start over.

  • nw3227 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    This is a huge bug that Apple apparently does not view as a bug, based on my experience just now with Apple's online support staff. One would think that the existing backup could be deleted and a new backup created with a new password, but that is not permitted. In a word: ridiculous.

  • doktor_B Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    There is a way to retrieve the backup password (which I - like most other users in this and related posts - never actively set, so it clearly *IS* a bug in iTunes!!):



    Make sure you download the free trial version, install, locate the backup that you want to recover and hit start. After a few minutes it identified the missing password. The free version only provides the first two letters, which did the job for me, if you need more info, you'll have to pay for the commercial version of the program. worked like a charm for me!!


    also check out this thread for more information:


  • Izo Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    The same problem.

    Would icloud solve the problem ?

  • Tom_Cheltenham_UK Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Sorted.  JB-ing iPad worked as I could access the file with the passwords on the root of the device and delete.

  • DreamWorld Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    The iOS upgrade process should tell you that you have an encrypted backup and ask you to enter the password BEFORE it wipes your device!  Since the process doesn't do this you are guarateed to lose all of your data when you upgrade to iOS 5 if you don't know the password. 


    This would be a terrible design if the only way to get an encrypted backup was to check the "Encrypt Backup" box yourself.  However, I never elected to encrypt my backup.  As far as I can tell, an app that I installed or perhaps it was Exchange sync somehow turned on encrypt backup.  It also appears that setting a PIN may also do this (just search around the forums). 


    Given that an app can apparently enable encrypted backups and set a password, the fact that the upgrade process does not protect you from having your data wiped is beyond terrible design, it moves into the realm of Apple being liable for the lost data (although I'm sure the insane EULA covers this to protect Apple).


    So, now after having lost ALL of the data on my iPad, I still cannot backup my device.  I may try JB-ing to fix it.


    One thing is for sure...this is the last Apple product I purchase.

  • LAOMUSIC ARTS Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I am having exactly the same issue here !
    But I´ll overcome these i...

  • Markus_ Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    One possible reason for the encryption could be the usage of the iPhone Configuration Utility. See its documentation - first chapter - on device restrictions.

  • FixTheBackupSystem Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    This is a nightmare... i didnt have a password i didnt know what was wrong and now i lost a bunch of free apps... I hate this


    They really need to fix that


    Everyone here agrees they need to fix the backup system

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