I’ve been known to be rough with my devices, particularly when it’s my 40th birthday and I’ve been drinking a good strong stout. I’ve dropped an iOS device or two, cracking the display on at least one iPhone badly enough that I had to have it replaced. I have so much information stored on my iPhone that it’d cost me to recover the data stored on it from its backup. Apple offers two ways to back up and restore your content: using iTunes, or iCloud. I’m not a big fan of iTunes, so I prefer to have my iOS devices set up to automatically store any and all information on my iPhone — pictures, videos, my device settings, whatever — to the iCloud storage I’m paying for. But not everyone wants to pay to upgrade their iCloud storage. So if you’re not paying for iCloud, are you stuck using the iTunes application to back up your iPhone (or iPad, or iPod)? This week I tested an app that provides a different way to recover data from a broken iPhone without having to use iCloud, and with or without using iTunes.
Recover Data Without Using iTunes
With Wondershare Dr. Fone for iOS, you can attempt to recover data directly from your iOS device. Dr. Fone is able to recover seven types of deleted data from the latest generation of iOS devices: iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPad mini, the latest iPad, iPad (with Retina display), iPad 2, and iPod touch (5th generation). The software is able to recover 12 types of data directly from the earlier generation devices iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, the first iPad, and iPod touch (4th generation).
Installation of the Dr. Fone is straightforward, and once you launch the program, you are prompted to connect your iOS device.
Once you connect your iOS device — I tested with an iPod touch — you’ll be presented with the option to either Recover from iOS Device or Recover from iTunes Backup File.
Selecting the Recover from iOS option will initiate communication with your iOS device.
Upon initiation, the app will begin scanning your device.
In my testing of Dr. Fone, the utility displayed that it expected the scan to take about 38 minutes, but it only took about five minutes in actuality each time I tested the software.
Once done scanning, the program will return a list of items that the program will be able to recover. At this point you’ll need to select which data you’d like to collect from your device. By default, if there are any items in a data category, the category will have its checkbox selected. If you would prefer not to recover any particular category of data (your entire photo collection, for example), simply deselect the category.
Having selected which photos and other data you wish to pull from your broken iPhone, click the Recover button and then select a location (your Documents folder is the default) in which to save the data you’re recovering.
During my testing of the software, the actual recovery of files to a physical hard drive took even less time than the scanning process took — about two minutes. The time it takes will depend on how much data you have on your device and how much you wish to save, of course.
The data from your broken iPhone is now safe and sound! You can now browse the folder just as you would with any other directory. For example, you can display the folder of images associated with contacts recovered from your iPod.
Recover Data Using iTunes
You’re not limited to recovering data directly from your iOS device. As mentioned before, you have the option of recovering from your iTunes Backup by using Dr. Fone’s Recover from iTunes Backup File option. This option will scan your iTunes application rather than your device and sort through its backups of your iOS devices — assuming you’ve been using iTunes’ backup feature. If you aren’t in the habit of backing up your iPad using iTunes, however, this won’t help you much.
Just as with the Recover from iOS Device option, Dr. Fone will present you with a list of data items discovered during its scan, from which you will then be able to select the photos, contacts, and other data items that you’d like to have saved to your PC. This is a feature, by the way, Wondershare says “you can’t do with iTunes.” So you can recover what you want. (By the way, I didn’t feel the need to provide images of this or any of the Recover from iTunes Backup File process, as the resulting screen captures would be practically identical to those already posted above.)
As I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion, I’m not a big fan of iTunes. That said, if you’re not backing up your iPhone’s data to iCloud, then I recommend getting into the habit of firing up iTunes every once in a while (or every day if you’re a power user), if only to use its backup facility. Otherwise, Dr. Fone will only be able to work with the most recent backup — and if there are none, then the program will having nothing to work with!
The Prognosis: if You Have a Broken iPhone, Dr. Fone Could Help
When I first began reviewing this tool, I wasn’t terribly impressed. I thought that if I ever needed to recover data from a broken iPhone, I’d simply collect the data from my iCloud, which is updated pretty much any time I’m connected to the Internet. Aye, but there’s the rub: “pretty much.” There are occasions where I’m not getting a good connection, and the only way I’d be able to recover the latest data I’ve saved to my iOS device in such an instance would be using a utility such as Dr. Fone.
What do you think? Have you lost data from a broken iPhone? Do you wish you’d had a utility such as Dr. Fone that would’ve helped you to selectively recover the photos and contacts and other information from your damaged device?