How To Restore Your 2.1 Backup

Author: BigBoss  //  Category: General, Jailbreak

So you have jailbroken your 2.1 and it worked well. You went and restored your backup and all the sudden it won’t boot. Just apple logo! So, grumbling in anger, you start all over and go to restore your backup, and same thing. Now you have to type in all your contacts from scratch, right? Wrong.

There are two common issues you may face when restoring your backup:

1) iPhone won’t reboot – just apple logo and maybe vibration every 10 seconds.
2) iPhone backup works fine. But now you only have a few icons. Cydia is missing. What can you do where did all your icons go?

The answers to these follow.

First, to address issue #2, missing icons (because this one is easier). This occurs because you had installed categories and moved a bunch of files into folders. When you restore, your springboard plist will be restore and that contains a bunch of hidden icons. Here are your options

1) Prevent this situation by unhiding icons and/or deleting your folders before you do yoru final backup before you upgrade

2) After your jailbreak ends, before you restore your backup, install some things that will help you such as: openssh, poof, bossprefs (any of these you did not have installed before would be great). Here is a prioritized list of options:

a) Install Poof if BossPrefs was hidden install BossPrefs if Poof was hidden. Either of these can completely unhide all your apps. If both were used and hidden then move to B.

b) If settings is available, run that. Enable restrictions, disable restrictions. All your apps will be visible. If settings was hidden, move to C.

c) SSH into the iPhone with scp or ssh. If you don’t know how, use this guide. Navigate yourself over to /var/mobile/Library/Preferences and delete Respring your iPhone by typing “killall SpringBoard” into SSH or, if you don’t know how to do that, just reboot. All your hidden apps will be visible.

The first issue, the iphone that won’t reboot, can be caused by a couple things. One is having 5 icon dock installed and then restoring the backup without it installed. To prevent this, install 5 icon dock prior to restoring the backup. Also install openSSH before restoring your backup. In worst case event, you can ssh in and delete /var/mobile/Library/Preferences/ This should let the iPhone boot up.

Note: if you had jailbroken and decided not to jailbreak 2.1 you are screwed. You must jailbreak to fix this.

BigBoss Authors: Mark Bruce & Kory Lee

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46 Responses to “How To Restore Your 2.1 Backup”

  1. Help! Categories messed up my iphone - Page 12 Says:

    [...] a afternoon. After the third time, it becomes a chore. Received an email. This will explain it: How To Restore Your 2.1 Backup | iPhone News, Help and Guides How To Upgrade In iTunes | iPhone News, Help and Guides BigBoss Enable [...]

  2. Tipp #8: Restoreolj okosan! | Says:

    [...] mondani, hogy szívás, korrupt lett a backup fájlod, ez van, ezt kell szeretni, most viszont BigBoss összeszedett pár lehetséges [...]

  3. Kyle Flanagan Says:

    BigBoss, great tips in this one. I followed your instructions in the (FIRST ISSUE) and had my back-up restored with a hitch. Thanks much.

  4. mach54 Says:

    Ok bit the bullet and upgraded my Itouch to 2.1
    I had 5icon and cats. on it before. I couldn’t remember if the backup i had was before the 5icon dock or not I did have to delelte the lockdown folder in itunes on the first jb. Before i restored it i downloaded the 2.1 firmware from a site in an old link here (your link for itouch doesnt work BB) Then i uninstalled the 5icon dock along with cat.s yes i unhid all the apps. Restore from itunes and jb went flawless. But in the backup i got the spinning apple of death. I noticed as it tryed to backup my “other” partition was getting smaller it was writing over the firmware!!!!!! What I did was I had to force it to shut off held both buttons, re-restored and JB went flawless, installed 5icon and ssh then set it up as new heck there was nothing on it i needed any way. Hope this helps you guys out i watched my “other” partition get smaller. from 286mb to 101 at one point.

  5. Kyle Flanagan Says:

    Oops, that was meant to read ‘without a hitch‘ :)

  6. memo Says:

    None of Cydia Apps appears in AppBackup. Only “regulars apps” from AppleStore.
    Before upgrading to 2.2 I want to backup PdaNet and SwirlyMMS I paid for. How could I do ?
    Many thanks for your help.

  7. Lucee Says:

    Hi there BB:
    I have windows, JailB 3G 2.1fw iphone wanting to upgrade to 2.2 fw, what do I use to jb again. from what I read the baseband will change if i used quickpwn to jb. Also what software should i used to do the upgrade. I would appreciated some guidance on this.

  8. Mcgl0re Says:


    Are you going to need to have the chance to unlock later? If the anwer is yes, there is no way unless you find a custom restore file. I believe they are not legal to share. Find a mac and use the pwnage tool. Follow the guide on the main page of this site.

    Know if you are not going to be unlocking your phone you can use quickpwn for windows. THIS DECREASES YOUR CHANCE FOR A SOFTWARE UNLOCK ANYTIME SOON.
    Hope that helps. :)

  9. Help !!! Says:

    [...] How To Restore Your 2.1 Backup | iPhone News, Help and Guides [...]

  10. Fernando Says:

    Hi BigBoss:
    I’m running on 2.0.1 and love all the apps that I have downloaded with Cydia (several from you). I’m thinking on upgrading to 2.1
    Following your very clear instructions I’m stuck right at the beginning because when I right click on devices it only gives me the following choices:
    Sync, Transfer Purchase, Restore from Backup and Reset Warnings. I don’t get the backup choice.
    Please help. Maybe I should stick with what I got.

  11. David Says:

    See what Mcgl0re said in comment # 8, below. When you obtain a customized ipsw for FW 2.2 (customized to retain the old baseband, and obtained by using the pwnage tool on a Mac, or getting someone to do that for you), then perform a Shift-Restore from within iTunes, which will allow you to navigate to your customized ipsw file and use it for your restore. I have to send my iPhone in for a repair and will try this myself late next week; I’ll report my experience in the thread I started yesterday as a comment on the “Duct tape and string post” on the Dev-Team Blog (

  12. A-Rob Says:

    The 2.1 jailbreak and unlock went great. The only trouble I am having is that all my categories folders are gone. Is there anything I can do at this point or should I just put all the apps back in folders? Was there a step that I missed? I have jailbroken, unlocked, restored my back-up in itunes, restored aptbackups, unhide all my icons, synced to itunes and restored my app store apps.

  13. Alex Says:

    I have an opposite problem – I had to reset my settings because I changes the Sensitivity slider in SuperPrefs and was not able to move it back in like two hours! I had AppBackup restored all my settings succesfully, but what I get was all categories intact WITH all the icons of apps inside, but each of them also had an extra copy outside just thrown all onto the SB!
    I treied to open/close Categories, etc., but short of deleting all the icons inside the category and then re-adding them again, nothing works.
    Please, advise.

    PS I have new 3G 2.2 jailbroken by Quickpwn, everything works perfect, although the problem with sliders persist in ALL applications, moving them is a real pain. But in my case using the slider to decrease the sensitivity fot “touch” affected the sensitivity of the slider itself which caused the problem.

  14. Jordan Says:

    Hello, I’m upgrading my iPhone 2G unlocked/jailbroken from fw 2.0 to fw 2.2 and have some quick questions I’d like to clarify.

    I’ve done the full backup (took about 7 hours with my phone) and am ready for step 3 (restoring with the new firmware) of the “How To Upgrade In iTunes” tutorial.

    1) Do I have to put my phone into DFU mode? or do I just click restore (while holding shift to select my firmware)? and if I do have to, what would be the best way (using windows)?

    Next would be step 4. I’m in Canada and am on the Rogers network which have iPhones, but would still like to keep my phone unlocked and jailbroken as its a 2G phone which aren’t available here.

    2) Should I assume I need to follow steps 5 and so on to re-jailbreak and re-unlock my phone?

    Thanks in advance.

  15. BigBoss Says:

  16. eco-friendly Says:

    I’m on a 1st Gen Iphone going from 1.1.4 to the latest version 2.2.

    I’ve followed all the steps on the PWNAGE Guided page, however, after STEP 4, I was taken straight to STEP 8 — I was never prompted to search for the Bootloader that I placed in the Doc folder as instructed. Strange?

    I tried all the steps, from beginning to end including restoring, 3 times! But still was never prompted in the PWNAGE TOOL app to the Bootloader file.

    The only thing I can possibly attribute this to, is that from a Mac, using Safari, when I tried to download the Bootloader link provided ( I was taken to a page with encrypted syntax. So, I searched for another Bootloader download link and found this one ( which seem to offer the same files illustrated in the PWNAGE Guided page.

    So, how can I do STEPS 5 through to 8?

    Any thoughts would be greatly helpful as I can’t use my phone :-(

    Thanks in advance!

  17. Brad In H-Town Says:

    I have a 3G and Upgraded to 2.2. Lost Cydia and Installer icons. Step 2b fixed my problem. Thanks!!

  18. Rodney Says:

    I installed cateories in my 3g. I performed a system restore. All of my apps that I left in the new folders are gone including my calender along with my favorite apps. I need help.

  19. Chanimal Says:

    I don’t know why, but my Settings and Weather icons have gone missing. However, I had put Settings in my dock within SBSettings. That’s the only way I can get to settings now, is through the dock in SBSettings. Can anyone tell me how I can retrieve the from within the dock in SBSettings? So I can add it back into Applications? Any suggestions about the default Weather icon would be much appreciated as well. I have installed MyWeather. That is working fine with its icon and all, but the stock Weather application and icon are gone. Thanks!

  20. Abou Says:

    Hey man you guys keep up the good work. Thanks

  21. nikilaos Says:

    after a good search on your guides about how to restore your apps,with ApTbackup everything s ok
    thank ya

  22. NisB Says:

    Hi BigBoss,

    Let me brief you first, I am using, I guess, unlocked/jailbroken iPhone 3G. On the day I baught it, I updated it through iTunes and it went onto the ‘Emergency Call’ mode and also said that Insert the valid Sim Card. It was unlocked/opened by a shopkeeper thus don’t know how and by which tools. Now, I came to know about various methods to use firmware updates without getting the phone locked by iTunes.

    I tried to restore and update through iTunes by clicking Shift Key and selecting the fiemware 2.2 (I downloaded it) but in both try a msg came that iTunes can’t do it. At the same time on the screen of my phone a Penguin comes and ‘’ is written below.

    i tried to put it on DFU mode and restore it but agani it did not work on iTune showed error (1).

    Thanks to QuickPwn 2.2-1 which said click and hold the Sleep & Home button for 15 sec and the phone started again as usual.

    Now, with all this information, can you guide me to update/upgrade my phone to 2.2 where I also can use any GSM SIM and add any application (Is it unlock and jailbreak?).

    In the system the Version is 2.0.2 (5C1) & Modem Firmware is 04.05.04_G

    Please help me!!!


  23. Ram G Says:

    For categories related problems,
    another way without jailbreaking works in the same way of deleting the plist file via iphone browser on windows machines.

    Hope this helps

  24. Iphone Apps Says:

    Some applications are games that you can install in your iPhone. With this, you can be sure that you will never get bored while you are traveling again. There are hundreds or even thousands of games that you can download in to your iPhone.

  25. Altisssimo Says:

    Just quickly, you rock! Enabling and disabling Restrictions worked a treat… Excellent!

  26. wintifrosch Says:

    I miss an option 2d) since i turned off SSH before the update (stupid me!). So: no SSH, no categories, all settings, cydia, BossPrefs… Utilities hidden.
    I *can* talk to the iPhone (with 2.2.1) in DFU mode over USB using iPHUC on a Mac. But with iPHUC there are only a few commands and no shell, right?
    How can I remove the file or turn on SSH? A script to be uploaded?

  27. Kalebarkab Says:

    I want to find good pop music. Help me please.

  28. lee Says:

    thanks big boss! I upgraded to 3.0 and was wondering where the hell my easy wifi app went… i went to the app store and it said it was installed but was missing from the springboard!! all I did was enable/disable restrictions and POOF they were back. thanks a million, I almost restored AGAIN because of it. Also I noticed that some of my themes stuck through the upgrade since my latest backup was with the 2.1 jailbreak so it kinda cued me into the fact that poof and some other jail broken apps were still running….

  29. jimmyB Says:

    In preparing to upgrade my 3G iPhone to 3.0, I removed all of the hidden apps from Categories. After upgrading and restoring the apps are nowhere to be found. I have followed the instructions above, but the apps don’t show up in BossPrefs, and I have deleted the with no success. Perhaps this is something with 3.0? This doesn’t look good, please help!


  30. Ovrdrvn Says:

    I sadly restored my old backup to a new 3Gs. Phone works great but all previously hidden apps are still hidden and with no jailbreak right now for 3Gs i can’t get to these. I’m nervous to sync with my old phone at this point as the new one is synced up properly. Now what?

  31. Haris Says:

    Thanks a lot for the instruction how to un-hide apps icon that was hidden by “Poof” and “Categories”.

    I just upgrade my iPhone 3G from 2.2.1 to 3.0, after jailbreak and restore from the back up. And then sync with iTunes. I found all my apps that was hidden by Poof or in Categories folder disappear from Springboard. I used the step 2 point b. It fixed my issue. Even I don’t install Poof & Categories yet.

  32. jgar1 Says:

    Hi I’m running 2.2 still as all the apps I use are not ported yet. I did a restore using AptBackup, however after the restore I seem to be stuck with two stationary timer circles at the bottom of my dock that are there all the time, even after a restart. Is there any way to remove these?


  33. iflex Says:

    Hi, I no longer see my Cydia’s apps after upgrading to 3.0 (didn’t try AptBackup prior)
    When I try to upgrade Cydia Installer or install some apps from it (BossPrefs, Winterboard etc) I get an error like “Couldn’t configure pre-depend dpkg for ncurses, probably a dependency cycle”
    How to fix this and get Cydia and its apps working again? Thanks beforehand!

  34. JDES Says:

    I upgraded, then jb, my apps from cydia is gone then i followed the directions in deleting “var/mobile/library/preferences” and now it did show most of my apps but i cant open Cydia now????? it launches but then closes after 5 secs… help!

  35. Cub3 Says:

    Just did it all and worked perfectly for me, have done alot of theming on the Iphone 2G before (you would know if you downloaded my tenuis flow theme) and this allows me to bring it back hopefully if winterboard works, ill be checking the forums for the next few days


  36. Gigabyte77 Says:

    So I just found a new way to restore icons that were hidden by poof or categories. I have a 3GS and used GeoHot’s jailbreak method. I installed my favorite app SBSettings (thanks BigBoss!) and used the poof app built-in to hide the Freeze app that the jailbreak uses to install Cydia. For one reason or another I had to restore some time after this. I tried the jailbreak again and unfortunately the freeze app was still poofed and I couldn’t install Cydia to get SBSettings, Poof!, or BossPrefs.

    So what I did was this: Go into Settings > General > Restrictions. Tap on Enable Restrictions and enter a passcode twice (if you don’t have one already). Then just tap on Disable Restrictions and enter the passcode you just set up. Hit the Home button and all of your previously poofed icons should be back.

    Hope this helps!

  37. Gigabyte77 Says:

    Oops! I am an idiot. I should have read BigBoss’s entire post. It was right there as Item B. I wish I would have caught that an hour ago :)

  38. Dragan Says:

    I upgrade from 2.2 to 3.0 made aptbackup,make copy of my stash,user folders. After i started aptbakup it took 15 minutes then it restarted and go in respring for 15 times. I had to restore again. I check on iPhone browser and no Apps from cydia in Aplication folder. iTunes applications are all on place but Cydia apps non. What to do? Do i have to install them one by one again?

  39. Dragan Says:

    Even my Themes are missing…nothing is on a iPhone exept iTunes apps.

  40. KCB Says:

    Thank you! Thank you! THANK YOU!!!
    Enabling and disabling Restrictions did the trick.

  41. Paul Says:

    Okay, all my “bought” and “cydia” apps are hidden. I updated from 3.0.1 to 3.1 and couldn’t do it anyother way as my phone crashed in 3.0.1.
    3.1 works fine, I can access poof, sbsetting and bossprefs from spotlight but they all three tell me that all my apps are showing (setting to ON). But they aren’t.
    I already tried your 1, 2, a, b, c things to do but that doesn’t change a thing.
    I can also access all my apps through spotlight too.
    But I would like to see them. I restored my phone twice already with pwnagetool 3.1.3.
    Apps stil invisible…
    Any more tricks down your sleeve ?

  42. Paul Says:

    Okay so now, even new apps I download from the app store go invisible right away… I don’t even see them downloading.
    When I go to poof, they have their icon ON but I can’t see them

    I can’t find anything like this on the net. Argh…

  43. Paul Says:

    Re jailbroke it again and this time, all my icons re appeared…
    Haven’t re installed Categories this time around… Wierd..

  44. James Says:

    I got my new iPhone. Sometimes, my themes are missing. Please give me solution for this.

    To discuss more on this issue log onto


  45. oeh Says:

    Do not know if someone have answered or asked this before but, I was stupid enough to plug my iPhone in to the front usb port on my PC and got stuck unable to restore my backup.

    To resolve this ssh in to your iPhone an delete:
    /var/mobile/media/iTunes_control folder, plug the phone back int ot a usb port at the back of your pc, and then iTune will ask if you like to restore your backup once again. ;-} OE

  46. Mark Says:

    I have the original iphone 4 that I unlocked and jail broke from the box still in 4.02 form im trying to upgrade to 4.3.3 i keep following but I get and error from itunes saying error 3194 after extract the files I have upgraded itunes but nothing else

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