I Want to Restore My iPad to Factory Settings: Should I Backup My Email in iTunes?

iPad Help, Tips & Tricks
// January 22, 2014
iTunes -- your cloud storage for all your data

Sometimes, we begin our journey with an iPhone or an iPad, excited about all the things we can do with Apple technology. Then, along comes a bump in the road – our settings go into second gear, causing the iPhone or iPad to malfunction. At this point, we don’t want to restore our devices because we have so many photos, documents, and apps saved – but it’s something that must be done if we are to start all over and correct the current problem we’re having.

The question comes in, however, as to whether or not it is necessary to backup your email in iTunes. The answer, to be brief, is that, while you can, it is not necessary to do so. Why? Because email is, in some sense, its own form of cloud storage.iTunes is the place where all of iOS can be backed up and saved in the event that something goes wrong during a jailbreak, or malfunction, and so on. In backing up content via iTunes, the goal is to make sure that all your information is saved and can be retrieved at any time. Should you restore your device to factory settings, you can count on iTunes to retrieve all of your information. If you restore your device to factory settings using iTunes, you can also retrieve all of your information via iTunes (with one click) and have the same photos, documents, and apps you had before.

Rethinking Cloud Storage: Email

Email by default is a form of cloud storage

This may sound surprising to new iPad consumers, but email is a form of cloud storage. Cloud storage is strictly defined as a virtual warehouse containing data that can be accessed via any device in the world. In other words, as long as your email account remains and you remember your username and password, you need not worry about storing your email on any mobile device. If you use a PC or laptop, your email is accessible; if you enter your username and password on your iPad, you can access it.

The brilliant part about email as cloud storage is that, it works just like iTunes: if you decide to erase your email specifically from say, your iPod Touch or iPad, you can still open your email app on your iPhone and access your email – although you’d need to enter your username and password again. Your email can only be permanently destroyed if you choose to delete your online account.

Gmail is one of the email accounts I own currently. I log into my Gmail account each morning, and am able to access all of my information from not only Gmail, but Google Drive, Google Keep, Google’s unlimited photo storage, etc. As long as I maintain my username and password and choose to maintain my account, I can access Gmail and all of my Google services from any device – whether I download Google onto those other devices or not. If you are not sure how this works, I can explain in a few words: it’s called accessing web sites, something that most consumers did before web apps came along.

With that said, the above explains why email is a form of cloud storage: similar to cloud storage, it’s accessible everywhere, on every device. It can only be deleted from a local device, but even then, still maintains its presence online. To test this out, log into your Gmail, Yahoo, or Microsoft Outlook account on your iPad’s Safari web browser after deleting your email account from the iOS Mail app. Why is it still there? Your email remains because it’s tied to your username and password, not local memory storage.

Answering the Question

Should you backup your email in iTunes? One individual wrote earlier this week that he was having trouble backing up his content in iTunes, and wondered why his email didn’t transfer when he used iTunes.

While this may be a problem for him, it’s not a problem worth having, especially when you’re a novice to iOS and you’re trying to have as stress-free of a time as possible. Since you can delete your email account from your iPad and still access it, you can always go back into the Mail app and retrieve all of your email.

Here’s how to retrieve your email in your Mail app after having deleted your email account from your iPad:

Step 1: Select the “Mail” app on your iPad desktop.

Step 2: Select your email service provider: iCloud (Apple), Microsoft Exchange (Microsoft), Gmail (Google), Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft Hotmail, other. If you can’t find your email provider name, select “other.”


Select the Mail app, then choose your email provider


Step 3: Supply the necessary information to access your email account. You will need to enter your name, email address, and password. Once you do, click “next” at the top right of the page and allow iOS to verify your account information to ensure it is accurate.


Fill out the information your email demands


Step 4: Once iOS verifies the information, you will then get to choose whether or not you will save calendar dates and notes to your email account as well. Make a decision, then select enter or next. At this point, your emails should appear. In order to see more emails, scroll to the last email present on the page and select “load more messages.”


This image shows what happens when you supply your username, password, and email provider. You are then taken to a short list of calendar events, notes, etc., that will appear in your Mail app.

This image shows what happens when you supply your username, password, and email provider. You are then taken to a short list of calendar events, notes, etc., that will appear in your Mail app.

In short, you can use iTunes to backup your content (apps, photos, and documents), but you don’t need to backup your email account in iTunes. Instead, simply select the Mail app on your desktop once the restoration has taken place, and re-enter your information. Within a minute or two, you’ll have all your email back – without the hassle!

You can backup your photos, apps, and documents, but you don’t need to backup your email. You need not back up email in the cloud when it’s already in the cloud. And, if you’ve saved your documents in your email, you don’t need to back them up on your device, either – just retrieve them from your email account.

Do you have a question about cloud storage and/or your email account? We’d love to hear from you.

One thought on “I Want to Restore My iPad to Factory Settings: Should I Backup My Email in iTunes?

  1. Byron Woolsey says:

    Trying to transfer photos from Samsung tablet to an IPAD air. Is there a way to do this easily?

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