If you got a new iPad over the holidays, you might have noticed you couldn’t restore an iPhone backup to it.
The issue popped up following the release of iOS 12.1.2. Essentially, Apple rushed out the update to iPhone users but didn’t release a corresponding update for the iPad.
Because of this, users can’t restore an updated iPhone backup to an iPad.
This isn’t a bug either: iCloud backups are working as intended. For a backup to work, the device you’re restoring it to can’t be on an older version of iOS. In other words, an iOS 12 backup wouldn’t restore on an iOS 11 device.
Since Apple didn’t roll out an iOS 12.1.2 update for iPads, you can’t restore backups from iPhones running that version of iOS.
Typically users don’t encounter this issue because the iOS setup screen will install any new software updates before restoring a backup. In this case, however, the iPad cannot install the required update.
Unfortunately, there’s no clear fix either. Users will either have to wait until the next iOS update — version 12.1.2 which should come to both iPhone and iPad later this month.
Alternatively, you could opt to install an earlier iPhone backup or start the iPad fresh. The latter option isn’t that bad either, as you can still get some iCloud data, like photos, without doing the backup.
This seems like a significant oversight from Apple, which usually pays close attention to small details like this. It should be noted, however, that Apple pushed iOS 12.1.2 in an attempt to avoid an iPhone ban in China.