If you’ve used Apple’s Photos app, either on your Mac or iOS device, you probably have been saved by the “Recently Deleted” folder at least once. You thought you didn’t need that picture, or you thought you tapped on something else, and then that photo was gone. But you still had a way to save it. When it comes to Contacts, Calendars, and iCloud Drive files, you can save those, too.
To start, you need to log in to iCloud.com. From there, go to the Settings screen. At the very bottom, below your list of devices and family members, is a set of links to restore your iCloud data.
Whether you click on one of the three different links to restore files, contacts, and calendars, the option opens up a window with all three options as tabs to navigate to.
Restoring Contacts and Calendars work in the same way. You’ll see a list of recent copies of your contacts or calendars. These are saved at regular intervals, likely whenever you make a change to them. Restoring either of these is similar to how Time Machine works on the Mac: the selected item will completely overwrite the contacts or calendars on your devices. So if you accidentally deleted half of your contacts, restoring a recent backup will allow you to get all of those contacts back.
There are additional notes with restoring calendars. First, reminders are also stored with this data. So keep that in mind if you are a heavy user of the Reminders app. Also, any sharing that you have set up with your calendars will be gone after a restore. You’ll need to set up calendar sharing once again if you were previously doing so.
Restoring files in iCloud Drive is a little different yet familiar. It works very much like the Recently Deleted folder in the Photos app. Files that were recently deleted from iCloud Drive will be shown here. You’ll see the name of the file, the date it was deleted, and how many days remain until the file is permanently deleted. If you store iWork documents in iCloud Drive, you may see quite a few files here. Programs sometimes create temporary files when saving or working on a document, and that’s also true with Numbers, Pages, and Keynote. So while you still have your file in iCloud Drive, you may at times see a file here that is a shadow of what you were working on. Don’t worry: your file is still safe.
Some have not noticed this area of iCloud.com and are calling it a new feature. However, I saw this weeks ago. Likely, people just never navigated to Settings in iCloud.com to see this. If you haven’t done so, take the time to explore that site. Your iCloud data is surprisingly and conveniently accessible when on the go, and it’s always good to know where and when your data is available to you, should you need to get to it.