How to Restore Deleted Procreate Files

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I have read heartbreaking stories about Procreate users losing their entire art portfolios during an iPad crash. Years of artwork, just gone. It’s devastating to think about and even more devastating if it happens to you. If you do lose your entire Procreate library, how can you restore your deleted Procreate files?

The best way to restore deleted Procreate files is to use an iCloud backup that includes your Procreate files. Allow days, if not weeks, for the backup to be restored. It’s also good practice to have a folder of .procreate files that you can use should something go wrong with your iCloud backup.

Sadly, there’s a really hard truth in this post: there is no easy way to restore your Procreate files. If you’ve come here because you’ve already lost everything, I’m so so sorry! I will do my best to help you restore things!

If you’ve come here hoping to avoid losing your Procreate files, that’s awesome! When it comes to protecting your Procreate art, proper preparation is key.

Unfortunately, without prior and consistent preparation, you have to put a LOT of faith and trust in your iCloud backups should your iPad crash and you need to restore everything. 

Whether you’ve already experienced a crash, or are trying to avoid one, we’re going to talk about how to get your artwork back in that way. There are some important things you should know before getting the process started.

Personally though, I don’t want to put all of my eggs in the iCloud backup basket. 

We’ll also talk about some REALLY important precautionary steps you can take in order to avoid the heartache of losing all of your artwork again in the future.

Alright, firstly, let’s talk about how to restore your Procreate files from an iCloud backup if your iPad crashes and you lose your content.

Why Does Procreate Keep Crashing on My iPad
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Check Your iPad for an iCloud Backup

If you have automatic backups enabled on your iPad, check your most recent backup to see if Procreate was included in this backup. If it was, begin restoring your iCloud backup on your iPad. It can take multiple days for backups to be restored, so be patient.

Later on, we’re going to talk about better ways to backup your Procreate art than relying on iCloud backups.

But hey, you may not have started using those other backup methods yet, so we’re going to try to use an iCloud backup first.

Important note: iCloud backups don’t always restore perfectly. Even if Procreate is included in your iCloud backups, there are users who still have lost their Procreate art after doing a restore. This may be your only option, but know it isn’t a perfect option!

The way that you go about doing your iPad restore depends on what has happened to your iPad.

Is it still working? Are you restoring to the same iPad, or a new iPad?

If you have any questions or unique situations, contact Apple support to make sure you’re doing your restore properly.

In fact, I highly suggest making a Genius Bar appointment at an Apple Store and having an Apple Specialist get you started with your restore. 

Getting all of your Procreate art back is serious business and you want to make sure you’re doing everything correctly. Take the time to go into an Apple store for assistance, if you can. You can make an appointment with your nearest Genius Bar here.

If you’re starting fresh with your own iPad, or a new iPad, your iPad should prompt you to restore from a backup.

But, I will repeat: GO TO THE APPLE STORE!

Recommended Procreate Tools

These are my favorite Procreate tools that I wouldn't be able to live my Procreate life without!

  • Skillshare: I take a LOT of Skillshare classes and they are the reason that I started using Procreate in the first place. These classes are amazing and you can take them for FREE! Click here to get a 30 day free trial of Skillshare 
  • Matte Screen Protector: these matte screen protectors will make your iPad screen feel more like traditional paper. Click here to find them on Amazon! Make sure to get the right size for your iPad model.
  • Printful: it's SO rewarding to see your own art on a shirt, mug, sticker, poster, and so much more. Whether you want to start selling your art and sharing it with the world, or you just want a gift for yourself or a friend, having a great printer is important. Printful is my favorite print provider, offering a ton of high quality products to print your own art on. Check them out and sign up for a free account here!

Important note: iCloud restores can take days, if not weeks to complete. Be patient! I’ve heard of users waiting at least 2-3 days for their iPads to process a backup and be restored. It may take longer if your backup is large. You don’t want to mess with this, or the backup could be restored improperly. 


Sorry I’m yelling so much in this post – I just care so much about your Procreate art!

If your iPad is still functioning and hasn’t been wiped clean yet, here’s how to check if you have an iPad backup in the first place that Procreate is included in.

Do these steps even if you aren’t planning to do a restore right now. Ensuring that you have backups setup in general, and that they include Procreate is a CRUCIAL preparatory step in making sure that your Procreate art is safe.

How to Check that Your iPad Has Automatic Backups Enabled

1. Click on the “Settings” button

2. Click on your name at the top of the right-hand menu bar

ipad settings

3. Click on the “iCloud” button

ipad icloud settings

4. Scroll down until you see the “iCloud Backup” button and make sure it says “On”

icloud automatic backups

If it does, this probably means that you have a recent iCloud backup of your iPad. Yay! Skip to the next section talking about how to check if Procreate was included in that backup.

If it says “Off,” that’s not great news. This probably means that your iPad hasn’t been backed up. Still follow the steps in the next section though. Who knows there may be a backup sitting somewhere and we want to be sure.

How to Check for iPad Backups that Include Procreate:

1. Click on the “Settings” button

2. Click on your name at the top of the right-hand menu bar

ipad settings

3. Click on the “iCloud” button

ipad icloud settings

4. Click on the “Manage Storage” button

ipad manage storage

5. Click on the “Backups” button

ipad backups

6. Click on the “This iPad” button. Note: if you don’t see a “This iPad” button, this means you don’t have a backup for your iPad.

finding an ipad backup

7. If Procreate isn’t listed in the visible apps listed, click on the “Show All Apps” button and make sure that Procreate is one of the choices.

procreate ipad backup

Make sure that automatic backups are happening regularly. When you click on your iPad in the backups menu, it should tell you how long ago a backup was done. 

The latest backup should only be from a few days ago, at most. Check this often to make sure your backups are always functioning like normal.

Should your iPad crash, at least you’ll have the comfort of knowing that your Procreate art is included in your iCloud backup.

But, like I said, iCloud backups aren’t perfect. I never solely rely on my iCloud backups. 

Let’s talk about the additional steps I take to make sure that my Procreate art is safe.

Manually Backup All of Your .procreate Files

To be confident that you can restore your deleted Procreate files, have an extra folder of your .procreate files. Create a Procreate folder in your preferred cloud storage platform and manually export your art in .procreate file form throughout your creation process and when you’re finished.

Yes, this needs to be done manually and you need to remember to do it. I know this isn’t ideal, but it’s REALLY important. 

Eventually, you’ll get into a routine of it and it won’t be a big deal. I also talk about this strategy in my guide on saving your Procreate art. It’s REALLY important and worth talking about a LOT.

how to save your procreate work
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Here’s what you need to do:

1. Choose your preferred cloud storage and make sure you have their app installed and set up on your iPad. I personally use Google Drive, but you can use anything that’s iPad compatible.

2. In your cloud storage program, create a “Procreate” folder. Within that folder, I personally have two additional folders: a “In Progress” folder and a “Completed” folder.

back up Procreate art

3. Start at the beginning of your Procreate Gallery and click into each piece of artwork.

4. Export each piece of art as a .procreate file. I have a full guide about exporting Procreate files if you need a step-by-step guide on that.

how to export procreate files
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5. Within the options of where you’d like your .procreate file to be exported to, choose your preferred cloud storage platform and choose your “Procreate” folder (choose your “Completed” folder, if you decided to make additional folders like I did).

upload procreate art to google drive

4. Wait for your .procreate file to export. 

5. Repeat these steps until you’ve exported all of your finished art.

6. If you’d like, export each piece of art again, but as a .png file this time. This will save the image of it.

Whenever I finish a piece of art, I export it as a .procreate file and a .png file to my “Completed” folder. 

I also export my files periodically while my work is still in progress. No surprise, but I export these to my “In Progress” folder. 

Some of my work takes hours and hours to complete. If something were to happen to my iPad while a piece of artwork was still in progress, I’d be really bummed to lose it and have to start over. 

In this case, I only export the .procreate file to my “In Progress” folder because I don’t need an image of it yet. Depending on the complexity of the piece of work and how important it is to me, I’ll do multiple uploads to my “In Progress” folder.

I also upload my work to this folder whenever I’ve completed a tricky section of a piece of artwork that I wouldn’t want to redo should my work be lost.

Lastly, saving your artwork at various stages can be really helpful if you ever need to revert to an earlier version of it. Let’s say that you can’t undo a section, you make color choices you want to change, or otherwise make permanent adjustments to your work that you can’t fix.

procreate undo feature after closing the app
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There’s an additional benefit to uploading your .procreate files to a separate folder. 

When you’re relying on an iCloud backup, you get anything and everything. You can’t pick and choose which pieces from your Procreate Gallery you want to restore. 

When you have all of your Procreate art in a separate folder, you can individually access each piece of art.

If you need a quick restore of a specific piece of art because you’re on a deadline, you can skip the 2-3 day process of doing a full iPad restore and just put that one piece of art back on your iPad in a matter of seconds.

Another great perk of having your .procreate files in another folder on your cloud storage platform is that you can easily share your work with others. It also allows you to have easy access to your .procreate files across your devices without having to export them over and over again.

Knowing how to restore deleted Procreate files is extremely important. It can be devastating, and sometimes career breaking, to lose all of your artwork. I hope this article gives you the resources you need to be prepared for any potential loss of your Procreate work in the future.

Diana Fitts

Diana has been an artist for over 25 years and has training in drawing, painting, digital drawing and graphic design. Diana's latest obsession is digitally drawing with Procreate and creating t-shirt designs with Canva. Diana has experience selling her art across a number of platforms and loves helping other artists learn how to make money from their art as well.

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