My wife's iPhone 4S had a problem during an update to the most recent iOS, and I ended up with the dreaded 'connect to iTunes' screen. I haven't seen that in years, didn't know it was even still used. So I plug it into iTunes and sure enough it says the phone is hosed and needs a restore, which means installing a blank OS and losing all the apps, data, and media on the phone. Not Cool.
So after the restore I remember that I have all of our devices backed up to iCloud and decide to restore her latest backup (it backs up every night when plugged in so latest backup was a few hours ago) and see what I end up with. Voila, everything was there! All her apps, data, photos, videos, and all the icons were even in the same place! It was easy enough to do, just select restore from iCloud back, enter apple id, select the backup that you want to restore, and wait for it to download all my data. A few taps and she'd never know her phone crashed.
Admittedly, it would have been preferable for the phone NOT to crash in the first place, but sh!t happens and it's nice to have options when it does.
Moral of the story, if you have an iPhone or another phone with a similar backup program make sure that feature is engaged.