If you have a new iPhone or iPad, you will want to transfer your data over from the old devices. Fortunately, it’s actually very easy. Here is how you can transfer your data, such as your passwords, apps, files, etc. to a new iOS device.
Back Up Your Old iPhone or iPad
If you have not been backing up your data, now is the time to do so. The best backup method is to use iCloud. Go to “Settings -> [your name] -> iCloud -> iCloud Backup” and tap on “Back Up Now.” Alternatively, go through iTunes/Finder on either your Mac or PC, as discussed below. We’ve also outlined all of the steps here to backing up your device like a pro.
If you have a Apple Watch paired to your old iPhone, you should also unpair it. To do that, open the Watch app on your iPhone and tap on “All Watches” on top. When the screen shows all available watches opens, tap on “i”, then “Unpair.”
1. Transfer Data Using Quick Start
The first of three possible methods for transferring data, “Quick Start” is a phone-to-phone process. The biggest caveat with Quick Start is that both iPhones must be running iOS 12.4 or later and have Bluetooth enabled. Essentially, that means any iPhone 5S or later will work.
- Place your current iPhone directly next to the old iPhone and wait for a little pop-up to ask if you want to transfer your data. This happens at the very beginning of the setup process, even before you choose your language of choice.
- When the connection between two iPhones is made, the new iPhone displays an animation, and the old iPhone opens the camera with a blank circle on the screen. Hold the old iPhone camera over the new one and an invitation will appear to continue the data transfer.
- On the new iPhone, enter your Apple ID and passcode as well as your preference for Face or Touch ID. Follow the next few screens which go through sharing your location and analytical data, as well as setting up Siri, iMessage, FaceTime, etc.
- As soon as you’re done with the previous setup screens, you’ll come to the “Transfer Your Data” screen. Tap on it and allow everything to complete.
2. Using iCloud to Transfer Data
The easiest way to transfer data from your iPhone and iPad to a new device is iCloud.
- When the backup is done on your old device, go ahead and start setting up your new iPhone and iPad. This includes moving past the “Hello” screen, setting up your language, and eventually joining a Wi-Fi network.
- Follow these steps until you see the “Restore from iCloud Backup” screen, which is the same screen you would look for with Quick Start.
- Sign in to iCloud with your Apple ID and password and choose the latest backup. If, for any reason, your backup includes an older iOS or iPadOS software, your iPhone or iPad will prompt you to update to the latest software, then restore your iCloud backup.
- Wait for the restore process to finish and keep your phone plugged in to power and connected to Wi-Fi. This ensures that photos, music and apps are all automatically downloaded to your new device.
3. Transferring Data Using Windows and Mac
Downloading your iPhone backup using Windows or Mac has a couple of quick advantages. Right from the start, you remove any reliance on Wi-Fi or power, two things that can cause trouble with either of the two above methods.
Using a Mac to Migrate Your Data Across
- Plug your iPhone or iPad into your Mac and it should appear in Finder on any Mac running macOS Catalina and later.
- Click in Finder, and it should immediately open a window that looks somewhat familiar to anyone who has ever used iTunes.
- Look for the “Back Up Now” button and click on it.
- Once the software is updated on your iPhone, as you come back to restore the data, tap on “Restore from Mac or PC” and wait for the restore process to complete. It’s still helpful to keep Wi-Fi on so that any apps that have data in iCloud, such as photos or music, can automatically download back to the device.
Transferring Data to Your New iPhone in Windows
- Connect your iPhone or iPad to your Windows 10/11 computer.
- Now go into the iTunes app and click on the iPhone button near the top left of the iTunes window. Click on “Summary.”
- Click on “Back Up Now” and follow the same process where you update the iPhone or iPad, then tap on “Restore from Mac or PC” on the iPhone or iPad. Use your latest stored backup to transfer data back to your device.
What Data Will Be Restored?
The following data can be restored to the new device, regardless of the restoration method used.
- All app data
- Apple Watch backups
- Device settings like ringtone, Focus mode, Do Not Disturb, etc.
- Home screen and app organization
- iMessages, SMS and MMS messages
- Photos and videos
- Purchase history including music, TV shows, apps, books, movies, etc.
- Visual Voicemail messages and password (requires the same SIM card)
It’s important to note that this information is separate from iCloud-specific information. Content like your Contacts, Calendars, Bookmarks, Notes, Reminders and Voice Memos, iCloud Photos, etc. are all stored in iCloud.
One caveat here is that data like Mail, Health data, call history and files in iCloud Drive are not immediately restored via a backup. However, they can be added to iCloud and later included in any iCloud backup but has to be done so manually.
Passwords and Two-Factor Authentication Data
Assuming your data transfer goes off without any trouble, app data should include any passwords and 2FA setups. All three methods should include passwords with one caveat for the desktop transfer method via PC and Mac. Using both the Quick Start and iCloud methods should also keep you automatically signed in to any app as you were on your old phone.
On the desktop, for both PC and Mac, in order to transfer passwords and other sensitive info, you need to “Encrypt local backup” ahead of backing up. It should ask you to make a password, so create one and store it safely. After the password is confirmed, your backup will start as normal. When you go to restore the data to a new iPhone, it will ask you to enter the same password to decrypt the data so that it syncs properly with all of your data intact, including sensitive passwords.
Temporary Free iCloud Storage
As part of using iCloud as a data transfer method, your free iCloud space is being used. By default, new iPhone and iPad users receive 5GB of iCloud space. In many cases, the storage that would be included as part of any iCloud backup will exceed the 5GB of free space. In these cases, Apple provides a temporary iCloud storage increase to help assist data transfers.
- Go to “Settings -> General,” scroll down and tap on “Transfer or Reset iPhone.”
- Tap on “Prepare for New [iPhone/iPad]” and “Get Started.”
- On the next screen, if you see “iCloud Backup is Turned Off,” tap on “Turn On Backup to Transfer.”
- In the event you don’t have enough available iCloud storage, a message appears that says you are eligible for free extra iCloud storage. Tap on “Continue,” and you have 21 days to restore your temporary backup before the additional temporary iCloud storage and your backup is permanently deleted.
- Wait for your backup to complete, then restore your iPhone or iPad from an iCloud backup using the steps above. Once your temporary iPhone or iPad iCloud storage is restored, you have seven extra days to restore again before the temporary backup permanently deletes.
Prepare Your Old iPhone or iPad for Sale
As Apple devices retain more value than other gadgets in the technology space, selling your device may yield a small windfall. Alternatively, you can also provide your old iPhone or iPad to a friend or family member. In either case, prepping your device is important so that nothing personal is passed along.
- The first of two critical steps is to sign out of iCloud. Go to “Settings -> [Your Name] -> Sign out.”
- Disable “Find My” by going to “Settings -> [Your Name] -> Find My” and toggle off “Find My iPhone” or “Find My iPad.”
- After disabling both of these settings, go to “Settings -> General -> Transfer or Reset iPhone -> Erase All Content and Settings.”
- Tap on “Erase” when the pop-up appears, and your iPhone and iPad will begin to reset.
- A factory reset of your iPhone or iPad returns it to a brand new state as if it’s being unboxed for the first time.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What happens if my iOS/iPadOS update gets stuck?
A stuck update can be frustrating, but first things first. Give the update a little more time. It’s likely stuck on the black screen with the Apple logo, so be sure and give it a little extra time. Beyond thirty minutes or so, restart your iPhone or iPad and try the software update again.
2. Can someone steal my info from an iPhone or iPad I recently sold?
Only if you didn’t follow the steps above and properly erase all of your settings and information.
3. What if I am moving from the same model, as with a warranty replacement?
All of the above steps apply as a “new” phone doesn’t necessarily have to be an upgraded iPhone or iPad model. New is more of a description of a device you have not previously owned.