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Transfer your data

Whether this is your first iPad or you’ve had tablets that came before, chances are you’re going to want to load it up with some data. Here are the various ways to do so, depending on whether you’re moving from an old iPad or your computer.

If you’re upgrading from an older iPad

You’re moving on up to the latest and greatest in the iOS world, and to do so, you’re leaving your old device behind. But before you send it off on its last voyage, you have to decide if you want to transfer its apps, data, and settings to your new iPad. If you do, you’ll need to make a backup (via iTunes or, if your old iPad is running iOS 5 or 6, via iCloud) of your information.

Make a backup using iTunes: If your old device is running iOS 4 or earlier, an iTunes backup is the way to go. To update your backup (or to create a new one) connect your old device to the computer you normally sync it with via USB, open iTunes, select the device from the Devices menu, and in the Summary field, click Back Up Now.

Make a backup using iCloud: If you’re running iOS 5 or 6 on your old iPad, and you’ve set up iCloud on it, you can also take advantage of iCloud Backups to save your data. Your device will automatically make an iCloud backup once a day while locked, plugged in, and connected to a Wi-Fi network, but you can manually force a backup whenever you’re on Wi-Fi by opening the Settings app on your iPad. Navigate to iCloud > Storage & Backup, and make sure the iCloud Backup switch is toggled on. From there, you just have to tap on Back Up Now to start the process. (You should note that iCloud backups can sometimes take significantly longer than iTunes backups, so it may not be the best option if you’re in a hurry to set up your new device.)

If this is your first iPad (or you’re upgrading from another tablet)

Whether this is your very first iPad or you’re moving from an Android, BlackBerry, or Windows tablet, it should be relatively painless to transfer information to your new device. Here are some suggestions for moving over mail, contacts, calendars, music, videos, and photos, as well as finding replacement apps for your currently used programs.

Mail, contacts, and calendars: If you’re using a Gmail account or other POP or IMAP-based account for mail, it’s already syncing to a central server, and you should be able to add that account to your new iPad with few issues. Apple’s iOS has automatic setup for those using Microsoft Exchange, Gmail, Yahoo, Aol, or Hotmail; you’ll also be able to manually set up a POP or IMAP account for mail, LDAP or CardDAV for contacts, or CalDAV for calendars. If you don’t have an email account but want to make one, you can also create an iCloud account from the Mail, Contacts, Calendars screen in the Settings app.

Music, videos, and photos: Your new iPad uses iTunes to sync any music, TV, and movies from the program to your device; photos can also be synced from iPhoto, Aperture, or a photos folder. To sync any music or video you have on your computer, add it to iTunes; to sync your photos, add them to iPhoto or Aperture (on a Mac) or place them in your Pictures folder (on a PC).

If you’ve purchased things from the iTunes Store before, you can redownload those for free after you set up your new iPad by going to the Purchased tab in the iTunes app.

If you’ve purchased content that hasn’t been copied to your computer (say, if you’re using Amazon Cloud Drive), you should be able to download it to your desktop system, or, at the very least, install an app on the iPad (like the Kindle app for book purchases) that lets you access the information.

Apps and miscellany: If you’re moving from another tablet with a different OS, you unfortunately can’t port any of those apps to your iPad. On the upside, you may be able to find parallel versions on Apple’s App Store (for instance, if you’re using Dropbox on your smartphone or Android tablet, you can download the company’s iOS app and continue to access your Dropbox data). If you have apps with valuable information you don’t want to lose (notes apps, to-do lists, and so on), you can poke around to see if there’s any way of exporting that information; otherwise, you’ll be out of luck.

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