How to transfer all your data from an old iPhone to a new iPhone

These steps will get you up and running.

How do you effectively transfer the contents of an older iPhone to a new one? It's not too difficult to do, whether you're setting up a brand new iPhone fresh out of the box, or your new iPhone is already set up and running, just not with your data.

Here are the steps using iOS 11.3.1 or later.

1. Back up the old iOS device

First, make sure you have a fresh backup of the older device. There are two ways to create a backup.

  • Through iCloud
    1. On your iPhone, tap on the Settings app and then tap your account name (it should appear at the very top) > iCloud > iCloud Backup.
    2. Tap the switch to turn on iCloud Backup.
    3. A pop-up will appear, asking if you want to Start iCloud Backup. Tap OK. Note that if you back up to iTunes on your Mac, this function will stop.
  • Through iTunes on a Mac
    1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac.
    2. Launch iTunes, and click the iPhone icon in the upper left of the app. 
    3. You should see a summary page regarding your iPhone. In the Backups section, look for the Manually Back Up and Restore section and click the Back Up Now button.
    4. You can confirm the backup was made by looking in iTunes > Preferences > Devices and looking for the device name and the date and time of the last backup.

2. Back up and/or sync the new iOS device

Now turn to the new device. Make sure that if the new device has been used to take pictures, record audio, or make any other unique media files or documents, that those have been copied or synced so they will be available to retrieve after erasing the device. (If you’re using iCloud Photo Library, for instance, all photos and videos should be synced to iCloud, and will simply sync back after the device is restored from the older iOS hardware.)

3. Erase the new iOS device 

If you’re absolutely sure you have copied, synced, or don’t need data stored on the new device, you can now erase it.

  1. Turn off Find My iPhone/iPad before proceeding. This is done in Settings > your account name (the first section with your user name) > iCloud.
  2. If you want to erase via iTunes and USB, follow Apple’s detailed instructions here.
  3. If you would prefer to erase directly via the devices, tap Settings > General > Reset, enter your password or Apple ID password if prompted, and then wait for it to finish.

4. Restore to the new device

Now, you can use the backup of the old device to restore the new one. If it’s an iPhone or a cellular iPad, swap the SIM from the old to new device before performing the restore.

  • Use iTunes to restore a backup to a new device
    1. Power up the newer iOS device, and proceed through setup until you’re asked on the Apps & Data screen how you want to set up the device. Choose Restore from iTunes Backup.
    2. Connect the iPhone or iPad over USB to the computer on which you performed an iTunes backup.
    3. Click Restore Backup.
    4. Choose the backup you just made.
    5. Follow the remaining prompts until the restore is complete.
  • Use an iCloud backup to restore to a new device
    1. Power up the newer iOS device, and proceed through setup until you’re asked on the Apps & Data screen how you want to set up the device. Choose Restore from iCloud Backup.
    2. Sign into the same iCloud account you used to perform the backup above.
    3. Choose the backup you made from the list that appears.
    4. Follow the remaining prompts until the restore is complete.

Apple has a slightly more detailed guide for restoring from iTunes and iCloud, with links to other scenarios that can crop up.

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