Here’s how to move from an old iPhone to a new iPhone using either iTunes or iCloud – it’s completely up to you. Although with this being said, we would opt for iTunes where possible, as restoring from iCloud can take a lot longer than when using iTunes, especially if you have weak Wi-Fi and/or a large backup.
Before we go any further, Apple Watch owners beware: Switching iPhones will require you to reset your Apple Watch. Your iPhone Apple Watch apps and settings will be backed up to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone before your Watch is reset – don’t worry about storage, as the backups are only around 100-200kb depending on how much data is stored on your Apple Watch.
It’s at this point that you must make sure you back up your iPhone via iCloud or an encrypted iTunes backup, as for legal reasons, Apple isn’t allowed to store personal health-related data in unprotected backups. This means that if you choose not to encrypt your backup in iTunes/use iCloud, your backup will still restore your Apple Watch apps, but won’t transfer your exercise/health data. For more information about looking after your Apple Watch data, take a look at this: How to keep your Apple Watch data safe when switching to a new iPhone
1) Back up your old iPhone. The first step is to make sure you’ve backed up your old iPhone to to either iCloud or iTunes. As noted above, Apple Watch users should use either an encrypted iTunes backup or iCloud. To do this, plug your iPhone into iTunes and click “Back Up Now” or to use iCloud, head to Settings > iCloud > Backup and tap “Back Up Now”.
2) Turn on new iPhone. Once you’ve turned on the new iPhone, simply follow the instructions on screen to set up the device.
3) Restore from iCloud/iTunes backup. Once you’ve logged in with your Apple ID, you’ll be asked whether you want to set your iPhone up as a brand new iPhone, or if you’d like to restore an existing backup via iTunes or iCloud. From here, select either Backup from iCloud or Backup from iTunes and select the most recent backup from your old iPhone.
4) Your data will now be restored. After selecting a backup to restore from, your data and preferences from your old iPhone will be transferred. The time it takes may vary depending on the size of the backup (iTunes and iCloud) and your Wi-Fi speed (iCloud). Once complete, you’re done – you should be able to access all photos, contacts, messages and other data from your old iPhone.
Transfer Data from old iPhone to new iPhone after Initial Setup
The above method is fine for those of us that haven’t already set up our iPhone's as a ‘new’ iPhone – but what about those of us that didn’t restore from a backup? Is there a way to transfer data to the new iPhone? Don’t worry, there is a way to transfer some of your data to your new iPhone, though it won’t transfer everything. The following method uses Apple’s iCloud and should transfer all photos, contacts, notes, calendars and Safari passwords from your old iPhone to your new one.
1) Enable iCloud on your old iPhone. On your old iPhone, head to Settings > iCloud and make sure you’re signed in with your Apple ID/iCloud account and you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network. Once signed in, toggle on everything you want to transfer to your new iPhone (Photos, Contacts, etc.). Leave your iPhone connected to Wi-Fi and your data should start syncing with iCloud, though there’s no progress bar to see how much has been synced.
2) Enable iCloud on your new iPhone. Once you’ve synced your old iPhone with iCloud, it’s time to transfer all your data to your new iPhone. Just like with the old iPhone, head to Settings > iCloud and make sure you’re logged in with the same Apple ID/iCloud account as your old iPhone, then toggle on everything you want to download.
After a few minutes, you should find your old data appearing in relevant apps i.e. in Photos and Contacts. Though this will successfully transfer data including images, videos and contacts, it won’t transfer everything – if you want to access and download your purchased apps, you can head to the App Store, tap the Updates tab and then tap “Purchased”. This will bring up a list of every app you’ve downloaded, both paid and free, available to download to your iPhone.
It’s worth noting that if you want access to your old preferences (Wi-Fi logins, Settings, etc.), third-party app data (game saves), health/exercise data or text messages, you’ll have to erase your new iPhone and set it up again, this time selecting a backup of your previous iPhone to restore from.