How to transfer data from your old iPad to your new iPad Air or Retina iPad mini

How to transfer data from your old iPad to your new iPad Air or Retina iPad mini

Everything you need to know to get all your contacts, calendars, apps, and more from your old iPad onto your new iPad Air or Retina iPad mini

If you've just upgraded to a new iPad Air or Retina iPad mini from an older generation iPad, transferring all your contacts, calendars, photos, and other data couldn't be any easier if you've been creating backups with either iCloud or iTunes. Regardless what backup method you've chosen, they can make the process of getting the data from your old iPad to your new iPad virtually painless. Here's how:

How to transfer data from your old iPad to your new iPad with iCloud

If you have been backing your old iPad up to iCloud, bringing down all your data couldn't be any easier. If this is your first iPad but you own an iPhone, you can even bring down your iPhone backup and compatible items will transfer automatically.

Just follow these easy steps:

  1. After your new iPad powers on, you'll see a welcome screen, Slide your finger across the bottom where it says slide to set up.
  2. Now choose your language from the choices presented to you.
  3. Select the country or region you are in.
  4. Now choose your WiFi network and enter the password for it if there is one. If you don't have access to WiFi, you can choose Use Cellular but keep in mind, this only works if you've purchased an iPad that has cellular data connectivity. Not to mention that only some things in your iCloud backup will be restored without WiFi. Others won't be triggered until you're on WiFi. Or you can choose to restore from an iTunes backup if you have access to one.
  5. Now on the Location Services screen, choose whether you'd like to have location services on by default. Make sure you read the description of what location services are before deciding whether or not you'd like to enable or disable them. Keep in mind that certain apps like Maps need location services to operate properly.
  6. On the next screen, tap on Restore from iCloud backup and enter your credentials when asked.
  7. Now agree to the Terms and Conditions. You will be asked to verify that you agree to them a second time.
  8. If you have iCloud backups, your iPad will now show them. Tap on the backup name that you'd like to restore from.

Note that the screenshots below are from the iPhone setup process but the iPad process is exactly the same as well.

The backup process could take quite a while depending on how much stuff you're transferring. It's also worth noting that certain items such as apps, photos, and videos will only restore when on WiFi in order to not eat through your data plan. If you have to leave WiFi range before the restore is complete, don't worry, it will pick up where it left up when you enter WiFi again.

How to transfer data from your old iPad to your new iPad with iTunes

If you're coming from an older iPad that you've chosen to back up to iTunes, it's just as easy to get your data transferred to your new iPad. We understand that not everyone trusts the cloud yet and if you prefer traditional hard backups in iTunes over using iCloud, that's fine too. We can help you get all your data to your new iPad just as quick.

Just remember to make sure you're on the most current version of iTunes before continuing, especially if your old iPad isn't running iOS 7 yet.

  1. After your new iPad powers on, you'll see a welcome screen, Slide your finger across the bottom where it says slide to set up.
  2. Now choose your language from the choices presented to you.
  3. Select the country or region you are in.
  4. Now choose your WiFi network and enter the password for it if there is one. If you don't have access to WiFi, you can choose Use Cellular but keep in mind this option is only available if you've purchases an iPad with cellular connection options. Let's not forget that only some things in your iCloud backup will be restored without WiFi. Others won't be triggered until you're on WiFi. Or you can choose to restore from an iTunes backup if you have access to one.
  5. Now on the Location Services screen, choose whether you'd like to have location services on by default. Make sure you read the description of what location services are before deciding whether or not you'd like to enable or disable them. Keep in mind that certain apps like Maps need location services to operate properly.
  6. On the next screen, tap on Restore from iTunes backup.
  7. If you aren't already connected to your computer containing your iTunes backups, your iPad will prompt you to do so now.
  8. Follow the prompts in iTunes in order to select your most recent backup.

Note that the screenshots below are from the iPhone setup process but the iPad process is exactly the same as well.

That's all there is to it. Once iTunes starts bringing your stuff down, just let it do its thing. Depending on how much data you have, especially apps, the restore process could take a while. Just make sure you don't unplug your iPad from your computer until iTunes tells you that the restore is complete.

Retina iPad mini

Retina iPad mini
The world's most popular tiny tablet goes Retina. Features include:

Complete review >

Released
November 12, 2013

Alternatives
iPad mini (original), iPad Air, iPad 2

Replacements
iPad Mini 3
Fall, 2014

Resources
Buyers guide
Help forum

iPad Air

iPad Air
Apple's full-sized iPad gets slimmed down. Features include:

Complete review >

Released
November, 2013

Alternatives
Retina iPad mini, iPad 2, iPad mini (original)

Replacements
iPad Air 2 (iPad 6)
Fall, 2014

Resources
Buyers guide
Help forum

Allyson Kazmucha

Editor for iMore, Potter pundit, and the ninja in your iOS

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There are 20 comments. Add yours.

Becjr says:

Hey Allyson, these "How-Tos" are great if for nothing else all the visual references. Pictures are truly worth 1000 words.
Thank you!

Sent from the iMore App

Joshinav says:

How to Transfer Everything from an Old iPad to New iPad
http://x.co/46vyK

iOS: Transferring information from your current iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to a new device
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2109

 Cheers, Tom

GadgetGuru72 says:

I assume that if you have both iCloud backups and iTunes backups, that transferring data to a new iPad Air from the iTunes backup will be a lot faster, correct? Is there any difference at all between the two methods other than speed? Thanks.

Allyson Kazmucha says:

An actual cable will always be faster. At least for now. But what fun is that? :)

Sam Threepwood says:

Unfortunately you can never truly backup and transfer all your data from your old iPad to your new one. All the magazines you have in the newsstand. All the books in kindle, your comics in DH app and others have to be re-downloaded again on your new device.

harland says:

What is it about Kindle and the newsstand that prevents their not being backed up on either the cloud or iTunes (books and magazines)? There are also a couple of other apps like Laridian and Mantis Bible Study that also do not back up so as to prevent having to renown load them. Why?

WhyAreYouHere says:

Connect to iTunes and sync that's it, DA!!!

Sent from the iMore App

danmarx says:

imore, u are the best. I'll be picking up iPad Air today, to replace current iPad mini, and I just wanted a reminder on the iCloud data transfer process... what do ya know there is a link to that exact article right there on the imore homepage!
question: does it matter at all if I restore from iCloud on new device AND THEN wipe data on old device, OR.. wipe data on old device AND THEN restore from iCloud on new device. I would prefer to transfer data to new iPad Air BEFORE I wipe all data off current iPad Mini, just wondering if there is any difference as far as which order I do it in.... restore/wipe, or wipe/restore. thank you in advance for any insight.

Elayneb says:

What about the music? Anytime I have tried to migrate in the past I have had to do my music manually. Is there a fast way to transfer it from my iPad 2 to iPad Air. It is a subset of all the music that is in iTunes.
Thanks

Elayneb says:

So I went ahead and backed up and restored. All the music did transfer but I lost all my folders and some of the system apps have disappeared off the screens (15). I have over 1000 apps.

1. Is there any way to transfer folders?

2. How can I get all the system apps back. They do not show up in iTunes when I do a search on apps but they do show up on the iPad if I do a search.

Thanks

Elayneb says:

Thanks to the posts in this forum I was able to backup from my iPad2 and restore to my iPad Air. My only challenge now is that I have lost most of the system apps. I have over 1000 apps so while they are still there they are not on any screen. For example every time I need to send a message I need to do a spotlight search.

How can I get them back so I can move them to a screen that I can access?

Thanks

corrale says:

Is not that simple. Books, music and apps you will need "to sync".....

Also if you shared your computer iTunes with others is worst.

Wish to have a simple really FULL backup and restore.

David Smart says:

I plugged in my iPad air 128gb and it seamed to do its thing then asked me to back it up so I did then it told me I has located a iPad that is in recovery mode, it has downloaded the iPad soft wear 3 times now each time taking 32 mins, then in the end still tells me it (iTunes) has discovered an iPad in recovery mode??????? Why does it do this to me ?????

miguelfre says:

I had the same problem today when I reset my ios 7 system. I found a program called SharePad that seemed to have helped. And it was free to try. Read more:mcaf.ee/twrsb

Neo Jit says:

Wow! Great information. Really faced some problems when I reset iOS7 system. The link giving us step by step image tutorials too. I just downloaded for free license.
http://appvsgame.com

Mariacey says:

Besides using iTunes and iCloud service, here’s also a solution for transferring apps from iPad to new iPad: http://www.ipad-converters.org/ipad-to-mac-transfer/

Muriel Bungert says:

This site didn't help me with my problem. When I purchased my ipad air... The dealer transferred everything from my,old ipad to my new ipad air. Everything seems to have transferred except the photos... I can't find where I can transfer from the old ipad.
Please,address my problem.

Michael Brook says:

Transfer data from old iPad to new iPad is pretty easy with the help of iAny Manager tool. All of my friends and me use this tool for our iOS device data management.

You can get it from http://www.any-data-recovery.com/product/iphone-ipad-ipod-manager.html

Gainey Clement says:

My father gave me a Kindle Fire HD. Does anyone here know how to transfer books from iPad to Kindle?
http://www.leawo.org/tutorial/how-to-transfer-books-from-ipad-to-kindle....

csmini says:

This wont work because my new ipad air claims that my ipad2:s backup has been made with newer ios than in my new ipad air and cant be used because of that.
So i had to skip the restore from backup, take my new ipad in use as new device and then update the ios to newest version. Not sow easy nor fast.
How do I do the restore from backup after this?
Thanks Mika