Daily Tip: How to transfer data from your original iPad to your new iPad 2

Daily Tip: How to transfer data from your original iPad to your new iPad 2

Switching from an original iPad to an iPad 2 and curious how to transfer all your information, apps, and data over? Luckily Apple makes this process almost painless thanks to iTunes. Click through for a couple easy steps that will ensure all your original iPad data, settings, apps, and games get transferred over to your new iPad smoothly.

If you've ever had to swap an iPad out at an Apple store, you're probably already familiar with this process. If not, follow these easy steps to copy data to your new iPad 2. This process will save all your app data and settings into an iTunes backup for you.

  1. Plug your current iPad into your Windows or Mac PC and open iTunes.
  2. If it doesn't start to sync automatically, click the Sync button. (You can alternately right click your device name in the navigation bar and click back up as well. Either way will work just fine.)
  3. Unplug your current iPad and plug in your new iPad 2.
  4. You'll be asked to register your iPad if you haven't already.
  5. iTunes should prompt you to do one of two things, set up as a new iPad or restore from a backup. Choose to restore from a backup and select the backup you just made.
  6. Once the restore is done your iPad 2 will reboot. When iTunes detects it again it will start to sync back any apps and games your old iPad had installed.
  7. Let iTunes do its thing. When you come back, your new iPad 2 should have all the same settings and data as your old one!

If you guys are switching, let us know how transferring your data worked out! Any issues with things transferring or did everything go smoothly?

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Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

Daily Tip: How to transfer data from your original iPad to your new iPad 2


Now there is a 2-3 week delay for ordering your ipad 2 online, I might need to leave work early and get in line.

The apple store in 12 oaks mall has 50 people in line, what should I do? I don't wanna stand there for 3 hours looking stupid, the mall stays packed but I want one today!!! He couldn't even tell me how many they had.
Best buy say they don't have anyone waiting but they really can't tell, they could be walking around the store.

On my way home I pass a target but I'd hate to wait til 5 and they be like we don't have any 64 black wifi models. I might just hit up apple or best buy across the street first then apple.

I will be keeping my iPad. I want to set up a new user in Win7. Will this procedure work or do I need to modify something. Initially I want all that is on the original iPad.

If I'm keeping my old iPad, can I follow the above steps to duplicate its contents onto my iPad 2, and will iTunes then recognize both iPads? Can I keep them in sync (with apps, media downloads, etc.)?

You sure can. I have 2 iPhones and an iPad synced with my iMac. Your backups are based of the serial and identifier in the device. Just simply restore from the most recent backup of your old iPad and you'll still be able to sync both just fine. If you rename one of them they'll start creating separate backups as well.

What happens if the current iPad is running iOS 4.2? Will the iPad 2 accept and run iOS 4.2? I'm assuming it comes with 4.3.

What about ibooks SAMPLES? They are not backed up and are lost the two times I've had to restore. My ipad 1st gen. I used them as most "lists" and have over 200 ampnd I'm NOT wanting tp reload them. Help?! Please....

Allyson. Worked like a charm. Great tip and thanks.
Two questions:

  1. How can I rename one of them so I can have separate backups?

I have an unlimited plan data plan thru AT&T, want to move this over to ipad 2 and use Wi-Fi only on ipad 1.....what do I need to do to keep my unlimited plan?
Thanks. You guys rock.

In the side bar where your iPad pops up, you can right click or tap just like you would to change a song info and rename the iPad to something other than "iPad".
I'm not sure about the transfer issue as I only had the wifi version. But I know you should be able to keep it. That Kay be a question for another TiPb member or reader. Anyone?
If all else fails, call AT&T?

If I upgrade and give my original to my spouse, do I have to reset the original and lose all the programs?

No as long as you are okay with both of you using the same iTunes account. Purchased content can be redownloaded for free as many times as you'd like.

I thought that you have to do the "Transfer Purchases" thing?
Otherwise it'd be having 2 copies of the same software (1 per iPad)...
Further, since the sync via iTunes is done per unique machine ID (each iPad or iPhone has a unique ID, which is the serial number, which can't be changed by the owner), and disregarding for a moment the possibility of having different versions of iOS on each machine, I'm not quite certain how you'd manage a separate backup scheme for each?

I have mine and my girlfriends iPhones synced with the iMac. Different backups and device names. Same iTunes account. Works flawlessly. Have been doing it that way since the original iPhone.

I have an iPad and it is synced to my work laptop. My wife has an iPad and it is synced to her laptop. We each have separate iTunes accounts from which we have purchased music, movies, books, and Apps with. We are wondering how to get her Apps, etc. on to my iPad, and my Apps, etc. onto hers.
Is there an easy way to do this?

merci beaucoup pour cette information, Vous avez soulevé beaucoup de questions dans mon esprit , Je suis impatient de lire d'autres dans un proche avenir!

is it possible to sync iPhone data to newly bought iPad? Say I don't want to transfer music, video, but I need to sync mail account settings, other applications settings from iPhone to iPad?

I forgot to back up my iPad 1 before i sold it. wont all the apps/books/music transfer to the new iPad anyway?

I have just picked up an ipad 2. I tried to follow the instructions for backing up the old and follow is with backing up the new iPad 2. Half way into the second back up the mac's battery died. Now, the new ipad is working but with out any back up!
How can I get iTunes to ask me again if I want to back up from an existing ipad?

I tried to make the switch a couple months ago. The initial backup took several hours. Once complete, I plugged in the new iPad 2 and the restore took another hour and a half (mind you, there wasn't a whole lot of data that need transferring a few apps and about two hundred pictures). Once complete, only about 30 pictures transferred over and none of the apps.

Not able to transfeer any data from pages, numbers,Flipboard, Notes etc...very frustrated at "losing all this". Any help appreciated...

I dropped and cracked the glass on my 2-month old iPad2, and awesome Apple replaced it w/a brand new iPad2, no charge, no questions asked (no, I didn't have the extended warranty). Being a newbie, I looked around on the web for info on how to xfer data from on iPad2 to another. A useful tip I found is missing from the above directions, which are for an ipad1 to ipad2 transfer, but I'm sure this info applies to any iPad transfer.
I think what may have happened to the previous posters who didn't see any data transfer over, is that they sync'd their new iPads instead of 'restoring from backup'.
Each time iPad2 syncs with iTunes via a computer (PC w/Windows XP, in my case), iTunes automatically creates a backup file on your computer. However, previous versions of the backup are not kept, but written over with each subsequent sync/backup.
So, you sync your old iPad on your computer, a backup of all current APPS, photos, calendar, notes, email, etc. is written to a file at:
C:documents and settingsUser NameApplication DataApple ComputerMobile SyncBackupFile Name
Immediately following this last sync/backup, you should COPY this backup file to a secure location in another file. I copied and dragged the file via Windows Explorer (yup, I'm old school) to my external hard drive, in a folder I created named OriginaliPadbackupAug15. It took a little while for the data to transfer. In this new location, this copy of your iPad data is safe from being accidentally written over by a subsequent syncing w/the new iPad.
Next, connect your new iPad2 to iTunes via your computer. It will ask you to register it, and you can go ahead and do that, but don't do anything else. Do NOT sync at this point.
If you began syncing, which I suspect the previous posters did, a new (essentially empty) backup file of the new iPad would overwrite the previous backup of all the data in the old iPad, and you would have no data left (aside from the apps that were in iTunes) to transfer to the new iPad!
What you want to do immediately after registering, is RESTORE FROM BACKUP. I think iTunes shows this as an option, but if not, right click your on your device listed on the left in iTunes, and select Restore from Backup in the drop down menu.
The most recent backup (which is from your old iPad) will be restored onto your new iPad.
If you did sync the new iPad instead of restoring from backup (like I accidentally did - force of habit from being used to clicking 'sync'), you would be able to fix this mistake (as I did) because YOU have your original iPad's data safely tucked away in that copied file you made.
You would need to delete the File Name currently in C:documents and settingsUser NameApplication DataApple ComputerMobile SyncBackupFile Name, and replace it with the file you saved (in the folder OriginaliPadbackupAug15, for example). Being extra paranoid, I copied the file (instead of moving it) and dragged it to the File Name spot.
Then back in iTunes, the Restore from Backup function will be directed to the old iPad's data saved in this backup file. And the data will be uploaded to the new iPad.
This worked for me and I was pleasantly surprised to see all of my photos, videos, cellular data info, notes, calendar entries, etc. all restored to my new iPad2! Having the backup file stored in a safe place was a lifesaver! I think I will do this periodically should anything catastrophic happen to my iPad in the future.
I apologize for the long-winded post, but I'm not a tech person, just someone who learned from a mistake. I hope this helps!

Thank you Janedoe for takeing the trouble to explain in language I understand - haven't bought iPad 2 yet but hoping to soon but wanted
to be prepared for when it arrives. Thanks again

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Hi, may I know what if during the registeration I selected "Setup as a new ipad", how can I transfer the apps from the old ipad to the new ipad?
Can I de-register the new ipad? How?
Thank you very much for your help. Really appreciated it. Thanks.