How to transfer data from your old phone to your new iPhoneSource: iMore

When the time comes for you to get a new iPhone, you'll likely want to move as much of the data from your old iPhone over to your new device as you can. There are several ways you can accomplish this, from transferring data using iCloud to a more hardwired connection through iTunes.

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Products used in this guide

How to use Automatic Setup with your iPhone

  1. Select your language on your new iPhone or iPad with your new and current devices nearby.
  2. Tap Continue on your iPhone or iPad on the popup that appears asking you to set up your new iPhone or iPad with your Apple ID.

    The new iPhone setup steps showing Choose language and Tap ContinueSource: iMore

  3. Use your current iPhone or iPad to scan the image that appears on your new iPhone or iPad.
  4. Enter your current iPhone or iPad's passcode on your new iPhone or iPad.
  5. Set up Touch ID or Face ID on your new iPhone.

    New iPhone setup steps showing the steps to scan the automatic setup code and then set up Touch IDSource: iMore

  6. Choose whether or not to restore your new iPhone or iPad from your most recent compatible backup — if that option presents itself.
  7. Choose to restore your new device from an iCloud or iTunes backup, set up as a new iPhone or iPad, or transfer data from an Android device.

    New iPhone setup showing the steps to choose if you want to restore your deviceSource: iMore

  8. Agree to the terms and conditions.
  9. Tap Continue under Express Settings to use the settings for Siri, Find My iPhone, Location, and usage analytics that were transferred over from your current iPhone and iPad.

    New iPhone setup showing steps to agree to Apple's Terms and Conditions Source: iMore

  10. Complete the setup process for your new iPhone or iPad as you normally would.

How to transfer your data to your new iPhone using iCloud

  1. Open Settings on your old iPhone.
  2. Tap the Apple ID banner.
  3. Tap iCloud.

    New iPhone setup showing steps to Open Settings, tap Apple ID banner, tap iCloudSource: iMore

  4. Tap iCloud Backup.
  5. Tap Back Up Now.

    New iPhone setup showing steps for Tap iCloud Backup, tap Backup Up NowSource: iore

  6. Turn your old iPhone off once the backup is finished.
  7. Remove the SIM card from your old iPhone or if you're going to move it to your new one.

Wait for the backup to complete before proceeding.

You can now set aside your old iPhone. Make sure that your new iPhone is off when you start these next steps.

  1. Insert your old SIM card into your new iPhone if you want to move it between devices.
  2. Turn on your new iPhone.
  3. Slide up or press the Home button depending on which device you're setting up.
  4. Follow the directions to choose your language and set up your Wi-Fi network.
  5. Tap Restore from iCloud backup.
  6. Sign in to your iCloud account (This is your Apple ID).
  7. Tap Next.
  8. Tap Agree.
  9. Tap Agree again.
  10. Choose the backup you just made.

How to transfer your data to your new iPhone on macOS Catalina

  1. Plug your old iPhone into your Mac running macOS Catalina.
  2. Click on the Finder icon in the Dock to open a new Finder window.
  3. Click on your iPhone under Locations.

    Transferring iPhone data on macOS Catalina showing steps to Click Finder, click iPhone nameSource: iMore

  4. Click Trust if you're asked to trust your iPhone.
  5. Click the checkbox for Encrypt Local Backup.
  6. Create a password if this is your first time setting up encrypted backups.
  7. Click on Back Up Now.

    Transferring iPhone data on macOS Catalina showing steps to Source: iMore

  8. Skip Backup Apps, if asked. (They'll likely re-download anyway.)
  9. Unplug your old iPhone when done.
  10. Turn off your old iPhone.
  11. Take your SIM card out of your old iPhone. (If you don't have a new or separate SIM card for your new phone.)

Wait for the backup to complete before proceeding.

  1. Put your SIM card into your new iPhone. (If it didn't come with a new or different SIM card.)
  2. Turn on your new iPhone.
  3. Plug your new iPhone into your Mac.
  4. Slide to set up on your iPhone.
  5. Follow the directions to choose your language and set up your Wi-Fi network.
  6. Select Restore from Mac or PC.
  7. Click you new iPhone under Locations in the Finder window.
  8. In Finder on your Mac, click the button next to Restore from this backup.

    Transferring iPhone data on macOS Catalina showing steps to Click radio button, click iPhoneSource: iMore

  9. Choose your recent backup from the drop-down list.
  10. Click Continue.

    Transferring iPhone data on macOS Catalina showing steps to Click recent backup, click ContinueSource: iMore

  11. Enter your password and click Restore if your backup was encrypted and the Finder asks.

    Transferring iPhone data on macOS Catalina showing steps to Click RestoreSource: iMore

How to transfer your data to your new iPhone using macOS Mojave and older

  1. Make sure you're running the most recent version of iTunes.
  2. Plug your old iPhone into your Mac or Windows PC.
  3. Launch iTunes.
  4. Click on the iPhone icon in the menu bar when it appears.
  5. Click on Encrypt Backup; you'll be asked to add a password if this is your first time encrypting a backup.

    Transferring iPhone data from iTunes showing steps to Source: iMore

  6. Click on Back Up Now.

    Transferring iPhone data from iTunes showing steps to Click Back Up NowSource: iMore

  7. Skip Backup Apps, if asked. (They'll likely re-download anyway.)
  8. Unplug your old iPhone when done.
  9. Turn off your old iPhone.
  10. Take your SIM card out of your old iPhone. (If you don't have a new or separate SIM card for your new phone.)

Wait for the backup to complete before proceeding.

  1. Put your SIM card into your new iPhone. (If it didn't come with a new or different SIM card.)
  2. Turn on your new iPhone.
  3. Plug your new iPhone into your Mac or Windows PC.
  4. Slide to set up on your iPhone.
  5. Follow the directions to choose your language and set up your Wi-Fi network.
  6. Select Restore from iTunes backup.
  7. On iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC, select Restore from this backup.
  8. Choose your recent backup from the list.

    Backing up iPhone on iTunes showing steps to Click Restore from this backup, choose backupSource: iMore

  9. Click Continue.
  10. Enter your password if your backup was encrypted and it asks.

    Transferring data to iPhone from iTunes showing steps to Click continue, enter passwordSource: iMore

Keep your iPhone plugged into iTunes until the transfer is complete, and on Wi-Fi until all re-downloads are complete. Depending on how much data you have to re-download, including music and apps, it might take a while.

Get your new iPhone

Of course, to transfer data to your new iPhone, you're going to need a new iPhone first.

Budget friendly

iPhone SE (2020)

The iPhone for people who love a good Home button.

The low-cost iPhone SE is hard to pass up at that price, especially considering it has the fastest processor of any smart phone on the market, except of course, the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro.

The iPhone SE is a great entry-model iPhone for those just waiting to dip their toes into the Apple ecosystem. Come on in, the water's fine. At this price, you could buy two.

Additional Equipment

If you want to transfer your data using iTunes and have a Mac with USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports, you should go ahead and pick up a USB-C-to-Lightning cable.

Apple Lighting-to-USB-C cable ($19 at Amazon)

Apple includes a Lightning-to-USB-A cable with your iPhone, but you'll want this if you have a Mac with USB-C/Thunderbolt 3.

Anker Powerline II Lighting-to-USB-C cable ($14 at Amazon)

This is a great alternative to Apple's official cable. Anker's Powerline II now comes in a USB-C-to-Lightning option.

Anker Powerline+ II Lighting cable ($22 at Amazon)

If you're looking for a more durable alternative to Apple's included Lightning cable, and you don't have a USB-C Mac, check this option out.

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