iPad Air 4Source: iMore

We all love getting a brand new iPad, but before we start using it with iPadOS 14, we want to make sure that we transfer our important data to our new, best iPad first. Otherwise, we'll have to start all over from scratch, and that can be a total pain. Thankfully, when it comes down to how to transfer data to a new iPad, Apple makes the process very easy. Here's what you need to know about getting your stuff transferred over.

Products Used In This Guide

How to transfer data to new iPad: Use Automatic Setup

In iOS 11 and later, you can use any current device to set up a new iPad by transferring your current device's settings to your new device when in close physical proximity.

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

    Use Automatic Setup to transfer data to new iPad by showing steps: Choose language, tap ContinueSource: iMore

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

    Use Automatic Setup to transfer data to new iPad by showing steps: Scan the image, enter passcode, setup Touch IDSource: iMore

  6. Choose whether or not to restore your new 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 iPad, or transfer data from an Android device.

    Use Automatic Setup to transfer data to new iPad by showing steps: Choose if you want to restore deviceSource: iMore

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

    Use Automatic Setup to transfer data to new iPad by showing steps: Tap Agree, tap ContinueSource: iMore

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

How to transfer data to new iPad: Use a Mac

With macOS Catalina and later, there is no longer an iTunes app. Instead, iTunes is now split up into three new, standalone apps: Music, TV, and Podcasts. None of those apps handle backing up, updating, or restoring iPhones and iPads anymore on the Mac. For those tasks, you need to turn to the Finder.

  1. Connect your old iPad to your Mac.
  2. Click Finder in the Dock to open a new Finder window.
  3. Click on your iPad in the sidebar.

    Transfer data to new iPad using Mac to backup by showing steps: Click Finder, click iPadSource: iMore

  4. Click the checkbox next to Encrypt local backup if you want to encrypt this backup.
  5. Enter a password if you chose to encrypt your backups.

    Transfer data to new iPad using Mac to backup by showing steps: Click checkbox, enter passwordSource: iMore

  6. Click Back Up Now and wait for the backup to complete, then disconnect your old iPad.

    Transfer data to new iPad using Mac to backup by showing steps: Click Back Up NowSource: iMore

  7. Connect your new iPad to the same Mac that you used to back up the old one.
  8. Click your new iPad in the sidebar.
  9. Click the button next to Restore from this backup.

    Transfer data to new iPad using Mac to restore by showing steps: Click iPad, click buttonSource: iMore

  10. Click on a backup from the drop-down.
  11. Click Continue.

    Transfer data to new iPad using Mac to restore by showing steps: Click a backup, click ContinueSource: iMore

Follow the instructions on your new iPad to finish setting it up.

How to transfer data to new iPad: Use iCloud

If you use iCloud to back up your iPad, you can transfer everything to your new iPad wirelessly. However, before you do that, you'll want to trigger one last manual backup on your old iPad to make sure you get everything as up-to-date as possible on your new device.

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

    Transfer data by using iCloud to backup by showing steps: Open Settings, tap Apple ID banner, tap iCloudaSource: iMore

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

    Transfer data by using iCloud to backup by showing steps: Tap icloud backup, tap Back Up NowSource: iMore

After you back up your iPad, you'll want to get started with your new iPad and restore the older device's back up to it.

  1. Press the Home button on your new iPad to start the setup process.
  2. Follow the instructions for initial setup. If you're looking to transfer everything from your old iPad to your new iPad, try using the Automatic Setup process in iOS 11.
  3. Tap Restore from [date of most recent backup] Backup to restore from your latest iCloud backup when you're using Automatic Setup.
  4. Tap Agree.
  5. Finish setting up your new iPad with Siri, location, app analytics, and Apple Pay settings.

    Transfer data by using iCloud to restore by showing steps: Tap Restore from date, tap Agree, finish setupSource: iMore

Your iPad will now restore from your iCloud backup. This could take some time.

Brand new iPads

Apple's latest iPads fill in spots in the company's tablet lineup, offering excellent performance and capabilities for those that can't or don't want to spend the money on an iPad Pro.

The new mainstream

Apple iPad (2020)

The entry-level iPad gets an even bigger display.

Apple's entry-level iPad sports a large 10.2-inch display and now supports the Apple Pencil. For the first time, Apple's entry-level tablet also features the Smart Connector, allowing it to use accessories like the Smart Keyboard.

For people looking for a decent tablet at a reasonably low price, the eighth-generation iPad is a good choice. The inclusion of the Smart Connector, and thus Smart Keyboard support, allow this iPad to have similar flexibility for productivity as more expensive iPads.

Great middle ground

iPad Air 4

Pro-level features at an affordable price

The iPad Air 4 features a more Pro-like design and feature set. You get a 10.9-inch screen with incredibly thin bezels, and the Touch ID sensor is now in the side button. It also has the latest A14 Bionic chip and charges via USB-C.

If you want something with a little more power than the entry-level but not as expensive as the iPad Pro, then the iPad Air 4 is a great compromise. The new 10.9-inch screen has no Home button and thin bezels, but there is no Face ID. Instead, the Touch ID sensor is now on the power button. The A14 Bionic chip also means that the iPad Air 4 is fast and zippy, and the new design is similar to the iPad Pro but at a smaller price point. Plus, the iPad Air 4 comes in several fun colors, so pick the one that suits you best.

Best of the best

iPad Pro (2020)

The best iPad around gets incrementally better.

While not the biggest upgrade to the iPad Pro that Apple's ever offered, the 2020 version brings more RAM to the table, more default storage, and LiDAR on the rear camera.

If you have the 2018 iPad Pro, you might want to skip this, but anyone with an older iPad Pro or looking to get their first iPad Pro should pick this up. It's a slightly better version of what was already the absolute best tablet on the market, and if you're really into augmented reality, the new LiDAR sensor will be perfect for you.

Great accessories

The Apple Pencil is compatible with the new iPad Air and iPad mini, while the Smart Keyboard works with the smart connector found on the iPad Air.

Apple Pencil (first generation) ($80 at Amazon)

Usable by both the new iPad mini and iPad Air, the first-generation Apple Pencil is an excellent stylus, whether you're writing, drawing, or working with fine details on a photo edit.

Apple Pencil (second generation) ($99 at Amazon)

The stylus to get for both the 2018 and 2020 iPad Pro, the second-generation Apple Pencil improves upon the first iteration with a matte finish and the ability to magnetically attach to and be charged by the iPad Pro.

Apple Smart Keyboard ($159 at Apple)

No Bluetooth or battery required. This keyboard cover uses Apple's smart connector to get data and power from the iPad Air. It's an excellent accessory for anyone who plans to type a lot on their new iPad.

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