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

iPad mini 6 versus iPad Pro 2021
(Image credit: iMore / Future)

If you're reading this, then you probably have an iPad right now. More than likely, you've had it for a while. Over time, that iPad has probably accumulated a lot of important data, such as documents and files for work or school, or perhaps a lot of visual memories that you want to cherish for years to come. You might even have used it for gaming, and those game saves are important — no one likes to start over when you've already invested a lot of time into it! All of this is data that you don't want to be without.

But what happens when you decide to upgrade to the best new iPad? How are you supposed to get all of your data moved over and intact on your shiny new toy? Thankfully, Apple makes the process of how to transfer data to a new iPad quite easy and straightforward. It's very similar to how you would transfer data onto the best iPhone too.

Use Automatic Setup to transfer data to new iPad

In iOS 11 and later, including the upcoming iOS 16, you can use any old device to set up a new iPad by transferring your old device's settings to your new device when in close physical proximity.

  1. Select your language on your new iPad with your new and old devices in close proximity.
  2. Tap Continue on your iPad on the pop up 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 Continue (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Use your old iPad to scan the image that appears on your new iPad.
  2. Enter your old iPad's passcode on your new iPad.
  3. 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 ID (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Choose whether or not to restore your new iPad from your most recent compatible backup, if that option presents itself.
  2. 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 device (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Agree to the terms and conditions.
  2. Tap Continue under Express Settings to use Siri's settings, Find My iPhone, Location, and usage analytics that were transferred over from your old iPad.

Use Automatic Setup to transfer data to new iPad by showing steps: Tap Agree, tap Continue (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Complete the setup process for your new iPad as you normally would.

Use a Mac to transfer data to new iPad

With macOS Catalina and later, there is no longer an iTunes app. Instead, iTunes is 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. Of course, if you are still on macOS Mojave or earlier, the steps below are the same, except you'll use iTunes instead of 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 by showing steps: Click Finder, click iPad (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click the checkbox next to Encrypt local backup if you want to encrypt this backup.
  2. Enter a password if you chose to encrypt your backups.

Transfer data to new iPad using Mac by showing steps: Click checkbox, enter password (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click Back Up Now and wait for the backup to complete, then disconnect your old iPad.

Transfer data to new iPad using Mac by showing steps: Click Back Up Now (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Connect your new iPad to the same Mac that you used to back up the old one.
  2. Click your new iPad in the sidebar.
  3. Click the button next to Restore from this backup.

Transfer data to new iPad using Mac by showing steps: Click iPad, click button (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click on a backup from the drop-down.
  2. Click Continue.

Transfer data to new iPad using Mac by showing steps: Click a backup, click Continue (Image credit: iMore)

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

Use iCloud to transfer data to new iPad

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 iCloud (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap iCloud Backup.
  2. Tap Back Up Now.

Transfer data by using iCloud to backup by showing steps: Tap icloud backup, tap Back Up Now (Image credit: 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.
  3. Tap Restore from date of most recent backup Backup to restore 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 setup (Image credit: iMore)

Your iPad will now restore from your iCloud backup. This could take some time, so be patient!

Enjoy your brand new iPad

As you can see, Apple provides a few different methods for getting your data moved over from your old iPad to your new one. Regardless of which method you end up choosing, it gets the job done quickly.

I prefer just using iCloud because that's my primary backup method, but I'll admit that it does take a while. If you want the fastest method, then a wired connection with the computer would be your best bet. But no matter which method you go with, these are the best ways to get your data over from an old iPad to a new one, whether that's an iPad mini 6, M1 iPad Pro, or even an iPad Air 5.

Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.

When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.

With contributions from