Some of us like to change our iPhones every year, whilst others make it a once-every-few-years thing. Whichever side you fall on, it’s invaluable to know how to transfer your data from one iPhone to another.
In this guide, we’ll take you through each step of the process so you can start using your new iPhone in no time, with all of your photos, contact numbers and files intact.
If you’re on the lookout for a handset before transferring your data, our Apple iPhone collection provides a bounty of options to choose from.
Backing up your data
Before transferring your iPhone’s data, it’s important to first back it up should any technical issues arise during the process. Similarly to moving data across Android devices, there are local and cloud-based methods you can choose from, such as:
• Via iCloud
• With the New iPhone feature
• Using Quick Start
• Via a Mac or Windows PC
Backing up via iCloud
To back up your phone’s data to iCloud:
- Go to the Settings menu on your iPhone
- Select your name at the top, then tap iCloud
- Select ‘iCloud Backup’ and toggle the slider to On
Your iPhone will now automatically back up your data. You can also tap ‘Back Up Now’ to start the process manually.
Backing up to a Mac
To back up data to a Mac, you’ll need a Lightning-to-USB or Lightning-to-Thunderbolt cable:
- Connect your iPhone to a Mac with one of the above cables
- If prompted on your iPhone to trust the Mac it’s connected to, enter your passcode
- In a Finder window (blue smiling face icon), go to Locations on the sidebar
- Find the Backups section and select the ‘Back up all of the data on your iPhone to this Mac’ option
a. You can also select ‘Encrypt local backup’ to ensure all your passwords are protected
- Click ‘Back Up Now’
Backing up to a Windows PC
You’ll need a Lightning-to-USB cable and iTunes installed on your Windows PC to back up data this way. Apart from that, the steps are mostly the same:
- Use your Lightning-to-USB cable to connect your iPhone to the PC
- Enter your passcode when asked to trust the PC
- In iTunes, select your iPhone and go to the Backups section
- Choose one of the options (back up to the PC or the cloud)
a. Select to encrypt your data if desired
- Click ‘Back Up Now’
Transferring your data from iPhone to iPhone
Prepare for New iPhone feature
iOS 17, 16 and 15 include a handy transfer feature called Prepare for New iPhone. With it, you can access 21 days of free iCloud storage to move data across to your new device.
To use Prepare for New iPhone:
- Go to Settings and select ‘General’
- Scroll to the bottom and choose ‘Transfer or Reset iPhone’
- You’ll be presented with the ‘Prepare for New iPhone’ screen. Tap ‘Get Started’
- The following information will explain what this feature does. Select ‘Continue’ once you’ve read through
- Tap ‘Turn on Backup to Transfer’ when prompted, followed by ‘Move All App Data with iCloud’
- Select ‘Done’ to confirm
Your data will now be stored on iCloud. You can download the backup by following the next steps.
iCloud acts as a hub from which you can download your stored data backups. We’ll show you how to do this from a brand-new iPhone, or one that has been reset.
- Start by choosing your language and region
- Select ‘Set Up Manually’
- Find your Wi-Fi network and tap ‘Next’. The iPhone will then take a moment to activate
- Create your Touch ID and/or Face ID, as well as a passcode
- Tap ‘Restore from iCloud Backup’ on the Apps & Data screen
- Use your Apple ID to sign in and choose the most recent backup
The length of time the transfer will take is dependent on how much data is being moved across.
A new and old pair of iPhones can be placed next to each other and synced up via the Quick Start feature.
- Turn on the new iPhone
- Place it next to your old iPhone and select ‘Unlock to Continue’ when prompted
- Scan the animation that appears on your new iPhone’s screen with the old handset’s camera. You’ll be asked to enter your passcode on the new iPhone when done successfully
- On the Apps & Data screen, select ‘Transfer Directly from iPhone’
After following these steps, your data will start transferring across to your new iPhone.
With a Windows PC
If your Windows PC has a Type-C or free regular USB port, you can connect your old iPhone and back up its data to iTunes.
- Download iTunes from the Microsoft Store
- Plug your iPhone into the PC’s USB-C or standard USB port
- Open iTunes, click ‘Summary’ and locate the ‘Backups’ section
- Select ‘This Computer’ and then choose ‘Back Up Now’
- Once you have launched your new iPhone and reach the Quick Start screen, select ‘Set Up Manually’
- Follow the instructions until you reach the Apps & Data screen. Tap ‘Restore from Mac or PC’
With a Mac
Using a Mac to transfer your data to another iPhone is also possible, and you won’t have to download any additional programs.
- Use a USB or Lightning cable to connect the old iPhone to your Mac
- From the Finder app on the Mac, select your iPhone from the sidebar
- Click ‘Back up all of the data on your iPhone to your Mac’
- Turn on your new iPhone and follow setup until you reach the Quick Start page
- Tap ‘Set Up Manually’
- Continue to the Apps & Data screen and select ‘Restore from Mac or PC’
Now that you have transferred your data to your new iPhone, it’s time to think about how you’re going to protect it from bumps and scratches. Take a look at the top iPhone cases we recommend, including clear and durable options.
Do I need to put the SIM card into my new iPhone before transferring data?
Contacts and other data aren’t saved on the SIM card (they are usually uploaded to iCloud), so you can move the SIM across before or after the data transfer process.