Almost every spring Apple releases a new version of the iPhone, which means it’s time for everyone to decide if they can save enough money on the latest model. If you’ve worked with Apple for years, you’ve probably updated your phone at least 2 or 3 times, even with those two-year contracts.
When you get a new iPhone, the obvious challenge is to transfer all data from your old phone to your new one. To do this, you need to back up one phone and restore the backup to the second phone. On iOS, this can be done in one of two ways: local backup or via iCloud.
In this article, I will show you how to switch between two iPhones using the local backup method and via iCloud. Before we start, however, I must mention some of the caveats and pitfalls that can come along the way.
IOS version requirements
Most of the time, you will be restoring a backup from an old iPhone with an older version or the same version of iOS as your new phone and it won’t cause absolutely any problems. When you perform a restore, the iOS version on the device must be the same or newer than the version in the backup.
For example, if you have an iPhone 5S with iOS 8 and you restore this backup to an iPhone 6S with iOS 9, everything will work fine. However, if you’ve updated your iPhone 5S to iOS 9.2.1, created a backup, and then tried to restore it to an iPhone 6S running iOS 9.1, it won’t work!
However, fixing this is relatively easy. In such cases, just update your phone to a newer version than the version in the backup and you should be fine.
The second major problem, at least for me, is transferring all my passwords to a new device. Migrate all your apps, photos, messages, etc. Quite easy, but very difficult to re-enter all app passwords, Wi-Fi passwords and website passwords.
There are two ways to transfer passwords to another iPhone: by encrypting a local backup or by turning on iCloud KeyChain. By mentioning both methods below, I’ll show you how to activate these two features, saving you the hassle of typing after recovery.
Local backup to iTunes
With iTunes, you can quickly create a complete backup of your iPhone with just a few clicks. Read more in my previous post on Apple device backup. First, open iTunes and then connect your phone to your computer.
At the top, you should see a small iPhone icon. Click on it and the Summary page for your device will open. In the “Backups” section, you will see what default backup options are used on your phone.
In my case, iCloud is where my phone automatically backs up. I highly recommend using both iCloud and local backups as extra protection. First, check the “Encrypt iPhone backup” box and choose a password to protect your backup. Be sure to keep your password in a safe place because you will need it to restore your backup.
Now, just click the “Create Backup” button to start the backup. If you see a message about purchases that are not in the pop-up window in your iTunes library, click Transfer Purchases. In addition, you may receive a message that you need to authorize your computer to transfer some content. You can authorize up to five computers with one iTunes account.
After the backup is complete, you can disconnect your phone and connect another one. Before you can restore the backup, you must turn off Find My iPhone on the phone where the backup will be restored. To do this, go to Settings, tap iCloud, tap Find iPhone, and turn it off.
Now click on the “Restore backup” button to the right of “Back up now” and select the backup you just created. Please note, if the backup you just created is not listed, it means that there is a problem with the iOS version I mentioned above.
Click the “Restore” button and you will be prompted for a password because the backup was encrypted. The only problem you may run into at this stage is not enough space on the second phone to restore the backup. For example, if you backed up a 64GB iPhone and tried to restore it to a 32GB iPhone, you may run into a problem if the backup size is larger than the phone’s storage capacity.
In such cases, you need to either reduce the size of the backup by deleting the content and data from the phone, or make sure the other phone has the same or greater capacity.
If you prefer to use the cloud to back up your device, then iCloud works very well overall. In my experience, it takes a lot longer than restoring from an iTunes backup because everything has to be downloaded through your internet connection.
ICloud backups are automatic, so you should already have a backup while it’s on. If you’re not sure, tap Settings, then iCloud and make sure the Backup option is set to On. Obviously, the phone must already be iCloud signed in with your Apple ID.
To manually back up to iCloud, simply click Back Up Now. It will also tell you the last backup time.
To restore an iCloud backup, you need to wipe your iPhone completely. I’m not a big fan of this method, but this is the only way it works now. So, on the phone you want to restore, tap Settings, General, Reset, and then Erase All Content and Settings.
Then you will need to double-tap Erase iPhone before it starts erasing data from your phone. Again, you need to turn off Find My iPhone first. After wiping data from the phone, it will launch with the Hello screen. Swipe the screen and select your language and country.
Then connect to a Wi-Fi network, and then turn location services on or off. Skip through Touch ID and password options and you will finally see a screen where you can choose how to recover your data. You can choose between iCloud Backup, iTunes Backup, Set as New iPhone, or Transfer Data from Android.
In our case, you’ll choose an iCloud backup and then enter your Apple ID and password. When you do, you may need to verify your identity if you have enabled two-factor verification on your account. At this point, you should get a list of the latest iCloud backups from all your devices.
You will be able to see the date and time of the backup, the device and the name associated with that device. If the backup is inactive, it means that it cannot be restored to the device, probably due to issues with the iOS version.
As mentioned, it can take quite a while for the iCloud restore to complete. You will notice that even after the iPhone boots up, it will download all of your media and apps. It can take hours to restore your phone using iCloud.
Before restoring your backup, make sure iCloud KeyChain is turned on so that all data is synced after signing in to iCloud on your new phone. To do this, click on “Settings”, then “iCloud”, then “KeyChain” and turn it on.
So, these are all the procedures for backing up and restoring iPhone to another device. In my opinion, it would be a good idea to pay for additional iCloud storage and store your backups there, not just locally on your computer. Apple has great hardware, but there are quite a few bugs in their software and I have run into issues with missing backups or failing restores, etc. If you have any questions feel free to comment. Enjoy!