How to Switch From One iPhone to Another Using iTunes

iTunes logo

Using Apple's iTunes software, you're able to easily transfer data between two iPhones or iOS devices.

Even if you're in love with your current iPhone and are completely happy with it, there's always something about the release of the latest iPhone that makes it irresistible. You have to have it. Thankfully, if you're already using an iPhone, it's really easy to switch from your old one to a new one.

There are a few ways to make the switch, but we'll be outlining the iTunes method, which transfers the most amount of data between your phones.

What you'll need:

  • Your old iPhone
  • Your new (or certified used) iPhone
  • USB cable
  • A computer with iTunes installed

Time to transfer: 10 minutes to 1+ hour, depending on how much data needs to be transferred

The first thing you'll have to do is create a backup of your current iPhone in iTunes. This is really easy - once you plug in your phone, you'll be able to manage your iPhone in different ways, such as update the software and decide what gets synced to it. You'll need to find the "Back Up Now" button in the "Backups" section of the Summary page.

How to backup iPhone

The "Restore Backup..." button is going to be real useful a few lines down.

Tip: if you choose to "Encrypt iPhone backup," you'll be able to transfer more data, such as things from the Health app, such as step counts, along with any autofill passwords that you have saved.

If you have a lot of photos and apps that need to be backed up, this could take up to an hour, or even longer. Depending on what you're going to be doing with your phone, you can also wipe your phone clean at this point by clicking "Restore iPhone..." to factory reset your iPhone. It may be a good idea to not do this for a week or so, while you use your new phone and make sure that absolutely everything did, in fact, transfer over. Sometimes, there's minor app data that doesn't make it to your phone, such as saved Shazams from your years of discovering new music.

Once the backup is ready, you can plug in your new phone at this time. If it's new, or if it's been factory restored, there will be a dialog that shows up that allows you to either set up your phone as new, or restore from a previous backup. You'll be able to select the backup of your phone you just made, and everything will begin to copy over to your new phone.

If that dialog doesn't show up, what you'll have to do is choose the "Restore Backup..." option, which is shown in the earlier screenshot - it's right beside the "Back Up Now" button. This will allow you to choose which backup you want to copy back onto your iPhone. 


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