How To Transfer Content From One Device to Another

If you've purchased a new iDevice, the good news is that you don't have to set it up from scratch if you are replacing an older device. One of my favorite things about owning Apple products is the simplicity in which transferring content can be done. As long as you back up your previous device using either iCloud or iTunes, your new device can be synced with all your content, including saved messages, email accounts, photos, notes, and other personal settings.

Here's how:

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iCloud Backup

1. First turn on iCloud Backup on your old device by going to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup, then turn on iCloud Backup.

2. Once this is on, tap Back Up Now. The speed of your Internet connection and the amount of content you have on your iDevice will determine how long the backup will take.

3. When the backup is complete, turn on your new device. Here you will be asked to set your language and country, if you want to enable Location Services and to set up a Wi-Fi network.

4. Once set-up is complete you can start to transfer content onto your new device. Choose Restore from iCloud Backup > tap next > enter your Apple ID and password.

5. Choose the backup of your old device and tap Restore. Again, the length of the restore will depend on amount of content and Internet connection speed.

6. When the restore is complete, your iDevice will restart.

7. Connect the device to iTunes to sync any data (such as music or videos) that wasn't purchased from the iTunes Store.

8. Once the new iDevice is up and running, you will still need to enter your username and passwords for email and other accounts.

iTunes Backup

1. Make sure you have the latest version of iTunes on your computer and the latest version of iOS on your original device.

2. Connect your iDevice to your computer then choose File > Devices > Backup. If you regularly use iTunes to sync your iDevice, the backup should start automatically.

3. If your old iPhone has a SIM card and your new phone wasn't purchased through a cell phone carrier, remove the old SIM card using a paper clip and insert into your new iPhone. If your new iPhone was purchased through a carrier, this step isn't necessary because it will already include a new SIM card.

4. When the iTunes backup on the old device is finished, turn on your new device and follow the setup assistant where you will be asked to choose your language and country, whether or not you want to enable Location Services and choose a Wi-Fi network.

5. When you are prompted to set up your new device, select Restore from iTunes Backup.

6. Connect your new device to the same computer you used to back up the old device.

7. iTunes will give you two choices, to either set up as a new device or restore from backup. Select backup of your old device and choose Continue. Here you can watch as a progress bar shows you how far along the transfer is. Do not disconnect the device until it's finished even if the progress bar occasionally pauses.

8. When the restore is complete, your device will restart and then will be ready to use.

9. Keep your device connected to iTunes to sync any data (such as music or videos) that wasn't purchased from the iTunes Store

10. Lastly, you will need to re-enter password and usernames for your email and other accounts. A way to avoid this hassle is to restore from an encrypted backup. Instructions can be found here.


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Paula is a freelance media broadcaster and journalist. She enjoys life at home with her husband, two kids, two dogs, two cats and a parrot. Her iPhone is never more than two feet away from her and she can't imagine life without it.