iOS Easy Device Set Up: How to Use the Apple iCloud Temporary Storage

The process of upgrading and transferring data to a new device can be painful, but Apple is seeking to fix that by offering temporary storage through iCloud. Now when you purchase a new iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch, you can create a full device backup with temporary iCloud storage, then seamlessly transfer that backup to your new device. Read on to learn how to create a backup with temporary storage for data.

Related: How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Computer (Mac, PC, iCloud & AirDrop)

Jump To:

What Is Temporary Apple iCloud Storage?

When you buy a new iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch, the easiest way to upgrade is to restore from an iCloud backup. However, free iCloud accounts have been capped at 5 GB since 2011. If you have a paid iCloud subscription you might have enough data to transfer to your new device via iCloud backup. But for most people with free accounts, five gigabytes isn't even enough to transfer the photos on their iPhone.

iPhone Life
Discover your iPhone's hidden features
Get a daily tip (with screenshots and clear instructions) so you can master your iPhone in just one minute a day.

This problem is resolved with the temporary iCloud Backup option, which offers you free and unlimited storage space for three weeks. To use this feature, you'll first need to make a full iCloud backup of your old device. Then you'll sign into iCloud on your new device and download the full backup. Transferring your data this way will allow you to automatically get all your apps, media and file content, and settings from your previous Apple device.

How to Make an Apple iCloud Backup with Temporary Storage

To make use of the temporary iCloud storage option, your old device will need to be updated to iOS 15 or later, iPadOS 15 or later, or watchOS 8 or later. Follow the steps below to complete your temporary iCloud storage backup.

  1. Open Settings

  2. Tap General

  3. Tap Transfer or Reset iPhone.

  4. Select Get Started

  5. Tap Continue to access the extra iCloud storage.

  6. Apps not synced to iCloud will display in a list. If you want to transfer this data to your new device, tap Move all App Data With iCloud.

  7. Tap Done

  8. Your iCloud backup status will be displayed in your main Settings page, along with the amount of time remaining before the temporary storage is deleted. 

From this point, all that is needed is to sign into your new device with the same Apple ID and transfer the data via iCloud. Make sure to transfer your data before the end of the three week period, as your device data will automatically be deleted from iCloud storage at that point. 

Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.


Author Details

Ashleigh Page's picture

Author Details

Ashleigh Page

Ashleigh Page is an Associate Editor for iPhone Life. A longtime Apple enthusiast with a Bachelor's in English and Computer Science and three years of experience writing about tech, Ashleigh has written and tested hundreds of articles about devices and features within Apple's ecosystem. She specializes in iPhone, iPad, AirPods, and Mac content and has authored a 60-page in-depth guide about the Apple Maps app. Based in North Carolina, Ashleigh is often crafting whimsical (and sometimes nonsensical) short stories and hiking when she's not working.