Apple releases new versions of the iPhone every year. And while buying a new phone is always exciting, taking the time to move all your important data can be tedious.
Luckily, your Apple ID and iCloud accounts are designed to make switching iPhones as smooth as possible. It only takes a few steps.
Here’s how to painlessly switch from one iPhone to another.
Save your current iPhone’s data
First, we need to make sure your current iPhone’s data is safe in the event that something goes wrong. This means making a backup.
1. Open the Settings app and tap your name at the top of the screen, then tap iCloud.
2. Make sure that all the apps you want to save data from are toggled on. The most important of these is probably Photos, which should have the iCloud Photos option turned on.
Important: If you don’t have enough iCloud storage space to save everything, you should delete some data or buy a bigger iCloud subscription.
3. Once you’ve turned on everything you want to save, tap iCloud Backup and make sure it’s turned on, then tap Back Up Now.
Your iPhone will take a few minutes to save everything to iCloud.
If you have an Apple Watch, unpair it
Switching iPhones also means switching over devices that connect to the iPhone, like an Apple Watch.
Before you get rid of your current iPhone, you should unpair your Apple Watch. This will erase all of its data, but that data will be restored once you link it to the new iPhone.
- Open the Watch app on your iPhone and tap All Watches in the top-left corner.
- Tap the tiny “i” icon next to your Watch’s name, and then select Unpair Apple Watch.
Your Apple Watch will take a few minutes to reset.
Turn on the new iPhone and transfer your data
Once you’ve got your data secured, it’s time to switch iPhones.
There are two ways to do this: using the Quick Start feature, or by using your backup.
Quick tip: Alternatively, you can set up the new iPhone without transferring any data, and then just email any photos, videos, or files you want to yourself and re-save them. But while this might give you more control over what data you carry over, it takes a lot more time.
Using Quick Start
1. Turn on your new iPhone by connecting it to a charger, and place your old iPhone near it.
2. A pop-up should appear on your old iPhone, asking if you’d like to use your Apple ID to set up the new iPhone. Tap Continue.
3. Wait for an animation to appear on your new iPhone’s screen, then hold your old iPhone over the new one as directed.
4. On your new iPhone, enter the passcode and set up Face ID or Touch ID, then log into your Apple ID account.
5. You’ll be asked if you want to transfer data directly from your old iPhone, or want to restore data from an iCloud backup. Pick either option.
Keep the devices on and near each other until your new iPhone is ready for use.
Using an iCloud backup
1. Turn on your new iPhone by connecting it to a charger.
2. Follow the instructions on screen. Make sure that you connect to a Wi-Fi network.
3. Once you reach the Apps & Data screen, tap Restore from iCloud Backup and sign into your Apple ID account.
4. Choose the backup you want to restore your data from — chances are that it’ll be the most recent one.
Keep your iPhone connected to Wi-Fi until the backup transfer is complete.
Once done, you can pair your Apple Watch to the new iPhone and start using it as your main device. You can keep using the old iPhone if you want, too.
Switching SIM cards
Your iPhone’s SIM card is a small data chip that carries your phone number and cell carrier account information. If you plan to on using this new iPhone as your main cellphone, you’ll need to switch the SIM card too.
Note: Most major cell carriers let you switch SIM cards between phones without issue, but you should check with your specific carrier to see if they require any extra steps.
1. Find the SIM card slot on your old iPhone. It’ll be on the right side of the phone, and looks like a long oval with a hole in one end.
2. Stick a SIM card ejection tool or paperclip into the hole until the SIM card tray pops out.
3. Remove the tray and take out the SIM card.
4. Open your new iPhone’s SIM card tray and place your old iPhone’s SIM card into it, then slide the tray back in until it clicks.
You can slide your old iPhone’s now-empty SIM card tray back inside of it, too. It’ll still work even without a SIM card — you just won’t be able to make calls or send SMS text messages.
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