How to transfer the content of your old iPhone to the iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c

42 Comments

Credit: Apple

If you already own an iPhone(s aapl) and you’re planning to upgrade to the iPhone 5s or the iPhone 5c, you probably want to carry your old data and settings along with you. Thankfully, there are two fairly easy ways to do this.

If your soon-to-be-old phone is running iOS 5 or later and you have an iCloud account, use iCloud. It’ll let you store your data and settings in the cloud, then wirelessly beam it back down to your new phone. If you’re running on older version of iOS or you don’t have access to a solid wireless internet connection to back up your data with iCloud, then iTunes is the way to go. It’ll still let you keep your old data and settings, but requires you to use a cable and transfer everything through iTunes.

And if you’ve decided that you’re just going to stick to your old phone for the time being, but you want to freshen it up with iOS 7, check out how to prepare your iOS 6 device for the iOS 7 update.

Note: If possible, do not turn on your new phone until you’ve taken the steps to back up your old one. If you’ve already activated your device and set it up as a new phone, you can tap on Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings to restore it to factory settings. Just keep in mind this will erase all of the content and settings on your phone.

iCloud login

iCloud

  1. Tap on Settings > iCloud > Storage and Backup. Make sure iCloud Backup is switched to on.
  2. When connected to both a power source and Wi-Fi, iCloud will automatically back your phone up once a day. To trigger it to back up manually, tap Back Up Now. (Note that you will need to be connected to a power source and Wi-Fi.)
  3. Once you’re all backed up, turn on your new phone and complete the setup assistant. When you reach the screen that says Set Up iPhone, choose “Restore from iCloud Backup” and select the backup of your old phone you wish to use. Note that you will need to know your Apple ID and password in order to do this.
  4. Wait until your phone has been fully restored before you use it. It will restart when ready.
  5. Connect your phone to iTunes to sync any data that wasn’t stored in your backup (like apps, music and video). You can check which data is synced through the syncing tabs in iTunes.
  6. Once backed up, you will still need to provide passwords for your email and voicemail, along with other synced accounts.
iTunes

iTunes

  1. Make sure you have the latest version of iTunes installed on your computer, and the most recent version of iOS installed on your phone.
  2. Connect your phone to your computer using a USB cable. Click the File menu in iTunes, then select Devices > Back Up, and click on Back Up Now.
  3. To make sure the backup is complete, open the iTunes Preferences menu and click on the Devices tab. The name of your phone and the time of backup should appear. Once verified, disconnect the phone from your computer.
  4. Once you’re all backed up, turn on your new phone and complete the setup assistant. When you reach the screen that says Set Up iPhone, choose “Restore from iTunes Backup” and select the backup of your old phone you wish to use.
  5. Connect your new phone to iTunes, select the backup of your old phone, and click Continue.
  6. Wait until your phone has been fully restored before you use it. It will restart when ready.
  7. Keep your phone connected to iTunes to sync any data that wasn’t stored in your backup (like apps, music and video). You can check which data is synced through the syncing tabs in iTunes.
  8. Once backed up, you will still need to provide passwords for your email and voicemail, along with other synced accounts.

42 Comments

Vika

I’ve tried the process through ITunes a few times and while it shows that everything is synced in Itunes nothing shows on my Ihone 5C:( My previous phone is 3G. Anyone can help?

sophia10wright

yayy .. i am finally shifting to my new iphone :D
Nice article there !

Nic

I lost wifi & Bluetooth on my iPhone 4 when I did the iOS 6 update in May. I just purchased the new 5s & restoring from iTunes will only give me my messages, photos, apps, contacts up until May. Everything through now is not transferring. My music hasn’t transferred either. Is there any way to get those apps back and updated messages & contacts?? Also do I have to drag each song to new iPhone in iTunes? I’m going crazy between 2 phones using my apps on both!!

Alex Colon

Are you restoring your new phone from the latest backup? When you’re choosing the backup in iTunes, make sure you’re using the most recent one. (Or you can try backing up your old phone again, so you know exactly which version to restore from.)

Lisa

I followed the steps to restore my old phone which was backed up in icloud to a new phone and it didnt work. Unfortunately, the att guy set my new phone up as a “new phone”. So I had to erase all settings. After I did that I went to icloud and did a back up on the new phone as described in this article. I was expecting it to restore everything. I got a few photos and all my music, but no apps and no camera pics. I checked all of my icloud settings and they appear to be correct. Any ideas about how to get my new phone restored from a good icloud backup?

Charli M

Will the notes on my previous iPhone be transferred across to my new one?

Emac

Trying to work out if I should update to IOS7 on my Iphone 4 before changing over to my new 5S, or just leave the old phone on the old IOS? Any advice?

Pam

I just did this and it seemed to work except it did not transfer over a TON of photos and video. What now?

Ivet

My text messages from my old iPhone 4S didn’t transfer to my new iPhone 5s. I did back everything up through iCloud. Can anybody help?

Guest1

how hours did it take to sync using icloud? i am going on 1 hour and 30 mins now

marci

I’m having a terrible time! I’ve had every version of the iphone and never had a problem. I can’t get my apps moved over to the new iphone 5s – I’ve done the back up and the restore, everything suggested here, i even downloaded the leawo app until I realized it’s only for PC – I’m on Mac. Any ideas before I spend the night downloading 30 apps and loosing all my data?? thanks!

Alex Colon

Try this: When you connect your old phone to iTunes, click File > Devices > Transfer Purchases from “your iPhone”

That’ll transfer the apps to your computer. Then, when you connect your new phone, make sure to transfer the apps after you restore from your back up.

Flash

I was able to restore everything from icloud to my new computer but later had an issue with one app that I ended up deleting from my phone. Is there a way to download just that app from icloud to my iphone? It looks like I can only delete it from icloud.

Flash

brian

if i back up from icloud or ii tunes will it sync all the other data with it, or just my music and contacts??

Isabel

i already restored my back up but i had 3,000+ pictures but now i only have 900 pictures on my phone. why??????? :'(

Molly

Apps didn’t transfer… followed all instructions perfectly. How do I get my apps? Help!

Phil

After using the restore from backup on iTunes, I got everything except my ringtones, I went to sync with iTunes, it said it will erase all content because it was synced on another computer. What do I do?

cloudfuze8

CloudFuze is the ultimate app to manage multiple cloud storage services over multiple devices.With CloudFuze you can sync multiple accounts of Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, SugarSync and FTP at one point and access Over IOS mobile devices.

http://www.cloudfuze.com/

Josh

Whenever you backup to the iCloud, does this save text messages at all? We purchased the new 5c but didn’t do a full backup to our computer recently. So, we’re attempting to find a way to restore our text messages, if that’s possible. Great post!

David

It restored mine. I used icloud to backup iphone 4s and restored it to iphone 5s. It has restored everything except my camera roll, photo folders from computer, and music.
Although now it has been several hours and it says it is not complete yet. It seems like it is all finished, I have access to everything.

bob

Will this keep all game data/progress (using the itunes way)? I set-up my 4 from a 3GS backup and only the core things were copied over (messages, phone numbers etc)… I don’t know what I did wrong…

Cheers

sam

is there a way i can back up just a few things and not everything off my previous phone?

Becky

I can’t find the Setup Assistant. They did it at the store but my info didn’t download. How to I get to the Setup Assistant to try it again?

James

wow, Excellent post. I will surely transfer data of my old phone to new one :D
Thanks for the great post ;)

Bruce

Probably not at all, so the wise course of action is not to put “in the cloud” anything you don’t want the NSA to see. You know, like your instructions on how to make an atomic bomb, or the contact information for your fellow operatives in Al Qaeda.

David

It doesn’t matter if it’s in the iCloud or not… they can see it right on your phone if they want to.

Kay

Haha yes and now they will have all of our fingerprints as well! I do wonder if the fingerprint thing will help with iphone theft

Comments are closed.