How to Migrate Everything from an Old iPhone to iPhone 6
The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6 Plus are now in the wild, so whether you got yours from an Apple Store, retailer, or a UPS delivery truck, you’re probably looking to move everything from your old phone to the shiny new one. That means all of your apps, pictures, movies, settings, and customizations that are on the old iPhone will be on the new iPhone just as they were, letting you pick up exactly where you left off and not miss a beat.
Migrating between iPhones is incredibly simple, so whether this is your first time or you’ve done this a dozen times before, you’ll find it just as easy. You can pick one of two ways to do this, either through iCloud or with iTunes. If you have a computer handy, iTunes is usually faster, but iCloud is incredibly easy and quite speedy too.
First, Back Up the Old iPhone
The first thing you’ll want to do is create a new fresh back up of your old iPhone so that you can migrate everything over and pickup the new iPhone exactly where you left off. You’ll need to do this regardless of whether you go the iCloud or iTunes route to migrate your stuff. Backing up is simple, we’ll review it quickly:
Backing up to a Computer with iTunes
You’ll want to be sure you have the most recent version of iTunes to do this, but it works on a Mac or a Windows PC:
- Connect the old iPhone to a computer with a USB cable and launch iTunes
- Choose to “Back Up Now” (strongly recommended: enable backup encryption first*) and let the backup complete
* Be sure to enable backup encryption in iTunes if you want your passwords to be backed up and restored as well as health data. If you don’t encrypt the backup, no passwords or health data gets backed up!
The iTunes method is usually quite fast because it’s transferring data over USB. If you have a slower internet connection, this is the way to go.
Backing up to Apple with iCloud
This starts a manual backup of the iPhone to iCloud, you’ll obviously need iCloud and an Apple ID setup on the iPhone to do this, which if you have an iOS device, you almost certainly do:
- Open the Settings app on the iPhone and go to “iCloud”
- Choose “Backup” (older iOS versions call it “Storage & Backup”), and then tap on “Back Up Now” and let the entire backup finish
iCloud usually takes a little longer since it’s uploading everything to iCloud servers and is dependent on your internet connection speed. For those with fast connections, it’s quick. If you’re on a slow internet connection, it’s probably best to use iTunes instead.
Regardless of which method you used to backup the old iPhone, when it’s done, carry on.
Use iTunes to Migrate Everything Over to the New iPhone
iTunes is often quicker to transfer things because it’s all handled locally, and doesn’t have to download or upload anything over the internet as iCloud does. If you’re in a hurry or have a large storage iPhone, this is often the way to go.
Note that you can either restore the iPhone with iTunes upon initial setup or at any other time, so don’t worry about resetting it to factory settings to make things easy.
During Initial iPhone 6 Setup
- On the new iPhone 6, complete the initial Setup Assistant process
- At the “Set up your iPhone” screen, choose “Restore from iTunes Backup” and connect the iPhone 6 to a computer with a USB cable
- Select the newest backup to restore, then finish the setup as usual
From iTunes app
- Launch iTunes (if you closed it) and connect the new iPhone 6 to the computer with a USB cable
- Select the iPhone and from the Summary tab, click on “Restore Backup…”
- Select the most recently made backup from the old iPhone to restore and confirm
Quick note about differentiating multiple iOS backups: if you’re not entirely sure which backup to use because they’re named the same, you can identify them with this hover trick.
As already mentioned, migrating iPhones with iTunes is quite fast, but since it requires a computer it may be less convenient than iCloud for some users.
Use iCloud to Migrate Everything to the New iPhone 6
If you’ve already started playing around with the iPhone 6 before restoring it from the iCloud backup, you’ll want to go back to the initial setup screen so that you can restore from the backup. This is easy, just reset to factory default settings on the iPhone through the Settings app.
- Go through the initial Setup Assistant process, choose to enable features like Find My iPhone and Location Services
- At the “Set up your iPhone” screen, choose “Restore from iCloud Backup”
- Select the fresh backup you just made and let the process complete
- Finish the setup process as usual
That’s it, all of your old stuff has been moved over to the new iPhone 6, enjoy!
Before getting too crazy you’ll probably want to confirm that everything is there, take a quick look at your Photos app, other apps, Contacts, etc. Restoring from backups is generally flawless, so unless you somehow selected the wrong backup to restore to, you should be good to go.
Whichever way you go, everything will be migrated over to your new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, so enjoy your new iPhone! What you do with your old iPhone is up to you, but gifting it is a great choice, or you could always sell it too.