How to Migrate to New iPhone XR, X from Old iPhone with iTunes (the Fast Way)
Did you get a new iPhone XR or iPhone X and now you want to migrate all of your data and stuff from an older iPhone to the new iPhone XR, iPhone X, or iPhone X? It’s easy to migrate everything from an old iPhone to a brand new iPhone X-series and transfer all of your data with you. This walkthrough will show how to get all data over from an old iPhone to the new iPhone X, XS, XR, in the fastest manner possible.
It’s worth mentioning there are actually a few ways to transfer data from an old iPhone to a new iPhone XR, XS, X, each method requires making a backup of the old device which is then restore to the new iPhone X. While you can use iCloud backups and restore if you’d like to, our focus here is going to be on using iTunes backups and iTunes restore, because for many users it will be the fastest way to get a new iPhone X setup successfully with all of their old data onto the new phone.
How to Migrate All Data to New iPhone X, XR, from an Old iPhone with iTunes
The tutorial here is going to walk through migrating all data from an iPhone 7 Plus to a new iPhone X by using iTunes and a computer. This is demonstrated on a Mac with iTunes, but the process is identical on a Windows PC with iTunes.
- Connect the old iPhone to a computer with a USB cable
- Launch iTunes on the computer and then select the connected old iPhone by clicking on the tiny iPhone button near the top of the iTunes window
- Under the Summary section, select “This Computer” and click on “Encrypt iPhone Backup”*, then choose to “Back Up Now” **
- Let the backup process of the old iPhone to iTunes complete
- Now pick up your brand new iPhone X and go through the onscreen setup steps on the device
- When you get to the “Apps & Data” screen, choose “Restore from iTunes Backup” and then connect the new iPhone X to the computer with iTunes
- At the iTunes “Welcome to Your New iPhone” screen, choose “Restore from this backup:” and select the backup you just made of the old iPhone to iTunes, then click “Continue”
- Let the Restoring iPhone from backup process complete, it may take a while – in the example here a 128GB iPhone with nearly full storage took about an hour to restore from an iTunes backup
- When restoration from backup is complete, pickup the iPhone X and complete the setup steps
Note that new versions of iTunes (from 12.7 onward) will not restore apps from iTunes, and instead will download the apps again from the App Store during the restore process. You can get around that by using an alternate version of iTunes with App Store support, but it seems inevitable for Apple to do away with app support in iTunes in the near future.
That’s it. You’re ready to use your new iPhone X, XR, XS, or iPhone XS Max, the new iPhone X will have everything your old iPhone had on it. All contacts, files, photos, movies, pictures, gifs, messages, apps, app data, health data, step counts and mileage tracking, everything will have successfully migrated over, assuming you completed the steps properly.
* It’s important to choose to “Encrypt iPhone backup” when the backup is made to the computer via iTunes so that passwords, logins, health data, email login details, account data, and other info are backed up as well. iCloud backups are always encrypted by default. Do not forget the iTunes encrypted backup password, otherwise your backups will be inaccessible.
* You can backup the old iPhone with iCloud instead if you’d like to, but if you have a very large backup or tons of pictures, movies, then using iTunes with a USB connection between iPhone and a computer is going to be much faster for both backing up and restoring. There are some exceptions to this with those who have access to true first-world quality ultrafast broadband internet service, but if you are using one of the notoriously sluggish monopoly internet providers that are pervasive in the USA then it will take you a genuinely absurd amount of time to both make a large backup to iCloud and restore a large backup using iCloud. Just use iTunes, it will be much faster.
What about migrating data to the new iPhone X using iCloud?
You can absolutely use a fresh iCloud backup and iCloud restore to migrate everything from an old iPhone to a new iPhone X, the process is basically the same as the above method except you will choose to backup to iCloud, and then restore iPhone X from that iCloud backup.
Using iCloud to migrate rather than iTunes is entirely up to you, but perhaps the most important factor when using iCloud is the speed and reliability of your internet connection. iCloud Restore works very well, but to complete in a reasonable time frame requires either a relatively small device backup, or an extraordinarily fast and reliable internet connection.
Be aware that using the iCloud restore process can take an unreasonable amount of time to complete however. For example, using iCloud to restore my old 128 GB iPhone Plus backup to the new iPhone X was estimated to take a whopping 45 hours using a standard American broadband connection (despite creating the internet, the USA has notoriously slow and expensive broadband compared to the developed world, hooray). If you’re in a major US tech hub with lightning speed fiber broadband, using iCloud may be a reasonable option for you. For me personally, the decision to wait 1 hour by using iTunes restore versus 45 hours by using iCloud restore when setting up new iPhone X was not exactly a challenging decision to make; iTunes it is.
Sidenote: The iPhone X also has a new optional “Quick Start” setup and transfer process which uses iCloud backups and requires both devices be on iOS 11.0 or later, but as discussed already, the iTunes method is typically the fastest way to get a new device restored with your old iPhone data, which is why we’re focusing on iTunes.
Can I migrate from Android to iPhone X?
Yes, Apple makes migrating from Android phones to iPhone X easy as well, but the steps are different. You can follow this tutorial on migrating from Android to iPhone if your old phone is an Android and you want to move to iOS. The process is entirely different than outlined above and does not use iTunes, instead it relies on an app downloaded to the Android app and a migration assistant on the iPhone to complete the task. Learn more here if that interests you.