Wondering how to switch your iPhones without losing the most valuable information? This guide covers all the points you need to know on how to transfer data from one iPhone to another.
Goal: transfer data to new iPhone.
Resources: one old iPhone and one new iPhone.
Solution: back up your old iPhone and restore it to the new one.
Here is a brief overview of what we are going to do to switch iPhones:
- Step 1. Back up your old iPhone
- Step 2. Turn off your old iPhone
- Step 3. Turn on your new device
- Step 4. Restore your new iPhone from the backup
How to transfer data from one iPhone to another
You are sure to be faced with a number of questions before we learn how to switch iPhones:
- I don’t want to cram my new iPhone with all the data from my old iPhone. I want to transfer data from one iPhone to another selectively. But iTunes and iCloud can’t do that. What should I do?
- How to transfer music from iPhone to iPhone? Restoring from iCloud or iTunes backup doesn’t do that.
- How to transfer apps from iPhone to iPhone? Again, iCloud and iTunes are of little help.
In a nutshell, switching iPhones is done in 4 steps:
- Back up your old iPhone.
- Turn off your old iPhone.
- Turn on your new device.
- Restore a new iPhone from the backup you made.
To transfer data to new iPhone you can use:
- a third-party app (like CopyTrans Shelbee)
We have prepared a little summary of all the methods that prove helpful in switching iPhones:
|🖥️ iTunes||⭐CopyTrans Shelbee||☁️ iCloud|
|Requirements||iPhone and lightning cable,
uses PC space
|iPhone and lightning cable,
uses PC space
|iPhone and Wi-Fi,
uses iCloud space
(with latest changes)
*you can’t choose the type of backup
*choose the type of backup
|Backup passwords, Wi-Fi settings, browsing history||✔️
*backup should be encrypted
*backup should be encrypted
|Backup apps in .ipa format||❌||✔️||❌|
|Custom restore (only photos, only messages, etc.)||❌||✔️||❌|
|Restore apps which are no longer on the App Store||❌||✔️
**the apps should be backed up before removal
To sum up: iCloud and iTunes are both suitable methods to switch iPhones, but only if you have a brand new device. They don’t have a selective restore feature: so, all the data on the iPhone will be replaced with that from the backup. If you already have some data on your new iPhone and you would rather not lose it – our advice is to to use CopyTrans Shelbee instead.
Step 1. Back up your old iPhone
Make sure you back up your iPhone on the day of the transfer so that you do not lose any recent changes.
There is more than one way to back up your iPhone. We described all of them in detail in our article “How to back up your iPhone”:
- Back up with iTunes (on a Windows PC, in Mac OS Mojave or earlier):
👍 it is free; iTunes doesn’t store your data on a remote server;
👎 iTunes restore will overwrite all iPhone data; can’t restore apps.
- Back up with iCloud:
👍 automatically encrypts your backup, ensuring data safety.
👎 requires a Wi-Fi connection; your data will be stored on the Apple servers; restoring from iCloud overwrites all iPhone data; iCloud backup doesn’t include the data that are synced to iCloud; you only have 5 Gb of free storage. If you need more, you have to pay.
- Back up with CopyTrans Shelbee (for Windows users only):
👍 doesn’t store your data on a remote server; automatically encrypts your backup and lets you validate the password; you can select data types to restore; can restore apps that are no longer on the AppStore (provided that you backed them up when they still were); one of the lowest prices on the market (here’s the store).
👎 paid software with a trial mode (backing up is possible in trial mode if you uncheck the “save the apps” box – we only allow that in full mode).
Remember: while you are backing up to iCloud, don’t interrupt the transfer or switch off Wi-Fi connection until the backup is complete. If you are backing with iTunes or CopyTrans Shelbee — don’t touch your cable or disconnect the device until the backup finishes.
For MacOS Catalina users: don’t panic if you can’t find iTunes on your Mac. In this OS, you will need to use the Finder app instead of iTunes.
The Finder app icon looks like this:
To back up your iPhone with the help of this little guy, do the following:
- Connect your device to Mac.
- Click on the Finder App.
- Select your device on the left side of the Finder App.
- Click on “General”.
- Select where you want the backup to be placed: on your Mac or in iCloud. To protect your data with a password, tick the checkbox next to “Encrypt local backup”.
- Click on “Back up now”
Step 2. Turn off your old iPhone
Before turning off your old iPhone:
- Prepare your Apple ID and password. You will be prompted to enter your credentials.
- Unpair your Apple Watch: once you unpair your Apple watch, it will be backed up automatically with all your health data.
Turn off your old device. If you have a SIM card you want to use, you can switch that from your old iPhone to the new one now.
Step 3. Turn on your new device
Turn on and set up your new iPhone over a Wi-Fi connection. You can read more about how to set up a new iPhone from the Apple support article.
You’ll be asked whether you want to set up your iPhone as a new device or restore it from a backup. If you choose the latter option, select either “restore from iCloud” or “restore from Mac or PC” and follow the instructions to get the data onto your new iPhone.
You can also leave restoring from a local backup (made with iTunes or CopyTrans Shelbee) for later. Just select “Don’t transfer Apps and Data” upon startup and then restore your iPhone following guides described in the next section.
Step 4. Restore your new iPhone from the backup
There are several methods you can use to restore your iPhone when switching iPhones. We described all of these methods in our article How to restore iPhone. Just click on the link you are interested in: they contain detailed guides for each restore method and their pros and cons.
- Restore iPhone from iTunes
👍 It’s free;
👎 Overwrites all iPhone data; Can’t restore apps.
- Restore from iCloud
👍 Restores WhatsApp;
👎 Overwrites all iPhone data; Requires a Wi-Fi connection; Can’t restore apps and data that are already stored in iCloud.
- Restore without iTunes (CopyTrans Shelbee)
👍 Doesn’t require Internet connection; You can select the data type to restore; Can restore apps, even if they are no longer on the AppStore
👎 Not free, but has a trial mode; one of the lowest prices on the market.
How to transfer data to new iPhone selectively
Imagine a situation: you bought an iPhone and have been using it for a while. You have taken some cool photos and got some important messages. Now it is time to transfer data from one iPhone to another. Restoring with iCloud or iTunes will completely overwrite the data, which means goodbye to the new photos and messages.
To avoid this, use CopyTrans Shelbee: it has a custom restore feature. You can select the types of data to transfer to your new iPhone.
With CopyTrans Shelbee, you can choose which type of data you want to restore. Here’s how to do it:
- Download CopyTrans Shelbee from the following page:Download CopyTrans Shelbee
- Click on “Custom Restore”.
- Click on the pencil icon to select the backup with the data you need.
- Once you have chosen the backup, click on “Next”.
- Wait until the loading process finishes.
- Select the data type (or types) for restore. For example you can choose to restore contacts only. Just select “Contacts”, then click on “Next”. You will also be offered to restore calendars, notes, WhatsApp etc., in the same way.
- Press “Next”. Please note that the data you selected will be overwritten. This way, if you restore contacts, the old contact set will be replaced with that from the backup.
- Next you will be asked to choose the directory to back up your device: we save it in case something goes wrong during Custom restore. Select the destination and click on “Start”.
- Wait until the restore process finishes.
- That’s it! Your device will now restart.
How to transfer apps from iPhone to iPhone?
You will not be able to transfer your apps from iPhone to iPhone using iCloud or iTunes. If you need to migrate them, CopyTrans Shelbee will come to rescue.
Follow this simple step-by-step guide to transfer your apps: How to transfer iPhone apps to another iPhone.
How to switch iPhones without backup: Quick start
Starting from iOS 11, you will be offered a new option upon initial iPhone startup: Quick Start. It is very similar to iCloud restore, only it saves you time and effort. All you need is to place the older and newer iPhones next to each other, ensuring they have a stable Wi-Fi connection.
Learn how to use Quick Start.
Note: both of your devices should run iOS 11 or later.
How to transfer music from iPhone to iPhone?
You will not be able to transfer music from iPhone to iPhone using any of the above methods.
But you can easily accomplish that with our programs, CopyTrans and CopyTrans Manager.
Here is how to transfer your music between devices:
Not all my photos were transferred to my new iPhone. What to do?
The methods above will help you transfer the photos that are part of the Camera Roll. However, if you have iCloud Photos enabled on your device, the originals of your images may be stored in Cloud. In such case, you will need to get them from iCloud directly:
This is how to switch iPhones. We hope that the guide was helpful to you when transferring data to new iPhone. Which method to transfer data from one iPhone to another is the most convenient to you? Let us know in the comments section below.