5 easy steps to transfer files and settings from an old iPhone to a new iPhone

Transfer your iPhone photos, videos and contacts with this step-by-step guide.

Katie Teague Writer II
Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
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You've finally updated your iPhone to a newer version, but once you get home, you realize you need to transfer all of your content, including contacts, photos and apps. That can be a nightmare, especially if you're not sure what you're doing.

Switching all your content from an old phone to a new one may seem daunting, but there are some straightforward steps you can follow to make it easier. Use this helpful guide to walk you through transferring your information to your new iOS device.

Back up your information

Before you do anything else, make sure your information from your old phone is backed up to iCloud or iTunes on your Mac or PC. You don't want to accidentally delete information and never see it again.


Backup your iPhone before you do anything else.

Screenshot by Katie Conner/CNET

Read: Back up: How to prepare for your new iPhone

Set up your new iPhone

Step 1: Make sure you're connected to Wi-Fi and that your Bluetooth is turned on for both your old and new devices.

Step 2: Turn on your new iPhone (or iPad ) and bring your two gadgets together (the new one and the old one). The Quick Start screen will ask if you'd like to use your Apple ID to set up your new device. Tap continue.

Step 3: Hold your current iPhone over the new device. A message will appear on the new device that says "Finish."

Step 4: You'll be prompted to enter your current device's passcode on your new iPhone or iPad. After that, you'll set up Touch ID for the iPhone 8 or an iPad, or Face ID for the iPhone X , XS or XS Max . Next, enter your Apple ID password.

Step 5: When your phone prompts you, restore your apps, data and settings from your latest iCloud backup by selecting the latest backup date. You won't be able to use either device at this time, so make sure you do this when you don't need your phone for 10-15 minutes.

Voila! Your new iOS device is set up.

The finishing touches

Now that you've gone through the process of transferring the contents of your old iPhone to your new iPhone, you'll want to make sure all of your contacts and photos correctly transferred over to your new iPhone. You'll have to log in to iTunes and the App Store to redownload music or podcasts that didn't transfer.

You may need to re-enter passwords for your email accounts, so go to settings and tap on Passwords & Accounts. From there you will be able to see your email accounts, so tap on each one and enter your password.

If you have issues using this method to transfer your content, you can back up your old phone to iTunes on your Mac or PC. Then you can plug your new iPhone into the computer and restore the backup. Follow these steps to back up with iTunes.

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