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How to Back Up Old iPhone before Upgrading to a New iPhone

Elena Spencer Updated on Apr 15, 2022 4:15 PM

Moving from iPhone XS Max with iOS 13.1 to 11 Pro Max. How do I move to a newer phone that had the older release software? Does the iPhone 11 Pro Max come with 13 or 13.1? If 13.1, what will be the procedure for an upgrade?

So you're upgrading to the new iPhone (11, 11 Pro 11 Pro Max, 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max or newer). Awesome! And with them comes something much more exciting: the new iOS (13, 14, or later). You probably unbox the device and start it with a clean slate, but take your time and do a little prep first - if you want to make absolutely sure that you don't leave anything on the current iPhone behind.

It's actually pretty simple when it comes to transferring data from previous iPhone to the new iPhone. The upgrading task includes four transfer methods: transfer data through previous iCloud backup, transfer data via a backup in iTunes or Finder on the computer, use direct data transfer tool without erasing the new device, and use Quick Start to move all data in the initial setup process. Here's how to set up a brand new iPhone the right way, step by step. Backups are essentials before an upgrade to new iPhone or iPad.

Tip: If you have an Apple Watch and you make the switch to the new iPhone, you need to unpair it from your previous device. This will automatically back up the Apple Watch and you can restore it once you pair with a newer iPhone.

How to Back Up an iPhone Before an Upgrade

Before you're upgrading to a new iPhone, first, select a method to back up the current iPhone. [Also Read: Transfer data from your previous iOS device to your new iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch]

Back Up iPhone with iCloud

One effective method for backing up current iPhone is using iCloud. Before the backup process, make sure you have enough available space in iCloud server for storing the backup. All iCloud accounts only get 5GB of free storage. If you need more space, you can to upgrade to a larger storage plan, starting from a total of 50GB, 200GB, to 2TB.

On the bright side, you can determine what data is included in the iCloud backup to transfer onto new iPhone once upgraded. Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud, then enable any apps that you want to back up. This will be helpful if want to decrease the size of the backup so you don't have to shell out some extra cash. Now, to back up data with iCloud on the old iPhone:

  • Make sure you're connected to a Wi-Fi network.
  • Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud.
  • Tap iCloud Backup.
  • Tap Back Up Now.

How to Upgrade to a New iPhone without Losing Data

When the process completes, you could check the date and the time of the backup you just made under Back Up Now. You could also attempt to let iCloud automatically back up your device - as long as you enable iCloud Backup, connect to Wi-Fi network and a power source.

Backing Up iPhone with iTunes or Finder

Another method to back up iPhone before upgrading to a new iPhone is to use iTunes or Finder in macOS 10.15 Catalina. Enabling Encrypt local backup option is a wise move. If you encrypt the backup, you're able to restore all Activity, Health, and Keychain data over when upgrading to the new phone.

  • Connect your old phone to the computer.
  • Open Finder or iTunes.
  • Locate your device on the window.
  • If you want to save Health and Activity Data, check the box "Encrypt local backup" and create a password.
  • Click Back Up Now.

Wait for iTunes backup process to complete. You can then view the last backup date and time in the Last backup on this [your computer] field.

How to Transfer Backup to Your New Device

Once you've backed your data up with iCloud or iTunes or Finder, it's time to restore the backup to the new phone. Yes, it should be that simple - and the iOS Setup Assistant will guide you through the setup process every time you upgrade to a new iPhone. You can't do a partial restore on the device, that is, all data and settings are transferred over.

We'll also cover a direct transferring tool that you can take to transfer files between two iPhones. This saves you the hassle to make a fresh backup of your current iPhone before upgrading.

Restore from iCloud Backup

Use iCloud to transfer data and purchased content from previous iPhone to the new iPhone. Before proceeding with the process, erase your device if you've already set it up, through Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.

  • Turn on your new phone.
  • When prompted, join a Wi-Fi network and stay connected.
  • Follow the steps until you see the Apps & Data screen, and tap "Restore from iCloud Backup".
  • Sign in to iCloud with your Apple ID and password.
  • Choose the backup that is associated with the old device.
  • Wait for the restore process to complete.

How Do I Transfer Everything from One iPhone to Another

Restore from iTunes Backup

Use iTunes or Finder to transfer data and purchased content from previous iPhone to the new iPhone. If you've already set up your device, erase it completely.

  • Turn on your new phone.
  • Follow the steps until you see the Apps & Data screen, and tap "Restore from Mac or PC".
  • Connect your new device to the computer that you used to back up the previous one.
  • Open iTunes or Finder on your computer, and locate your device.
  • Select Restore Backup to restore the older data .

Use the Direct Transfer Software

Most users may stick to transferring iCloud backup or iTunes backup to the new upgraded iPhone, but there's an even more intuitive way to make the big switch. You don't have to back up the previous device before you get a new phone. Phone Transfer is a good option—plug the two phones to the computer, select files from the scanning results and copy everything across in a direct manner. It's able to copy contacts, messages, calendar, photos, music, and videos, except the Apps and settings. The program also works for basic backups.

Download Now!

for Windows | for MacOS

Pro Tip: The software saves you a lot of trouble if you want to keep all data on the new iPhone - the process will not wipe off any data generated on the device.

  • Open the utility.
  • Click Phone to Phone Transfer
  • Plug both iPhones to computer. Make sure the new iPhone is on the "Destination" position.
  • Check the types of files you wish to transfer.
  • Hit Start Copy.

All files should be transferred over to the new iPhone. It's all that easy!

Back Up Old iPhone Before Upgrading to a New iPhone

Use Quick Start (or iPhone Migration)

If your current iPhone is already running iOS 11 or later, you could use Quick Start to automatically set up a new device. In case both devices are using iOS 12.4 or later, use the iPhone Migration to transfer all your data wireless from your current iPhone to your new one.

For general information about using Quick Start or device-to-device migration to set up new iPhone, see the following: Use Quick Start to transfer data to a new iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

Use device-to-device migration should your current iPhone is in iOS 12.4 or later and is ready to upgrade to the new phone:

  • Turn on your new iPhone and place it near your older device. The Quick Start screen should appear on the old phone and prompt you to use your Apple ID to set up your new device.
  • Wait for the Quick Start authentication pattern to show up on your new device. Point old phone's camera to authenticate using the pattern.
  • Enter your passcode on new device and set up Face ID or Touch ID.
  • Tap Transfer from iPhone to begin transferring everything from old phone to new phone.

Keep the two phones near each other and plugged into the power, and wait until the iPhone data migration process is finished.

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