It’s exciting to get a new phone, and when that box comes to your door or you pick it up from the store, it’s natural to want to go through the setup process without paying much attention to what’s on the screen is requested. However, it’s worth taking an extra minute or two to set up your new iPhone 12 just the way you want it.
Apple gives you several options to choose from during setup, ranging from setting the phone as brand new – that is, no settings, messages, apps, or accounts being transferred – to restoring your device from an iCloud backup up, with a few options in between.
Below, I’ll show you three different methods to restore your phone from a recent backup of your current iPhone. If you’re moving from Android, there’s even a tool for you.
Restore your iPhone 12 from an iCloud backup
The easiest and fastest method to set up your new iPhone 12 is to restore from a recent iCloud backup. While going through the initial setup process, tap Recover from iCloud backup, sign in with your Apple ID, then choose the most recent backup of your old iPhone.
If the backup is more than a day or two old, I recommend (and your new phone may suggest this too) to take a few extra minutes to create a fresh backup.
Open the Settings app on your old phone, then tap your name at the top of the screen. Then select iCloud > iCloud backup > Back up now.
Once that’s done, go back to your new iPhone and select the backup you just created as the backup you want to restore from.
Your phone will then restore your settings and preferences and you will be able to use it in about 15 minutes while the download of your installed apps is complete.
After everything is restored, you will need to sign in again to any accounts you’ve added to your phone, go through your apps and make sure you’re still signed in.
Use Apple’s direct transfer method
During the installation process, you will be asked if you want to transfer apps and information directly from your old iPhone to your new one. This feature was first rolled out with iOS 12.4, so if it’s been a few years since you upgraded phones, this is the first time you’ve seen the option.
The tool is easy to use. Make sure you have both phones, preferably plugged in and charged to ensure that the battery doesn’t run out, has a Wi-Fi connection, and enough time to complete the process. In my case, it took over an hour to transfer everything from my iPhone 11 Pro Max to the iPhone 12 Pro.
The more information you have on your phone, such as photos in your camera roll, the longer it will take. When the transfer starts, the phones will show you an estimated time. Every time I’ve used this tool, that estimate was accurate within minutes. It’s worth taking the time if you’re not using Apple’s iCloud service to back up your phone.
Read our more in-depth walkthrough to learn more.
Use a Mac or PC to transfer your data to an iPhone 12
The method that I personally use with any new iPhone is to restore from an encrypted backup with a Mac or PC. Not only does this process transfer all of your apps, settings and preferences, but it also means you don’t have to log into the myriad of apps you have on your phone.
Before using this method, you must create an encrypted backup of your current iPhone. I know this may sound intimidating or overly complicated, but it just means you have to check an extra box and enter a password.
On a Mac, use Finder to back up your old iPhone. We outlined the steps when Apple killed iTunes last year, make sure to check out the Encrypt the backup box and enter a password that you can remember when prompted. Let your Mac get to work and create a backup file. It will let you know when it is ready.
On a PC, you have to use iTunes (it isn’t all the way dead) to back up. That process is explained here, and again, you need to make sure it’s Encrypt the backup is checked and enter a password.
To restore your new phone, open Finder or iTunes and connect your phone to your computer. Click Trust when prompted and follow the instructions, and select the backup you just created to restore your phone with. You must enter the backup password before the process begins – so don’t forget it!
When it’s done, your new phone will be an exact copy of your old phone and you won’t have to spend time signing into apps or random accounts.
Android user? This app is your answer
Apple doesn’t have many Android apps in the Google Play Store, but Move to iOS is one of them. This free app connects your Android phone to a new iPhone and allows you to transfer the most important information from one phone to another.
as well as some caveats, such as the fact that it doesn’t transfer locally stored music or PDF files.
Regardless of the process you use to set up your new phone, you’re sure to get giddy with excitement as you explore what it can do. And because iOS 14.1 is installed out-of-the-box, we are here for you. Of a, to some of the , to the – there is plenty to learn.