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Home / Tips and Tricks / Buy iPhone 12? Here are four ways to set up your new phone

Buy iPhone 12? Here are four ways to set up your new phone



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The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are two beautiful devices.

Patrick Holland / CNET

Apples iPhone 12 lineup is the most diverse line of iPhones we’ve seen by the company. Of the iPhone 12 Minis compact size, the iPhone 12 and 12 Pros high review score for the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s huge screen and battery – there’s an iPhone for everyone. And now that all four models are finally on sale, that’s a no-brainer prepare your old phone for the switch.

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.

Apple offers 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.

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You get quite a few different options when setting up your new phone.

Jason Cipriani / CNET

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 an extra few 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 made as the backup you want to restore from.

Your phone will then restore your settings and preferences and you can use it in about 15 minutes while the download of your installed apps is complete.

Once everything is restored, you will need to re-sign in to all the accounts you added to your phone, go through your apps and make sure you’re still signed in.

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Apple’s data transfer tool allows you to skip iCloud backups.

Jason Cipriani / CNET

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 the battery doesn’t run out, a Wi-Fi connection, and plenty of time to complete the process. It took, in my case, 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. Each 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 walk-through to learn more.

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Before clicking Back up now, check the Encryption box.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

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 in to the myriad of apps you have on your phone.

Before you can use 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, then 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.

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Apple has created an Android app called Move To iOS that allows you to easily move your messages, photos, videos and more from an Android phone to an iPhone.

Patrick Holland / CNET

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.

Follow along as we walk you through the entire process 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’re here for you. Of a overview of all the functions we could find, to some of the lesser known hidden functions, to the possibility to fully customize your home screen – there is plenty to learn.


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