iOS 101: Migrating to a New iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch

When you get a new iOS device, like maybe a new iPad 2, you’ll probably want to transfer data, settings and content from an old device to the new one. For many users, this may be the first time they’re moving from one iOS device to another. Luckily, it’s not difficult to do. Here’s how.

Step 1: Sync and Back Up the Old Device

First off, you need to create a backup of the old device using iTunes. This should happen automatically when you plug the device in, but if not, or if you just want to make sure, right-click the device’s name in the sidebar and choose “Back Up.” Note the name of the device, because that’s what the backup will be named in step 2.

Step 2A: Sync the New Device (Brand-New Devices)

If you’re transferring to a brand-new device that’s never been synced before, plug it in with the USB cable to begin the activation process in iTunes. Since you backed up your old device, you’ll be presented with a choice: set up as a new device or restore from a backup. Check “Restore from the backup of” and select the correct device from the dropdown list. Then hit the “Continue” button and your device will be set up exactly the same as the old one.

Step 2B: Sync the New Device (Previously-Synced Devices)

If, instead of a new device straight from the box, you’re setting up a device that has been synced with another iTunes library before, this step is slightly different. If you bought the device second-hand, hopefully the previous owner restored it, but if not, follow the instructions below.

Again, connect the device to iTunes. If it hasn’t been restored since its last sync, iTunes will warn you of this and ask if you want to erase it and sync. Click “Erase and Sync,” and wait for the process to finish. Then, right-click the device name in iTunes and select “Restore From Backup.” A popup window will appear asking which device backup to use. Select the correct one and click “Restore.” Your device will be restored to factory settings, then synced with all the content and information from your backup.

Once the restore has been completed, your new device is ready to use, and should be set up just how the old device was. All of your email accounts should be synced, your apps should be how you left them and the settings should be the same as before. Did I miss anything? Add your own tips or advice in the comments.

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