Transfer data between iPhones It’s gotten easier since Apple introduced Quick Start with iOS 11, a built-in feature that’s used to automatically set up new iPhones or iPads.
A welcome option since the classic transfers via memory cards, so common in the Android ecosystem, are not possible on iPhones. But this fast and automatic transfer option has nuances that may not appeal to all users.
One of them is the fact that it will not work if one of the iPhones involved in the process does not have iOS 11 or higher. Another is related to the fact that, up to iOS 12.4, the feature always needs to use a backup stored in iCloud in order to transfer data.
Another difficulty may lie in the very fact that Quick Start works only for transferring all of the data from the old device, which may not be of interest to everyone.
The user may only want to use the new device temporarily, so he does not need to have everything on the new mobile phone, or, in the case of buying a new device, he may want to reformulate its use, going after only what interests him the most.
For these reasons, here are different options for you to transfer data between iPhones in the way that best suits your needs.
Transfer Data Between iPhones: Full Transfer
Through Quick Start
If your goal is to duplicate the content of your old phone on a new device, the best option is Quick Start. This feature requires that there be a backup of the old iPhone on iCloud for versions from iOS 11 and up to iOS 12.4, the operating system version from which it is no longer necessary.
For both cases, all you have to do is place the two iPhones side by side and turn on the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth features on the old device, the one you want to transfer content from. Then turn on the new iPhone for the first time and wait for the Quick Start mode screen to appear.
At the same time that screen appears, on the old iPhone screen a pop-up window will appear so you can use your Apple ID. You must enter it and choose >Continue. At this moment an animation will appear on both screens simultaneously, graphically similar to the QR Code.
You should then take your old iPhone and point the camera at the circular pattern that appeared on the new iPhone’s screen, thus allowing synchronization between both. Now all you have to do is enter your old iPhone passcode into your new iPhone when prompted, set up Face ID or Touch ID, and enter your Apple ID.
At this point, if both devices have iOS 12.4, the transfer will have started, but if one of the devices has a version lower than 12.4 (and equal to or higher than 11), you will be asked to choose >Transfer data from iCloud. The process can take some time, in one case or another (the duration can reach 15 minutes or more).
Everything will depend on the speed of the network, the quality of the two iPhones and the amount of data that will need to be transferred. If the process is happening between the two devices, without using the cloud, you will not be able to use the phone until it is completed. If using iCloud, some features may already be active before the process ends.
Quick Start Limitations:
The free accounts provided by the clouds never provide much storage capacity. In iCloud, the free account only offers 5 GB, very little for a backup if we think that iPhone models can reach storage capacities of 64 GB or more.
In this case, if your QuickStart needs a cloud backup, it’s best to subscribe to a paid package for the time needed to make that transfer, which you can later cancel. If you don’t opt for this solution, skip ahead in this text and look for other options.
Transfer between devices via Quick Start can be speeded up if done via hardware and not Bluetooth connection. To do this, just buy a Lightning to USB camera adapter cable to attach it to the standard Lightning to USB cable that comes with the iPhone and thus be able to connect the devices to each other.
Through iTunes on computer via USB cable
As with iCloud, this method requires you to have a backup of your mobile phone in the iTunes application on your Mac.
To get this backup just connect the old iPhone to the computer using a USB cable and open iTunes. Choose to click >Device, >Summary, then >Back Up Now to start backing up your old iPhone.
When finished, disconnect the old iPhone from the cable and connect the new iPhone. Follow the setup steps until you open the apps and data screen.
At that moment, choose >Restore from Mac or PC, and connect your new iPhone to the computer you used to make the backup via USB cable. In iTunes, click >Device and select >Restore Backup. Now choose the backup you made and wait for the process to complete.
Then just complete the remaining setup steps on the new device.
Transfer Data Between iPhones: Partial Transfer
AirDrop is an iOS feature that lets you transfer all kinds of content (photos, videos, documents, websites, etc.) between compatible Apple devices. To start the process, activate Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections on both devices and place them very close to each other.
Turn off Personal Hotspot on both iPhones and enable AirDrop on both. You can define the files you want to send from one to the other, for example by choosing “Contacts” or “All” and then >Share, clicking on AirDrop and selecting the destination device.
On the destination iPhone, all you have to do is accept what’s being sent to you to secure the transfer.
Transfer some content to a Mac or PC
If you connect your old iPhone to a Mac via the Finder (or via iTunes for Windows/PC), you can only drag and drop specific files and content that you want to transfer later.
This way, when you connect the new iPhone to that same computer, you’ll be able to drag these items onto the new device. It works well if the goal is not to transfer a lot of data.
iCloud or other cloud storage
If the goal is not to make a complete backup, you can always use a free cloud account to save the data on your old phone that you can later transfer to the new one.
Depending on its management, this transfer can even be done by synchronization, which allows a controlled update of its contents.