How to Transfer Content to a New Device Using iCloud Backup

iCloud icon

Getting ready to get a new device and want to make sure your old stuff is transferred to the new device? Here is the way Apple recommends doing it – use iCloud. The article below shows how to back up and restore a device.


If you don’t have an iCloud account, get a free one that will automatically gives you 5 GB of free storage. You can use this space for backing up your iOS devices too. You can buy more storage and manage your storage space as explained in the article.

The below comes from Apple from this page:

Turn on iCloud Backup

Start by backing up your old device to iCloud:

  1. Go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup.
  2. Turn on iCloud Backup.

You may want to connect to power and turn Wi-Fi on.

Turn on iCloud Backup circled

Back up now

iCloud backs up your device once a day. To back up your device before you transfer content:

  1. Go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup.
  2. Tap Back Up Now.
  3. Wait until the backup finishes. How long it will take depends on how big the backup is and how fast your Internet connection is.

Back Up Now circled

Set up your new device

When the backup of your old device is finished, turn on your new device. Follow the setup assistant, which will ask you to choose these things:

  • Your language and country
  • Whether to enable Location Services
  • A Wi-Fi network

If you’ve already set up your device, you can reset it so that you can go through the iOS Setup Assistant again and restore from your backup. Tap Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. Do this only if you already have a backup.

Restore from iCloud Backup

When you’re asked to set up:

  1. Choose Restore from iCloud Backup.
  2. Tap next.
  3. Enter your Apple ID and password.

Set Up iPhone

Choose the backup

Choose the backup of your old device and tap Restore. Wait until the device finishes restoring from the backup.

How long it will take depends on how big the backup is and how fast your Internet connection is.

Choose backup screen

Sync other content from iTunes

When the restore finishes, your device will restart. You should connect the device to iTunes to sync data that isn’t in the backup (such as music, videos, or apps that you didn’t purchase from the iTunes Store or the App Store ). To change the type of content that syncs, click the syncing tabs in iTunes.

Enter your passwords

When you’re restoring an iCloud backup to a new device, you’ll need to enter your password for your Apple ID, email and other accounts, and voicemail. If you’ve forgotten your voicemail password, contact your carrier.

According to apple, here’s what iCloud backs up:

  • Purchase history for music, movies, TV shows, apps, and books

    Your iCloud backup includes information about the content you have purchased, but not the purchased content itself. When you restore from an iCloud backup, your purchased content is automatically downloaded from the iTunes Store, App Store, or iBooks Store. Some types of content aren’t downloaded automatically in all countries, and previous purchases may be unavailable if they have been refunded or are no longer available in the store. For more information, see the Apple Support article iTunes in the Cloud availability by country. Some types of content aren’t available in all countries. For more information, see the Apple Support article What can I buy from the iTunes Store in my country?.

  • Photos and videos on your iOS devices

  • Device settings

  • App data

  • Home screen and app organization

  • iMessage, text (SMS), and MMS messages

  • Ringtones

  • Visual Voicemail

Your iOS device backup only includes data and settings stored on your device.

It doesn’t include data already stored in iCloud, for example contacts, calendars, bookmarks, mail messages, notes, shared photo albums, iCloud Photo Library beta, My Photo Stream, and documents you save in iCloud using iOS apps and Mac apps.


iCloud backup is about as easy a way to make a back up and transfer your iOS information as exists without having to plug into a computer. It’s a good idea to make a back up of your data and iCloud makes it easy. Review the Apple articles and information above to make the process work. Don’t forget, wi-fi access can speed up the process and may even be required if you have large amounts of data to back up and restore.


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