Starting withyou can forget all that iCloud nonsense and use the simple new transfer tool that moves your data directly from one iPhone to another. Keep in mind that this is the easiest way to get your iPhone set up.
Using the new data migration tool is simple, just make sure you have some time for all your photos, messages, and other important info to transfer.
What you need
You'll need two iPhones – your old one and the new one you're setting up – both running iOS 12.4, and accessing a Wi-Fi network.
Go to Settings > General > Software Update to make sure you're running the latest version of iOS 12. If your new iPhone is not running iOS 12.4 yet, go through the setup process on the phone, but do not select the option to restore from any backup source. Instead, select "Do not transfer apps & data" and skip through the rest of the setup steps. Once you get to the home screen, update it to iOS 12.4 and then factory reset it. I know, it's a hassle, but doing so will ensure you can transfer all of your data from your old iPhone.
By the time you finish finishing setting up your new phone (step-by-step instructions below), it basically takes a copy of your current phone. Apps wants to be in the same place on your home screens, needs to be set up, email accounts … everything.
Using the new transfer feature
With your old and new iPhones powered on, unlocked and next to each other, your old phone should display a prompt if you want to set up a new phone. Tap Continue and then point the old iPhone's camera at your new phone's screen.
Follow the prompts on your new phone, completing tasks like entering a passcode, setting up ID and agreeing to Apple's terms and conditions. Eventually, you'll end up on a screen asking if you want to transfer directly from one phone to another, or if you want to restore from iCloud.
Select Transfer from iPhone and follow the prompts, after which your iPhone wants to take care of the rest. Make sure you leave the two phones near each other, otherwise the transfer can be slow down or stall.
It will take some time for the transfer to complete, depending on the speed of your Wi-Fi network and the amount of data you transferring. Of course, 2,000 photos will take longer to transfer than 500. If you have a lot of apps and photos, be prepared to be patient – it's going to take a while. It took me about 25 minutes to transfer all my data, which is exactly what the amount of time it would take.
The default method is to use a wireless connection for the transfer. Alternatively, if you have a Lightning-to-USB Lightning USB cable, a wired transfer is possible and should be faster. But it's not worth going out and buying just a few minutes.
After the transfer is complete, your new phone wants to reboot and your apps will finish downloading. All of your photos, emails, contacts, appointments, and messages will be there.
Originally published last month. Updated with iPhone 11 information.
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