Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Moving Day

Smartphone Fanatics moved to the Blogger platform back in 2010 as part of a forced migration from an FTP publishing model to the Google Blogger-only publishing model.

While I have enjoyed using Blogger, the Wordpress platform is a much better publishing platform.  I have moved Smartphone Fanatics to Wordpress under a new name, SPFMobile.  It's the same great content you have come to love from Smartphone Fanatics now with a new name and facelift.

Please continue to follow us on our new site, SPFMobile.

Thanks for reading.


Logitech Create Backlit Keyboard 12.9-inch Mini Review

I have been using my iPad Pro 12.9-inch for the last year.  when I purchased my iPad Pro, I purchased the Apple Smart Keyboard.  This past November 22, after a year of the Smart Keyboard and having read reviews from bloggers and hearing podcasters talk about the Logitech Create keyboards, I decided to get one.  What follows are my thoughts and impressions about 12.9-inch Create keyboard.

Logitech Create Backlit Keyboard Case Mini Review

I love using my iPhones and iPads without cases, yet I cannot stand having scratches, nicks, or scuffs so I always use a case or some sort.  My iPad Pro, issued to me by my employer, has spent the last year protected by the Apple Smart Keyboard and the Silicone Case.

The Logitech Create 12.9-inch keyboard, in my opinion, is on the opposite end of the keyboard spectrum from the Apple Smart Keyboard.  The Create fore goes Apple's minimalist obsession and let's their Smart Connector-based keyboard be true to itself.  To get a since of the size of the keys, the keys on the Create keyboard are about the same size as those on the Apple Magic Keyboard.  The best part about the Create keyboard is that there is actually movement in the keys.  If you like the keyboard on the MacBook Air, then I think you will like this keyboard a lot.  Since retiring my 17-inch MacBook Pro, the iPad Pro with Create keyboard is a nice on-the-go writing tool.

The key caps are a nice size and I can touch type on this keyboard just like I can on my wireless Microsoft (at the office) and Apple (at home).  The Create keyboard also has an extra row of function keys that is missing from Apple's Smart Keyboard.  The Create also sports backlit keys, a feature that is also missing from their keyboard. The function keys that I find myself using the most are search, backlight brightness up and down, lock, and home.  In the position of the Fn key on the Magic Keyboard, Logitech placed a keyboard key, which, when pressed, brings up the iOS 10 on-screen keyboard.

I have been using the Create keyboard with three main apps on my iPad - Microsoft Word, Outlook, and OneNote.  When I get in a groove, and typing furiously (for me), my personal preference is for the Create keyboard over the Apple Smart Keyboard.  For writing in my lap while on the go, I feel that the Create keyboard is the sturdier of the two.

The Logitech Create keyboard case is available in five colors: classic red with gold keyboard top, purple, blue with silver keyboard top (the version I purchased), black with silver keyboard top, and black.  I have a silver iPad Pro, and I thought that the blue/silver case looked the best.   Red/gold was a close runner up.  If I had a black iPad Pro, I would have only considered the two black versions.  Personal preferences will obviously vary.

For as much as I like the Logitech Create keyboard for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, there are a few downsides to consider.

The Create keyboards is big and heavy.  It's the price to be paid for being true to itself.  Much more so, in my opinion, than the two-piece Apple solution.  It's something buyers need to consider if they travel around a lot.  For me, the extra bulk is not too much of a problem for me because I don't travel much.  Kudos to Logitech for including a wrist rest area, however, it is shallow, and my palms hang off the edge.

There are magnets in the wrist rest that will put the iPad to sleep, but they aren't powerful enough to keep the iPad closed.  If I pick up my iPad Pro by the top half of the Create keyboard, it will open.  While walking around the office with my iPad, there is some minimal movement between the iPad and Create.  Because of this, I am worried about the plastic key caps on the Create marking up the glass screen over time.  As a result, I felt it was necessary to buy a glass screen protector for the iPad Pro.  I have no evidence that the screen would become damaged.  It was an emotional response to my desire to keep my hardware looking like it just came out of the box.

The one gripe that I do have, that was "fixed" with the Create keyboard for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, is that there is a loop for holding the Apple Pencil.  There is a lot of space where the Pencil loop could have gone.  I am looking forward to seeing the loop on a future 12.9-inch Create keyboard.


The Logitech Create keyboard for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the keyboard for people who prefer a more traditional keyboard experience.  I find it delightful to type on and the experience is more like the other keyboards in my life.  I also appreciate that Logitech let this be the keyboard that it wants to be - size and weight be damned - and I appreciate it.

The Logitech Create Backlit Keyboard Case for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro can be purchased for $149.95 from both the Logitech and Apple online stores or in retail stores that sell iPad Pros.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

May the new born Christ Child bring peace, love, mercy, and tolerance toward others to our world. Amen.

Merry Christmas from your friends at Smartphone Fanatics.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

First Thoughts on Apple AirPods and Unboxing Photos

Earlier this week, Apple's wireless ear buds, AirPods, when on sale in Apple Stores.  After selling out almost immediately, I finally got mine today.  What follows is my story and first impressions about getting my pair of AirPods.

The Story

I first learned about Apple's new AirPods wireless earbuds like many of you...while watching a recording of Apple's iPhone 7 event back onSeptember 7th.  I was super excited about them and was looking forward to getting a pair to go with my iPhone 7 Plus. Alas, the AirPods wouldn't be ready until "October".  Throw in a "We need a little bit more time to get them exactly right" from Apple PR and you end up with some disappointed customers.

Fast forward to December 13, when Apple dropped a press release stating that the AirPods where now on sale at  Whoa!  I totally missed the press release because, you know, work, and by the time I checked out the online store, AirPods were showing delivery dates three to four weeks out.  Having to do the responsible adult thing this past Monday meant that there was no chance of taking the morning off to get in line at one of my local Apple Stores.  Topping it all off, AirPods are showing delivery dates around mid-February.  2017. Ugh!

But my luck changed today, thanks to!  Using their inventory status tool, I was energetically checking AirPod stock in Connecticut, New York City, Long Island, and southern Massachusetts.  Yes, I seriously considered driving out of state.  Or taking a train down to Apple Grand Central.  Or taking my car over to Long Island via ferry.

At 3:30pm, I saw that Apple Danbury received some in.  The hour drive, by comparison to getting on a ferry, wasn't too bad, but driving back home in rush hour traffic would have been the worst.  With AirPods in my bag and my finger hovering over "Buy with Apple Pay" in the Apple Store iOS app, I chose to wait.  I decided to wait a half hour to get back to my iMac, and I told myself that if they were still available for pickup in Danbury, I would buy them and go pick them up after dinner.  When I checked the status, to my surprise, the AirPods were sold out in Danbury, but were "in" at Apple Trumbull.  I hastily changed by order and purchased them online for pick up today.  He shoots! He scores!

I dropped by Apple Trumbull in Westfield's Trumbull mall.  The store was busy, as you would expect, but not super packed.  The greeter checked me in, and a few minutes later, Joe was coming over help me finalize my order.  Joe recognized my name from the store's grand opening event two years ago.  We got to talking and I decided to open my AirPods in the store and set them up.  Joe gave me a quick session on how to pair AirPods with my iPhone 7 Plus (Spoiler Alert: Flip open the AirPods case next to your unlocked iPhone running iOS 10) and how to use them.  There was a lot going on in the store, so I appreciated him taking some extra time with me for a one-on-one.  I also took a few minutes to talk to Mary, the store manager, just to let her know how awesome her staff is.

W1, iCloud, and the Magic of the Secret Sauce

AirPods, are Bluetooth wireless ear buds.  The bud part that goes in your ear is styled after the current EarPod wired ear buds that Apple puts in the box with the iPhone.  I always thought that Apple's ear buds were comfortable to wear, and the AirPods are no exception.  Pairing Bluetooth devices is a real pain in the neck.  Apple solved this problem by creating the W1 system on a chip.  W1 makes pairing AirPods with your Apple devices effortless if that device is running iOS 10, macOS Sierra, or watchOS 3.  Just hold the AirPod case a few inches away from your unlocked iPhone and flip open the AirPods case.  Boom!


For devices like my 4th generation AppleTV, the pairing process is still super simple, but you must press the round button on the back of the case to initiate the pairing process.  Because all my Apple devices are signed in to iCloud using the same account as my iPhone, all my devices instantly knew about my new AirPods.  That takes so much of the hassle out of trying to use Bluetooth headphones and ear buds with more than one device.  I love my PowerBeats ear buds for working out at the gym, but I almost never bother trying to get them to connect to my iPad Air to watch a TV show or movie.  Thanks to W1 and iCloud, using AirPods with all my iDevices is really easy.

AirPods in Action

There are some cool things you can do with AirPods.  First off, if you pull one of the ear buds out of your ear, whatever you are listening too or watching will instantly pause.  Pop the bud back in, and the music or video automatically resumes.  Double-tapping either one of the AirPods will summon Siri.  You can ask Siri to raise or lower the volume, skip the current track, or read new messages.  Any command that you can issue to Siri from your iPhone, Watch, or Mac will work.  In my few hours of playing with them, I haven't found a command yet that didn't work.  My daughter Kate wanted to do some Christmas shopping this evening.  I brought along AirPods so I could listen to some Christmas music while walking around the local Target.  A good song came on, and I pulled out one ear bud and popped it into her ear so we could both listen.  We got an aisle length apart and her AirPod bud was still rocking out without any trouble.  While connected to my iMac (in my finished basement), I could listen to music on my AirPods two floors away in my bedroom.  That's some really great range!  You can also use one AirPod at a time.  You won't be listening in stereo, but that's perfectly fine while talking on the phone or listening to spoken word content in podcasts or audio books.

In just a few hours of using them, I have had a good experience so far.  They sound pretty good.  Obviously, personal preference will come into play here.  I'm not an audiophile, and I like the sound of the wired EarPods.  To me, AirPods sound as good as the wired ear buds.  They are light weight and are comfortable to wear.  I think the best part about AirPods is that there are absolutely no wires to get tangled up in.  I won't catch the wire around the arm rest on my office chair.  There's no cable to bunch up behind my neck while walking or running.  And the AirPods in their case is a smaller package them my PowerBeats in their case.  The negatives I can see with the AirPods in my limited amount of testing are the purchase price ($149.00) and the fact that unlike EarPods or Beats headphones, there are no buttons on AirPods.  Volume up, volume down, play/pause, and track skipping can only be done via Siri, from your iPhone, your Watch, or another connected Apple device.  This wasn't an issue for me.  Each time I double-tapped an ear bud, Siri correctly understood and issued my voice commands.  Even in a busy Target store.  The pause/play feature also worked well just by taking one ear bud out of my ear.  AirPods provide about five hours of continuous use, and are charged when they are placed in their case.  The case charges via a Lightening cable.  A Lightning cable is provided in the box, however, you will need to provide an adapter, like the one that comes in the box with iPhone. This might be a problem for some heavy iPhone users who may need to charge their iPhone and their AirPods/case at the same time.

But let's cut to the chase.  Everyone I talked to about the AirPods at work, and Meghan, my Apple loving child, thinks I'm crazy for wanting AirPods because I will promptly lose one and be sad.  I baby my Apple equipment.  I can't imagine a normal day-to-day situation where I would misplace one or both buds.  They sit nicely in my ears.  Shaking my head in a vigorous side-to-side "No!" motion does not cause them to fall out.  Walking around the mall does not cause them to fall out.  Double-tapping them does not cause them to fall out. Lying in bed watching a movie on my iPad wasn't a problem.  Heck, I even did 30 jumping jacks without any problems.  Every ear is different, so your individual mileage may vary.  When I'm not using them, I plan on putting the buds back in their charging case, so I don't expect to misplace either of them.  There is no "Find My AirPods" app, so you will need to remember where you put them down.

Unboxing Photos


Everything told, I'm super excited to have a pair of AirPods, especially considering how constrained supply is right now.  They sound great, the W1 chip makes the Bluetooth pairing process dead simple, and they work as advertised.  In a word, I would call the new Apple AirPods "magical" and I am going to enjoy using them.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Apple iPhone 7 Plus Mini Review

Apple launched the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in the United States, Canada, Australia (Hi, Jodi!), the United Kingdom and other locations around the world on September 16.

Let's just get a couple of things out of the way right from the get go. First, iPhone 7 Plus has, practically, the exact same body as the iPhone 6 Plus and 6S Plus. The next major redesign is expected to be the 2017 model, which will mark the tenth anniversary of iPhone. Secondly, the 3.5mm headphone jack is gone. Done. Stick a fork in it.

iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, despite their names, are actually the eleventh generation iPhone models. This includes the original iPhone, released in June 2007, and the iPhone SE, released in March of this year.

iPhone 7 Plus Hardware

Exterior Changes and Enhancements

New for the 2016 model year, iPhone 7 Plus comes in two new finishes - the high gloss Jet Black and, my personal favorite, matte Black. Gone is the Space Grey option. Silver (aka White), Gold, and Rose Gold round out the color options. Besides two new color options, there are some other differences you should be aware of.

As for the rest of the exterior of iPhone 7 Plus, the camera bump frame is now part of the back plate. The plastic antenna lines that ran across the back of the iPhone are gone. The antenna lines that do remain are much harder to see as they almost perfectly blend into the case. There is a real possibility that if you aren't looking for them, you won't see them on the Jet Black or matte black iPhone models.

iPhone 7 Plus has the exact same dimensions and weight of the iPhone 6S Plus. Sadly, while an iPhone 6S Plus case technically "fits" the iPhone 7 Plus, the cutout for the camera is all wrong and you will have to buy a new case, or cases if you like to switch things up regularly. At least we got a bonus last year with the iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6S Plus cases being interchangeable. Looking ahead to next year, I do not expect the cases to interchangeable either due to the rumored exterior casing changes.

Stereo Speakers and the Lighting to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter

iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are now outfitted with stereo speakers. To get stereo sound, Apple kept the original speaker at the bottom right of the device and added a new and improved speaker at the top of the phone. The speaker that you hold near your head when making a phone call is also the other have of the stereo speaker pair. To test out the sound quality of the new iPhone, I used both, my iPhone 7 Plus, my iPhone 6S Plus, and my 5K iMac to play The Del-Vikings' Come Go With Me (Single Version) from their album "20th Century Masters - The Millenium Collection: The Best of The Del Vikings" which was purchased form iTunes.

I started the test by first listening to the song on my 5K iMac with my 20 year old Cambridge Soundworks small desk speakers and sub-woofer. Then, I listend to the first 30 seconds on the iPhone 6S Plus, followed by the same 30 seconds on my iPhone 7 Plus. To my old ears, I personally felt that the iPhone 7 Plus most closely matched the warm, rich sound from iTunes on my iMac. On the iPhone 6S Plus and iPhone 7 Plus, the volume was set to 50%. Just for fun, and to use a song that my kids would know, I repeated the same test with Taylor Swift's Blank Space from her "1989" album. I still felt that the iPhone 7 Plus offered a better listening experience than the iPhone 6S. Your opinion of the sound quality and my selection of music will vary.

The elimination of the 3.5mm headphone jack has gotten the Internet in tizzy. For me, it's not a big deal for a few reasons, not least of which, when I listen to music or podcasts on my iPhone I do so with a pair of wireless PowerBeats ear buds. At the office, I have a pair of old Apple ear buds that came with my work issued iPhone 4S. So I have an extra Lightning to 3.5mm adapter at the office. Again, as with the stereo speaker test, the results are subjective, but I found the sound quality of music played back on to the PowerBeats and iPhone 4S era ear buds with the adapter to be the same as that of my iPhone 6S Plus. I did get burned once by not having a 3.5mm jack on my iPhone 7 Plus when I had to drive my wife's car to work. Her car doesn't have Bluetooth and iPhones connect to the in-car stereo via a...yup, you guessed it! A 3.5mm aux headphone jack. (I know. We're living like savages! It is 2016, after all!) So, I listen to FM radio on the way to work and used my adapter on the ride home so I could catch up on my podcast queue.

The Display and the Home Button

During the iPhone 7 launch event that took place on September 7, Apple spent a lot of time talking about the display in the new iPhone. Looking at the same Home screen (the exact same icon arrangement with the exact same wallpaper) I can't see a difference between them. I am sure that there are technical differences that I do not know to look for or am not trained to detect, but in terms of every day usage, I just don't see the difference.

I was expecting the iPhone 7-series phones to have the True Tone feature that debuted earlier this year on the (baby) iPad Pro 9.7". I guess that's a feature that will have to wait until the 2017 iPhone.

3D Touch is the same as it has always been from the iPhone 6S-series. I encourage everyone who has an iPhone 7-series phone to 3D Touch everything to discover new shortcuts. Apple, distressingly, keeps 3D Touch actions well hidden in the UI and you will need to discover them on your own. Show of hands: Who knew the Stocks app has a 3D Touch action?

iPhone 7 Plus also has a new, solid state, 3D Touch solid state physical Home button. The new Home button is fully integrated Touch ID sensor, which isn't mechanical like all of the past Home buttons on older iPhones. Instead, to simulate a button press and the "click" feel, the iPhone 7 Plus Taptic engine vibrates. I know the button isn't moving, but my mind sure think it does. You might need a day or two to get used to it. You can use the new Home Button feedback setting (Settings > General > Home Button) to control how forceful the haptic feedback is. There are three options. I prefer the "2" setting myself.

The Hardware Changes You Cannot See

Mercifully, Apple has finally abandoned the 16GB memory configuration. Hallelujah! The last few years have proven particularly challenging for people like my wife who always get the "cheapest" iPhone and then promptly fill it up photos of the kids and cat memes downloaded from Facebook and Instagram. What space is left after that is filled with a handful of apps. iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus provide some relief.

Starting with iPhone 7 models, Apple has doubled the amount of memory for each of the storage tiers. The new storage options are 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB. This change, which many have felt was long overdue, I think, will give people like my wife a better customer experience overall. I should note here, that if the iPhone 7 Plus was a car, the Jet Black version would be considered the "special edition" as it is only available in the 128GB and 256GB storage configurations. I recently saw an iPhone 7 at Apple Trumbull. It looked nice, but it was covered in finger prints and I could see at least a half dozen scratches in it's glossy finish on the back. That would drive me insane. I do not regret my matte Black color decision. Not for one second.

iPhone 7 Plus Dual Camera System

A new feature that is only available in the iPhone 7 Plus, and the primary driver for my decision to continue to be a paying member to the "Plus Club", is the new and improved 12MP cameras. Yes, as in two. The iPhone 7 Plus has the standard 1.8 aperture wide-angle 12MP camera that was included in the iPhone 6S Plus. New this year is the inclusion of a 2.8 aperture telephoto camera. Both cameras work in tandem and give you the option to use a 2x optical zoom or a 10x digital zoom. I am not a "camera guy". In my initial tests in direct sunlight or a well lit room, photos taken with the iPhone 7 Plus and the iPhone 6S Plus look equally crisp. A picture of my cats in waiting for breakfast in my kitchen in low light looked much better than I was expecting. (I didn't have my iPhone 6S Plus with me at the time, so I have no comparison photo.) A second photo is took at a wedding this past weekend of my wife and her sisters with very low light was better than I expected, but does get "muddy" when I start to zoom in. Apple is also working on iOS 10.1, which is currently in beta testing, that will add a new digital bokeh photography option. Bokeh photography, in layman's terms, is that cool style where the subject is in sharp focus while the background is blurred out. Personally, this is the camera feature that I have wanted to be able to do for a long time, but never knew what it was called or how to do it. There is no work as to when iOS 10.1 will be released. If I was a betting man, I would guess that iOS 10.1 will be out before the end of the year.

For people who prefer the smaller iPhone, Apple is now shipping optical image stabilization in the 4.7" model. Previously, optical image stabilization was a feature that had been reserved for only the larger 5.5" iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6S Plus. Now all iPhone 7-series owners will get the feature.

Water and Dust Resistance

Lastly, there are three invisible enhancements to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus that you can't see, but will be glad are there. Starting with the iPhone 7-series, iPhone is now splash, water, and dust resistant. iPhone 7 has received an IP67 rating under IEC standard 60529 (Apple, Inc., 2016). Your iPhone fell in the pool? Not a problem. Youngster watching video on your iPhone and spills their drink on it? Not a problem. You put your iPhone in a blender and then turned it on? Yeah, sure. You will have a bit problem. iPhone 7 can save your bacon from life's every day problems involving water. It is not impervious. Just keep in mind that "water resistant" dones't mean "water proof". Knowing is half the battle.

iOS 10

iPhone 7 Plus ships with iOS 10 by default. iOS 10 is, in my opinion, a pretty good release. It's fast and stable. Some of the changes will take some getting used to, like the swipe to unlock gesture going way and the new look and feel of widgets, Notification Center and Control Center. I am still not a fan of the recent iterations of the Music app and the Apple Music service.

In day-to-day usage, I don't see any major differences with iOS 10 running on my iPhone 7 Plus and my work issued iPhone 6. Many of the differences I have come across so far are the little things on the iPhone 7 Plus. For example, when in Fantastical, when flipping the wheel to set the date and time for events there is Taptic feedback that you would expect if you were turning a well made dial knob. Similarly, when you zoom in or out on a photo, there is a little bit of feedback when you reach the maximum zoom levels (both in and out). Also, using the pull the refresh gesture in Mail there is a bit of feedback too. These little "finishing touches" are not essential to the overall iPhone and iOS 10 experience, but they do add to the fit and finish of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.


Over all, if you are looking to upgrade to a new iPhone this year, iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus offer some excellent features if you are coming from an iPhone 6 or earlier iPhone. The storage upgrades alone are worth it. If you have an iPhone 6 Plus or iPhone 6S, I am not as confident saying hands down you need an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus. With iOS 10, a free upgrade for all iPhone 5 and later model iPhones, the decision needs to be much more personal, in that you need to weight the pros and cons of buying a new iPhone. If you are the tech nerd in your group of friends, you probably will want to upgrade. If you like to take great quality photos with your iPhone, you will probably want to upgrade. If you have a Samsung Galaxy Note7, you will absolutely want to upgrade to iPhone 7 Plus - if for no other reasons, iPhone doesn't explode. If you are happy with your current iPhone, I don't think that there is a single "gotta have it" feature of the iPhone 7-series that demands that you go out and get one right now. All-in-all, if you need or want a new iPhone, there is a lot to like about the iPhone 7-series.

iPhone Handsets and Release Dates

iPhone (2G) - June 29, 2007
iPhone 3G - July 11, 2008
iPhone 3GS - June 19, 2009
iPhone 4 - June 24, 2010
iPhone 4S - October 4, 2011
iPhone 5 - September 21, 2012
iPhone 5S - September 20, 2013
iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus - September 19, 2014
iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus - September - September 25, 2015
iPhone SE - March 31, 2016
iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus - September 16, 2016


Apple, Inc. (2016, September 7). iPhone 7 Tech Specs. Retrieved October 2, 2016, from

Friday, September 30, 2016

Apple iPhone 7 Plus Unboxing

Last Thursday, I found and purchased my Apple iPhone 7 Plus.  The road to getting it was a bit bumpy, but that is a story for another time.

What follows are my thoughts on purchasing, unboxing, and setting up my new matte black, iPhone 7 Plus 128GB.

 We all knew that supplies of all models of the iPhone 7 Plus were constrained.  It was almost by accident that I rolled out of bed and found stock at Apple New Haven.  I placed my order, setup my pick up window.  It's time for another road trip for Dad and I to pick up a new iPhone!

Any day I get to wear an Apple t-shirt is a good one in my book!

When I arrived, the New Haven store was busy, but I was whisked in since I had a pick-up reservation.

While we waited, Dad checked out the new Apple Watch Series Two display while I was looking at the new color assortment of iPhone 7 Plus cases.

Jim has my new iPhone 7 Plus brought out from "Backstage" and the fun begins!

When I was ordering, I was torn between the new Jet Black and matte Black colors.  I am very happy with the way that the matte black iPhone 7 Plus looks.  Stunning!

I'm glad my Dad was able to go with me to pick up my new iPhone 7 Plus!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Notes on iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus Upgrade Process

Update: Friend of the blog Mike C called me out for not mentioning that Bluetooth devices also need to be paired with your new iPhone after performing an iTunes or iCloud backup restore.  That oversight has been corrected below.

Congratulations on getting your new iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus!

Now that you have your brand new iPhone it's time to upgrade from your old one.  While the process will vary from person to person, I have come up with a list of six steps to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Step 1: Unpair your Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch is a great tool for notifications, fitness tracking, taking a quick phone call or sending a dictated text message.  To ensure all of your data stays intact while moving over to your new iPhone, unpair it from your current iPhone.  Doing so backs up your Watch data to your iPhone.  To help, Apple has posted a support article called Unpair your Apple Watch and iPhone to help you navigate the process.

Step 2: Backup your current iPhone with iTunes.

When you use the latest version of iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC to create an encrypted local backup, iOS will also backup sensitive data including fitness and activity data and email account passwords.  Using iTunes to create an encrypted local backup of your iPhone is a different process that the nightly iCloud backups you are probably already doing.  To refresh yourself on how to use iTunes to backup an iPhone, look at Apple's How to back up your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch support article; specifically the "Use iTunes" section.

When you run an encrypted backup, you also preserve your Apple Watch data in the process, allowing you to restore your data to Apple Watch later on.

Make sure that you write down your encrypted iTunes backup password!

Step 3: Power off your old iPhone.

At this point, I like to put my old iPhone into airplane mode.  The point is that your old iPhone should not have network access.

Step 4: Power on your new iPhone and follow the on-screen prompts to complete the initial setup.

This step assumes that you are activating your iPhone at home.  If you purchased your iPhone at a retail location and a well-meaning sales associate tried to setup your iPhone you may have a different experience.

Step 5: When prompted, select the option to restore your iPhone data from an iTunes backup.

At this time, select the option to restore from an iTunes backup and connect your iPhone to your Mac or Windows PC.  I like to have iTunes already launched before connecting the iPhone for restoration.  In iTunes, select the backup you performed in Step 2 as the one to be restored to your new iPhone.

Step 6: Sit back and have a refreshing beverage of choice, following any iPhone and/or iTunes prompts to complete the restore.

For me, this is the hardest part about getting a new iPhone - the waiting for all of the data to transfer from my Mac to my new iPhone!  Be patient.  It can take a long time to restore your data.  One the restore is done, take a look around to make sure everything is working normally.

Step 7: Pair your Apple Watch to your new iPhone.

When you start the pairing process, you will be prompted to restore your Apple Watch data from a backup. Select the backup that was created as part of Step 1 to restore all of your health and activity data.

Miscellaneous Odds and Ends

Here are some things to consider doing after you have completed your iPhone upgrade.
  • Change your iPhone device name by going to: Settings > General > About > Name
  • Pair up Bluetooth devices like Beats headphones, wireless speakers, and car hands free systems
  • Verify your loyalty cards are setup.  You may need to re-login to your online member accounts
  • Setup Apple Pay credit and debit cards
  • Sync any iTunes purchased ring tones and alert sound effects
  • Double-check that iCloud is setup the way you like by going to: Settings > iCloud
  • Corporate users will want to validate their Microsoft Exchange server settings

The process of backing up and restoring an iPhone and Apple Watch can seem to take forever, especially when you are excited to start using your new phone.  Taking the time to follow these simple steps will get you up and running as quickly as possible can keeping all of your settings and data intact.