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