How To Backup and Restore – Defeating iPhone 13 Migration Intimidation

Probably the single greatest cell phone operating system is iOS. While I am an Android fan, I have to submit to the consistency between iPhone versions themselves and the respective version of iOS the phones have installed. While having commonalities, Android suffers from customized differences between carriers and manufactures; the differences of which make switching phones, especially switching manufactures, convoluted when it comes to use. iPhones eliminate this when it comes to iOS as changes to the overall interface have been gradual and minimal at the same time. One of the biggest changes to come about has been with the rise of 5G and iOS 15.

The advent of 5G as a cellular protocol has greatly empowered cellular devices. The introduction of three (3) bandwidths (low, medium and high) gives the best of balance between range and data transmission. While previous versions of the iPhone are HD call quality capable, 5G will allow faster downloads, streaming and higher quality streams, along with FaceTime in HD where the supported 5G capabilities are available. In order to take advantage of these new cellular protocols the iOS needs to be kept up to date. While the focus of this article center around the iPhone 13, this one aspect is true for all iPhones, whether they support 5G or not. iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max and the iPhone SE 2020 and prior do not support 5G. With the introduction of 5G the iPhone iOS operating system has naturally had to evolve. This evolution includes some changes to both backup/restoration and sim activation.

In considering backup and restoration, iOS now supports three methods of backup/restoration from your old device. You now have not only the traditional iTunes backup from your computer, and iCloud backup (with some new welcome changes), but also the new device to device transfer method. Apple’s support pages have a good walk through worth referencing in addition to the instructions below. Each has advantages and disadvantages. All three methods begin with the same restoration/setup process on the new device.

iTunes Restoration

Restoring an iPhone using iTunes is pretty straight forward. It does require you to have a computer that supports iTunes (Mac or Windows), the iTunes software installed and the appropriate USB cable. You can download iTunes from Support.Apple.com <– download link. The instructions from Apple support are pretty straight forward, they are paraphrased here:

  • Connect your old phone to your computer
  • Open iTunes on your computer
  • Open the phone by clicking on the device button near the top left of the iTunes window
  • click on “Summary”
  • then click on “Backup Now” and follow the onscreen instructions

Once the back up is created, the process is similar to restore to the new iPhone:

  • Open iTunes on your computer
  • Open the phone by clicking on the device button near the top left of the iTunes window
  • click on “Summary” then click on “Restore” and follow the onscreen instructions
Attribution: support.apple.com

Do keep in mind you will need enough free space on the target PC you are using. The Apple ID / password combination must be the same for both the phone and iTunes. Beyond this restoration you can use iTunes to do periodic backups of you new iPhone so that in the event of a lost, replaced or damaged phone you can restore to a new device without worry of totally loosing all your data (just that between your last backup and the time of loss). The 10-15 minutes (or less) it takes to “sync” your phone with iTunes daily is time well spent. This method is the most preferred.

iCloud Restore

Probably the most used means of restoring an iPhone, it is also one of the most problematic and time consuming. Most phones have have a storage capacity well beyond the default 5Gb of storage the default iCloud affords. This one limitation alone can make restoring a phone impossible with iCloud restorations. iCloud, being dependent upon your internet connection speed and stability is also plagued with hanging up/stalling out, taking a long time and general failure. Backups and restorations can also be hampered if the batter falls below 50% – ensure you have your iPhone/iPad plugged into the device charger before beginning regardless of the amount of iCloud storage you have.

Luckily Apple has addressed the storage issue when you buy a new iPhone or iPad. Apple will let you use temporary iCloud storage to transfer data from your old phone/device to the new phone/device. The only thing you need for this temporary storage is to ensure your device is updated to iOS 15 and your Apple ID/password combination. Because of the time involved in this process some users may want to start this process prior to bed and allow the backup to proceed overnight. From there the Apple Support process is simple, with the old/current phone on a charger and connected to Wi-Fi:

  • Go to “Settings”
  • open “General”
  • click on “Transfer or Reset iPhone/iPad”
  • then select “Prepare for New iPhone/iPad”
  • At this point ensure that iCloud Backup is turned “On” to start the transfer. “If” you see a message saying you have insufficient iCloud storage, there should also be a message that says you are eligible to get free extra iCloud storage – simply click “Continue” to proceed.
  • From here it’s time to get something to drink and nibble on, watch a movie and/or practice your anger management/meditation as you wait for the backup to complete. Once the backup is finished Apple gives you 21 days to complete the restoration process.

Restoring to the new iPhone/iPad is a 5 step process. Per Support.Apple.com:

  • Turn on your new iPhone or iPad and follow the onscreen steps to begin setup.
  • On the Apps & Data screen, tap Restore from iCloud Backup.
  • Sign in to iCloud with your Apple ID and password.
  • Choose your most recent iCloud backup.
  • Wait for the restore to complete.
Attribution: Support.Apple.com

Once you’ve restored your new phone the iCloud backup will be available for an additional 7 days, after which it is permanently deleted. Naturally if you want to keep this backup you will have to upgrade your iCloud storage, which isn’t a bad idea in the event you loose your phone or it is destroyed beyond recoverability. You can upgrade via iCloud+ <– link. iCloud can also be managed using your Mac of Windows PC. Lean more about iCloud on Support.Apple.com <– linked.

iPhone to iPhone Transfer

Before you begin, make sure your old iPhone/device is updated to the latest release of iOS 15 (iOS 15.2 as 01/2022). The update is necessary as you must have “Quick Start” on both the old phone and the new phone. Apple also advises (as with the other restoration methods) that “you choose a time when you won’t need to use your current device for several minutes”, … or an hour or so as the case may be.

The instruction set appears long, but you will find there really aren’t many additional steps, and the restoration is really pretty seamless. Again, Apple has made this pretty easy. Apple Support’s instructions are:

A new iPhone showing the Quick Start screen. The instructions ask you to put your old device near your new one.
  1. Ensure you keep both iPhones/iPads close together … Apple’s instructions say “near” – use your best judgement.
  2. Plug the old phone into a charger.
  3. Turn on the old device first and allow it to boot and connect to you local Wi-Fi and ensure Bluetooth is turned on.
  4. Plug the new phone/device into it’s charger and turn on only after the old one is fully booted and connected to the internet. If this is the first time you are starting the new phone you will:
    • After Powering on the device, press the Home button to begin.
    • Select your language from the list.
    • Select your country / region from the list.
    • Choose a Wi-Fi network and, if prompted, enter the password then tap Join. If Wi-Fi is not available, tap Use Cellular Connection.
    • If the device is Activation Locked, enter the Apple ID and password.
    • Choose to enable or disable location services and tap Next.
    • Choose to setup Touch ID now or later and/or create a passcode.
    • You will be prompted to choose one of the following and tap Next (this is where you will select “Set Up as New Iphone”):
      • Restore from iCloud Backup
      • Restore from iTunes Backup
      • Set Up as New iPhone
      • Move Data from Android
  5. You may be necessary to go into Settings > General > Transfer and Reset iPhone > Setup New to start this process if the aforementioned doesn’t automatically begin when you first turn the phone on.
  6. On the new phone enter your Apple ID to set up your new device when prompted.
    • Make sure that it’s the correct Apple ID that you want to use, then tap “Continue” (if not you’ll be wasting a whole lot of time because you will have to reset the whole phone and start over).
    • If you don’t see the option to continue on your new iPhone/device check it to make sure that Bluetooth is turned on.
  7. After the Apple animation appears, hold your old iPhone over the new iPhone lining up the animation in the viewfinder of the old iPhone.
  8. Wait for a message that says “Finish on New iPhone” to appear and continue by using the new iPhone.
    • If your old iPhone’s camera doesn’t work you can tap “Authenticate Manually”, then follow the onscreen steps to complete the setup.
  9. You will be asked to enter your old iPhone’s passcode on your new iPhone – follow the instructions to set up Face ID or Touch ID on your new device if needed.
  10. When you see the “Transfer Data from [insert the name associated with the old phone] iPhone” screen, tap “Continue” to begin transferring your data from your old iPhone to your new iPhone, or you can tap “Other Options” to transfer apps, data, and settings from your most recent iCloud backup or transfer from a backup on your computer.

Keep your devices near each other and plugged in to power until the data migration process is complete. Transfer times can vary based on factors such as network conditions and the amount of data being transferred.

A few pointers to keep in mind when doing a device to device restoration.

  • The old phone “is the backup”. If you are exchanging it, selling it or using it with another iCloud account you will loose your data if isn’t backed up. iTunes and iCloud backups can be restored days, weeks, months, years later provided you maintain the storage locations.
  • A device to device restoration is typically considerably faster than an iCloud restoration, but comparable to an iTunes data transfer.
  • While comparable in speed to an iTunes restoration, it is more seamless in that you don’t have to worry about manipulating USB cables or navigating iTunes and storage locations.

There you have it, three ways to the same ends. All three of these methods will work regardless of carrier. Having managed Blackberry, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile business plans and devices, of all the phone manufacturers, Apple has been one of the best from a management and end-user experience. The device to device data transfer has become our preferred method of device restoration. Having set up literally hundreds of iPhone 13’s this is by far the most efficient. There is a second device to device transfer, from an Android to an iPhone. This process requires the app “Move to iOS” to be installed. A complete article will be dedicated to the Android to iPhone process. The only thing left to do with your new iPhone would be the activation.

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