Here's How Apple's New iPhone to iPhone Data Migration Feature Works in iOS 12.4

Apple this week released iOS 12.4, the newest version of iOS 12 available for iPhones and iPads. One of the new features in iOS 12.4 is an updated data migration option that uses device to device transfers rather than relying on iCloud.

Apple didn't provide much information on the new data migration feature, so we thought we'd check it out in our latest YouTube video.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

Setting up an iPhone using the new options uses the same Quick Start process that's been in place since iOS 11. When you get a new ‌iPhone‌, you simply need to hold your existing ‌iPhone‌ nearby to initiate the setup process on the new device.

Quick Start confirms your Apple ID and then uses the camera to pair the two devices to one another by scanning an animation. After the pairing process completes (which includes the setup of Touch ID and Face ID), you'll see the new "Transfer from ‌iPhone‌" option.

Transferring from ‌iPhone‌, as the name suggests, bypasses ‌iCloud‌ and migrates data from one ‌iPhone‌ to another in a device to device capacity, which means it's done offline.

Prior to Apple's introduction of this feature, Quick Start only offered a "Download from ‌iCloud‌" option which required an ‌iCloud‌ backup.

The new ‌iPhone‌ to ‌iPhone‌ option is a useful way to transfer data for those who only have 5GB of free Apple storage, as there's not always enough room to create an ‌iCloud‌ backup. It's also useful when Wi-Fi connection speeds are limited, and it will ultimately make it quicker to get a new ‌iPhone‌ up and running.

It works similarly to an ‌iCloud‌ backup or an iTunes backup, transferring over information like photos, app information, device preferences and settings, and more. App data is transferred over, but as with an ‌iCloud‌ backup, apps are downloaded directly from the App Store rather than from your existing ‌iPhone‌.

The amount of time that it takes to transfer data from one ‌iPhone‌ to another will vary based on what's on the existing ‌iPhone‌, but Apple provides a data transfer estimate on the main data transfer screen.

Using this method, it's faster to get photos, music, and other media from one ‌iPhone‌ to another because there's no longer a need to wait for that content to download from ‌iCloud‌.

The new ‌iPhone‌ to ‌iPhone‌ data transfer process requires both devices to be running the release version of iOS 12.4 or later, and it won't work on devices running earlier versions of iOS 12.

‌iPhone‌ to ‌iPhone‌ data transfers can be done over Wi-Fi, but there's also an option to transfer data using a wired connection by utilizing a USB3 Camera Adapter and a Lightning cable.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
15 months ago

So is this going to speed up that process compared to download from the Cloud?

I've alway started fresh! Clean slate to avoid cruft/unwanted random code. It can be a pain when bringing the phone back to normal use, but I feel its worth it!

What is “random code”? You a windows user by any chance? There is no “cruft”. You have iOS and then apps. Apps run in their container. There is nothing more to it. There is literally no difference between you setting up a device as new and installing and downloading your old things to it or doing a full device restore.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
15 months ago
This is just me, but, I always start fresh (except for contacts/calendar/notes/reminders) when I get a new phone. :)
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
15 months ago
this method should have been available a decade ago!
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
15 months ago

The only thing "new" in this process is that it no longer works with iOS 11 and has the option for connecting the devices by cable.

Used this method 3 wks ago to setup new iPP 11. The iPP came with 12.3.1 and I setup from by XR with had 13 b2. The pairing notifications said that both devices need iOS 11 or later. Setup was all wireless.
[doublepost=1563921447][/doublepost]
You are absolutely correct. It is much more sophisticated than a QR code.

If I understand it correctly the method used with iOS 11 and later is called Quick Start but requires an iCloud backup. This new method seems to be a variation on Quick Start that doesn’t need an iCloud backup. It transfers the data directly between the devices. So, it is completely new.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
15 months ago

QR codes lol. Apple fail.

"the two devices to one another by scanning an animation" It doesn't use QR codes. It's quite more complicated than a QR. Like when an :apple:watch pairs with a phone. Kind of a sparkly thing. Very complex.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
15 months ago

This is just me, but, I always start fresh (except for contacts/calendar/notes/reminders) when I get a new phone. :)

I may do that with my next phone, just to get rid of the cruft built up over time.

I've been restoring backups to upgrade my phone since my first iPhone (4) in 2010. Nine years of cruft! What's amazing is that everything still works smoothly.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

When Will the iPhone 12 Launch? Here's What We Know

Wednesday September 16, 2020 6:12 am PDT by
Yesterday's "Time Flies" Apple event saw the release of the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, iPad 8, and iPad Air 4, but no new iPhone models. Rumors before the event strongly alleged that it would not see the unveiling of new iPhones, with many reports pointing to an October launch. The lack of new iPhone models yesterday seems to confirm that the iPhone 12 lineup will not appear...

iOS 14 Picture in Picture No Longer Working With YouTube's Mobile Website in Safari [Without Premium]

Friday September 18, 2020 12:21 pm PDT by
Apple in iOS 14 added Picture in Picture to the iPhone, a feature designed to let you watch a video in a small screen on your device while you continue to do other things on the phone. When Picture in Picture was working with YouTube The YouTube app doesn't support Picture in Picture, but up until yesterday there was a functional workaround that allowed videos from YouTube.com to be watched...

Hands-On With the New Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE

Friday September 18, 2020 1:19 pm PDT by
Today's the official launch date for the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE, both of which Apple announced on Tuesday. We picked up a couple of the new models and thought we'd give them a quick look for MacRumors readers thinking of ordering a new watch. Apple Watch Series 6 & Apple Watch SE Hands-On! When it comes to design, both the $399 Series 6 and the $279 SE look just like...

Here's How You Can Download iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Around the World [It's Out]

Wednesday September 16, 2020 2:36 am PDT by
Apple's official public release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 dropped on Wednesday, September 16, just a day after the company released the Golden Master to third-party developers. Also set to be made available to the general public for the first time are watchOS 7 and tvOS 14. Getting Started With iOS 14 Video Click image to watch iOS 14 Getting Started While that's left a lot of developers...

Apple Releases iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 With Home Screen Redesign, App Library, Compact UI, Translate App, Scribble Support, App Clips, and More

Wednesday September 16, 2020 12:48 pm PDT by
Apple has released iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, the newest operating system updates designed for the iPhone and iPad. As with all of Apple's software updates, iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 can be downloaded for free. iOS 14 is available on the iPhone 6s and later, while iPadOS 14 is available on the iPad Air 2 and later. The updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To ...

iOS 14.2 Beta Adds New Shazam Music Recognition Feature for Control Center

Thursday September 17, 2020 3:36 pm PDT by
Apple today released the first beta of iOS 14.2 to developers for testing purposes, and the new update introduces a Music Recognition control for the Control Center. The new feature lets you discover music playing around you and it recognizes the music playing with in apps, even when you're wearing AirPods. Songs pop up as notifications, and you can tap to listen in Apple Music....

Apple Updates AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro Firmware to Version 3A283

Monday September 14, 2020 11:24 am PDT by
Apple today released new 3A283 firmware updates for the second-generation AirPods and the AirPods Pro. The second-generation AirPods are being updated from the 2D15 firmware they were previously running, while the AirPods Pros are being updated from the 2D27 firmware they had installed previously. Apple does not provide details on what's included in refreshed firmware so we don't know what's ...

Rumor Report Card: Assessing the Accuracy of Leaks After Apple's Event

Friday September 18, 2020 12:57 pm PDT by
Apple hosted its virtual "Time Flies" event this week, where it introduced four new products, including the Apple Watch Series 6, lower-cost Apple Watch SE, a 10.9-inch iPad Air with an all-screen design, and an updated 10.2-inch iPad with a faster A12 Bionic chip. As expected, there were no new iPhones, which are believed to be coming in October instead. Apple also announced that it will be ...

Epic Games Announces 'Fortnite: Save the World' Will No Longer Be Playable on macOS

Friday September 18, 2020 4:50 am PDT by
Epic Games has announced that "Fortnite: Save the World" will no longer be playable on macOS, after Apple terminated Epic Games' developer account. Fortnite has been in violation of the ‌App Store‌ rules since August 13, when it introduced a direct payment option that skirted Apple's in-app purchase system by allowing payments directly to ‌Epic Games‌. Shortly after Epic blatantly...

Deals: Cellular Carriers Introduce First Offers on Apple Watch Series 6 and SE

Friday September 18, 2020 7:43 am PDT by
With the launch of the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE today, cellular carriers have now introduced special offers for these new wearable devices. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. Starting with AT&T, if you buy one Apple Watch Series 3, Series...