iOS 11 includes a new "Automatic Setup" feature, which is aimed at making it quicker to get a new device ready to use right out of the box. Automatic Setup streamlines the setup process for new iPhones and iPads, transferring over preferences, Apple ID and Wi-Fi info, preferred settings, and iCloud Keychain passwords.
Automatic Setup is not the same as restoring from an iCloud backup and it does not offer full device-to-device content transfer. After transferring settings using Automatic Setup, you will still need to transfer over app data by restoring from a backup, a step available after Automatic Setup is complete.
When you buy a new device, Automatic Setup will pop up automatically, but there are some steps to follow to get everything transferred over.
- Power on your new device.
- After choosing your language, you'll see a "Set Up Your iPhone (or iPad)" prompt.
- When this appears, place your existing iOS device near the new device to initiate Automatic Setup.
- Your existing device will show a pop up letting you know you can use Automatic Setup. Tap "Continue" to start.
- An Apple Watch-style pairing image will appear on the new device, and you'll be instructed to scan it with the camera on your existing device.
- In an area with decent lighting, hold the existing device's camera over the image to pair.
- Enter the passcode from your existing device on the new device.
- From there, all of your data starts transferring over to the new device.
After Automatic Setup, you'll need to go through the Touch ID, Siri, and Wallet setup processes, but your other information is synced over. An "Express Settings" feature further speeds up new device activation, automatically enabling Find My iPhone, location services, and analytics. If you don't want these options enabled, tap on "Customize Settings" to change them.
At this point, you can restore all of your apps and app data from an iCloud backup, or set a device up as new. You will need to use the iCloud backup step for a full content transfer from your old device to your new device as Automatic Setup is only for settings and bypassing some of the setup steps that can take several minutes.
To use Automatic Setup, both of the devices involved need to be running the iOS 11 update, so it's perfect for customers who are receiving an iPhone 8 or 8 Plus and have already upgraded their previous-generation devices to iOS 11.