How to Use Automatic Setup in iOS 11 to Get Your New iPhone 8 Up and Running Quick

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.

  1. Power on your new device.

  2. After choosing your language, you'll see a "Set Up Your iPhone (or iPad)" prompt.

  3. When this appears, place your existing iOS device near the new device to initiate Automatic Setup.

  4. Your existing device will show a pop up letting you know you can use Automatic Setup. Tap "Continue" to start.

  5. 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.

  6. In an area with decent lighting, hold the existing device's camera over the image to pair.

  7. Enter the passcode from your existing device on the new device.

  8. 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.



Top Rated Comments

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14 months ago
I still use iTunes backup for upgrades to make sure all apps etc go across too.

iCloud backup has never been sufficient for a device to device transfer in my eyes, and is only good for unplanned device loss/damage
Rating: 6 Votes
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14 months ago
I'd rather be patient and restore the whole device. Doesn't take long on my home Internets.
Rating: 3 Votes
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14 months ago
Yeah, still don’t see why it can’t transfer EVERYTHING. It takes hours to get all the data and apps redone even with iTunes since the App Store is hammered on launch day and there is no way to actually backup and restore a phone image.
Rating: 2 Votes
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14 months ago
I've updated the post, please give it a look and let me know if I've made it clearer what Automatic Setup does and does not do. Also, let me know if there's anything else I should add. Thanks for the feedback, guys :)
Rating: 2 Votes
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14 months ago
I really think this is more for Apple Store employees to use on customer devices when they replace them (upgrades, warranty replacements, etc.) As it is now they walk through the prompts but this might let them simply put the old next to the new to get it going then have you wipe the old before they take it away.
This has marginal convenience at home though.
Rating: 2 Votes
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14 months ago

I've updated the post, please give it a look and let me know if I've made it clearer what Automatic Setup does and does not do. Also, let me know if there's anything else I should add. Thanks for the feedback, guys :)


Thanks for the great article!

I think the confusion is from a couple things, both of which would be helpful if addressed in the article.

1) why would anyone use this feature when restoring from an iCloud or iTunes backup not only does the same thing, but does more? IOW, what’s the purpose of this feature if it is not going to restore all of your data? Is there a large portion of the population who do not want to restore their apps? It seems like this only serves a small portion of iPhone users, and may even be confusing to them since they likely will think that it is going to move all of their data. Most iPhone users are not people that comment on the Macrumors forms (most of the people here are fairly tech savvy), and genuinely need things to be somewhat dummy proof. I can see this feature causing even more confusion among the general public.

2) why use this feature first, and then do a restore from iCloud or iTunes back up? Isn’t that redundant?
Rating: 1 Votes
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14 months ago
so basically it saves us from typing in your Apple ID and dealing with TSV/TSA and yadda yadda. lol that’s cool /s
Rating: 1 Votes
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14 months ago
“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.”

So what’s the point then?
Rating: 1 Votes
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14 months ago
Mine failed as well. Can't recall the message I got. Maybe partially worked? Hard to tell since this go round of phone switching was painful and ultimately required changing settings on the wifi (lots of "unexpected error" messages anytime needed to enter AppleID, contact App Store).
[doublepost=1506178085][/doublepost]


Is [encrypted iCloud backups] new? In the past, iCloud wasn’t ‘encrypted’ so it never saves any passwords


Not that new. 2.5yrs, maybe. I recall when HealthApp first popped up, people were complaining about iCloud backups not saving that information due to lack of encryption. Was corrected not that long after iirc.

Anyway, per this link, backups are encrypted.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202303

And this link, it is about iTunes backups, but, does state iCloud backups are automatically encrypted.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205220
Rating: 1 Votes
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14 months ago

Now that I think about it, all this does is transfer wifi settings and iCloud sign in. You still have to “restore” from iCloud backup.

Yep. Here are the items that are transferred according to Apple ('https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208067'):

"Automatic Setup signs you in to iCloud, Keychain, iTunes, App Store, iMessage, and FaceTime with your Apple ID"
Rating: 1 Votes
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