If you've got a new iPhone 13 to replace your current iPhone, there are a few ways you can migrate your data across to the new device. You can restore your apps, data, and settings from your most recent iCloud backup, restore from a backup on your computer, or you can use device-to-device migration to transfer your data directly from your previous ‌iPhone‌ to your new one. There are currently known issues with restoring your data from a backup, so this article focuses on how to perform a wireless device-to-device migration.

iphone 13 vs iphone 12
Without doubt, device-to-device migration will be the most convenient option for most owners of a new ‌iPhone 13‌. It transfers over information like photos, app data, login credentials, device preferences and settings, and more. As with an ‌‌iCloud‌‌ backup, apps themselves are downloaded directly from the App Store rather than from your existing ‌‌iPhone‌‌. It may take a little longer than restoring from a backup, but the time saved from not having to log into all your apps again makes it worth the wait, which is why this process trumps the other transfer methods.

The following steps outline the Quick Start process that you can use to perform a wireless device-to-device migration. As always when transferring data between devices, make sure you have made a backup of your current ‌iPhone‌, just in case anything untoward happens during the migration process.

It's also worth noting that if your current ‌iPhone‌ has an eSim plan, you'll be asked to "Transfer Cellular Plan" while setting up your ‌iPhone 13‌: You can either select the numbers you want to transfer or opt to Decide Later to complete the plan transfer after you've set up your ‌iPhone‌.

  1. Plug both iPhones into a power outlet, turn on your new ‌iPhone 13‌ and place it near your current ‌iPhone‌, which needs to be running iOS 12.4 or later for the transfer to work. The Quick Start screen will appear on your current ‌iPhone‌ and offer the option of using your Apple ID to set up your new device. Make sure that it's the ‌Apple ID‌ that you want to use, then tap Continue.
  2. Hold up your current ‌iPhone‌ and center the camera's viewfinder over the animation that appears on your ‌iPhone 13‌. Wait for a message that says "Finish on New ‌iPhone‌."
    set up iphone 13

  3. When prompted, enter your current passcode on your new ‌iPhone 13‌.
  4. Follow the instructions to set up Face ID on your ‌iPhone 13‌.
  5. Tap Transfer from ‌iPhone‌ to start transferring your data to your ‌iPhone 13‌. You should be given the choice of whether to transfer some additional settings, such as Apple Pay and Siri, to your new ‌iPhone‌.
  6. If you have an Apple Watch paired to your current ‌iPhone‌, you'll be asked if you want to transfer your Apple Watch data and settings.
  7. Keep the two iPhones near each other and plugged into power until the data migration process is finished.

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.

If the wireless network you're relying on is too slow, you can perform the data migration using a wired connection, but for that you'll need a Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adaptor and a Lightning to USB Cable. Connect the Camera Adaptor into your current ‌iPhone‌, then plug the Lightning to USB Cable into your ‌iPhone 13‌ and the other end into the adaptor. You'll then be able to follow the steps outlined above.

If you plan to sell or trade in your old ‌iPhone‌ to get a bit of extra cash, make sure to adequately erase everything on it to get it ready for its next owner.

Related Roundups: iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro
Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

bmodi Avatar
9 weeks ago
Also a restore is a "clean install". I think most misunderstand a "data transfer".
What it does is not to directly send everything from the old to the new. Just the settings get overtaken, which apps you had and so on. However all apps everything gets downloaded from the App Store like you would do it in case you do a manual setup. No difference. But overtaking it from the old Iphone will save you a lot of time!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DC101 Avatar
9 weeks ago
So at what stage do you swap the sim over?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wyarp Avatar
9 weeks ago
First time I experienced the 'device to device' migration by just holding the 2 phones next 2 each other 2 years ago with the iPhone 11Pro. By far the easiest most straightforward data transfer I've ever had. So much better than all the faff we used to have to endure backing everything up, plugging everything in etc.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
R Kenny Avatar
9 weeks ago
One great outcome for me was that the side-by-side transfer method allowed all of my music to be transferred - even the albums/songs I had ripped from CDs. Previously I had to use a third party app (e.g. iMazing) to transfer the music from a backup on my MacBook. The whole process took 45 minutes and was seamless. Well done Apple.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RealMonster Avatar
9 weeks ago

I’m just going with a clean install. It’s slower overall but at least I get to control the order so the things I need are there first.
The only problem with clean installs is things like stickers or apps that aren't available anymore won't be available, even if you still use them on your current device. If you transfer, it keeps them. That might not be an issue for you, but I was bummed when I found some of the stuff that I was using didn't show up on my fresh install.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dingo Dave 69 Avatar
9 weeks ago
Tempted to setup as a new iPhone as a fresh start and to avoid carrying over any potential bugs. Can someone tell me if the health data will transfer over once I sign into iCloud and also how do I sync my new phone to my Apple Watch without losing my activity records to date?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

facebook transfer

How to Export Facebook Notes and Text-Based Posts

Tuesday April 20, 2021 1:13 am PDT by
Facebook has introduced a tool that lets users export notes and text-based posts to third-party services, making it easier than ever to leave the social network without saying goodbye to your content. The new "data portability types" mean people can now directly transfer their notes and posts to Google Docs, Blogger and WordPress. The updates are extensions to Facebook's existing tool that...
erase content settings monterey

How to Erase All Content and Settings on Mac

Wednesday October 27, 2021 8:33 pm PDT by
Following in the footsteps of the iPhone and iPad, Apple silicon Macs and Intel Macs with a T2 security chip (2017-2020 models) now have an "Erase All Content and Settings" option available in macOS Monterey. This article explains what the option does and how and when to use it. Traditionally, wiping a Mac and returning it to factory settings involved manually signing out of a range of...
Whatsapp Feature

How to End-to-End Encrypt Your WhatsApp Chat Backups in iCloud

Friday October 15, 2021 1:03 am PDT by
WhatsApp end-to-end encrypted backups are now rolling out for iPhone users, Facebook has announced. Until now, WhatsApp let users back up their chat history to ‌‌iCloud‌‌, but the messages and media contained in the backups weren't protected by WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption while in ‌‌Apple's cloud servers‌. End-to-end encryption ensures only you and the person you're...
transfer from icloud to google photos feature2

How to Transfer Your Apple iCloud Photos to Google Photos

Thursday March 4, 2021 9:02 am PST by
If you're looking for a quick and easy way to transfer your iCloud photos to Google Photos, look no further. Apple now offers a service that's designed to streamline the process of moving your photos and videos to Google's cloud platform. Keep reading to learn how it works and how to get started with it. First of all, make sure that Apple's iCloud-to-Google Photos transfer service is available ...
Monterey Mac as External Monitor Feature

How to Clean Install macOS Monterey Easily Using the New Erase Mac Option

Monday October 25, 2021 1:45 pm PDT by
Apple today released macOS 12 Monterey, and whenever a new operating system is released for the Mac, some users prefer to perform a clean installation. This article explains how to perform what is effectively a clean install of Monterey using a brand new option that's available on Apple silicon-powered Macs and Intel Macs with a T2 security chip. Clean installing macOS is often done to...
apple maps icon ios 15 beta 2

How to Get a List of Directions in Apple Maps

Monday November 15, 2021 6:11 pm PST by
After several years of iterations and improvements, Apple Maps has become a solid app and a viable Google Maps alternative for getting GPS-based directions to navigate journeys by car, public transport, bicycle, and on foot. Depending on the journey though, you may want to print off a list of turn-by-turn directions to refer to instead of relying on your iPhone and draining the battery. Or...
beats fit pro feature

How to Use Apple's Live Listen Feature With Beats Fit Pro

Monday November 15, 2021 6:16 pm PST by
Since 2014, Apple has included a little-known feature in iOS called Live Listen that allows an iPhone or iPad to serve as a remote microphone for an MFI-compatible hearing aid. In iOS 14.3 and later, Live Listen supports Beats Fit Pro, Apple's sporty Beats-branded earphones, making it possible to use your iOS device as a directional mic and have the audio relayed to your ears. As an...
Whatsapp Feature

How to Use WhatsApp on Mac Without a Connected iPhone

Monday November 8, 2021 11:09 am PST by
WhatsApp has rolled out multi-device support to all users on iOS and Android, allowing WhatsApp to be used on up to four linked devices without users needing to be connected via a smartphone. Previously, the WhatsApp mobile app was required to authenticate an account used on another device, such as a computer, and used a QR code to link a user account to a web browser or desktop app. While...
Recovery Contact Feature

iOS 15: How to Set a Recovery Contact for Your Apple ID Account

Thursday October 14, 2021 11:36 am PDT by
Losing your Apple ID password can make your digital life a misery, because it can leave you locked out of the account that you use to manage your Apple devices, unable to access your iCloud data and manage your app and service subscriptions. In this scenario, Apple can't just reset your password for you, especially if your have two-factor authentication enabled. Setting up a recovery is one ...
airplay monterey thumb 2

How to AirPlay Music and Video From iPhone or iPad to Mac

Monday November 1, 2021 11:48 am PDT by
Thanks to the release of macOS Monterey, Apple has introduced full AirPlay support on Mac, which means you can now AirPlay content from an iPhone or iPad straight to your Mac, or even from one Mac to another Mac. With Monterey installed, your Mac can also function as an AirPlay 2 speaker source, allowing you to wirelessly stream music or podcasts from an Apple device to a Mac or use the...