How to transfer contacts from iPhone to iPhone | Transfer backup from old iPhone to new iPhone

Two ways to move apps, music and contacts from one iPhone to another

We show you how to move contacts from one iPhone to another. The simple way to set up your new iPhone by transferring contacts, apps and more from one iPhone to another. 

In general we are going to presume that you are transferring contacts and apps from your old iPhone to a new handset. But if you are transferring between two in-use iPhones, you need to erase the device to which you are transferring. On that iPhone go to Settings, General, Reset, Erase All Content and Settings. This will erase any data that’s currently on your device.

How to transfer contacts from iPhone to iPhone
How to transfer contacts from iPhone to iPhone

Transfer contacts from iPhone to iPhone via iCloud backup

It is best to do this either first thing in the morning if you can afford to leave your phone plugged in to power and wireless throughout the day, or last thing at night, for reasons we will explain at the end.

First we must connect the old iPhone to the internet via Wi-Fi. A cellular connection won’t do, for obvious reasons (it is the old, SIM-free iPhone).

Now, presuming you have iOS 8 or later installed, go to Settings, then iCloud, and then Backup. (This is only slightly different in iOS 7 or earlier. Here you go to Settings, iCloud, Storage & Backup. You’d have worked that out, right?). In both cases, you first make sure that iCloud Backup is enabled. Then hit Back Up Now, and wait for the process to role through. You will need to stay on Wi-Fi throughout.

When you think that the backup may have completed, go to Settings, iCloud, Storage, Manage Storage. Your backup should appear with the correct date, as well as a reasonable size for all the data you have secured. Make a note of the date and the size.

Now it is time to transfer your SIM card from one iPhone to another iPhone. If your carrier gave you a new SIM card, simply put it in your new iPhone. If you are keeping the same SIM, you need to physically move the SIM from the old phone to the new phone. If you are not sure, try. Just put the old SIM in the new phone. The only reason you would need to change is if the new iPhone has a smaller SIM slot that does the old one. If it does, ring your carrier and they will send you a new SIM (you’ll need to put the SIM back in the old phone to make the call, of course.

Once the whole nasty SIM business is dealt with, it is time to transfer your iCloud backup to your new iPhone.

Power on your new iPhone. This being Apple, a “Hello” screen will appear. Ignore this passive-aggressive cheeriness and swipe left to right. Follow the steps until you see the Wi-Fi screen. You will need to join a Wi-Fi network to transfer the backup, so do that now.

Follow the steps suggested until you reach the Apps & Data screen. You will see an option entitled: Restore from iCloud Backup. Hit that, and then select Next. Enter your Apple ID and password.

Now choose the backup we made earlier – you can tell which one it is by the date and the size. As soon as you select it the transfer will start. You need to stay on Wi-Fi. This may take some time, depending on the size of your backup.

(At this stage you may be asked to input other Apple ID details. This is because at some stage you have used multiple Apple IDs, and so to complete the full backup Apple needs all of the data. Don’t worry if you don’t have them to hand, you can always cancel out of that small part of the process).

The process should now just run through.

Congratulations, your iPhone is all transferred. It will continue to download data in the background as you go about your business, which is why we recommend leaving your phone plugged in an on the Wi-Fi for a few hours.

iTunes backup
iTunes backup

Transfer contacts from iPhone to iPhone using iTunes

If you don’t use iCloud, this method works just fine. Its a bit old school, but hey – you use an iPhone (just kidding lads).

The process is similar: make an iTunes backup of your current iPhone, then install said backup on your new Apple phone. First we will create that backup.

Use your Lightning cable to connect your iPhone to your PC or Mac. Open iTunes – if prompted, download and install the latest update. When prompted, synch your iPhone with the PC or Mac.

Now select your iPhone, from the iTunes interface. We are going to save the things you have purchase from either iTunes or the App Store. Head to File, then Devices, and then choose Transfer Purchases. All you have to do is wait and those apps and media files will be transferred.

After this process completes, and before you unhook your iPhone, it is important to make sure that your backup finished successfully. Go to iTunes Preferences, and then Devices. You should see the name of your iPhone, along with the date and time that iTunes created the backup. Take a note of these details, as this is the backup you want to use on your new iPhone.

Now we are going to transfer your SIM, in much the same way as we did when using iCloud. In fact, in exactly the same way:

If your carrier gave you a new SIM card, simply put it in your new iPhone. If you are keeping the same SIM, you need to physically move the SIM from the old phone to the new phone. If you are not sure, try. Just put the old SIM in the new phone.

The only reason you would need to change is if the new iPhone has a smaller SIM slot that does the old one. If it does, ring your carrier and they will send you a new SIM (you’ll need to put the SIM back in the old phone to make the call, of course.

Once the whole pesky SIM business is dealt with, it is time to transfer your iTunes backup to your new iPhone.

Restore iPhone from backup
Restore iPhone from backup

Turn on your new iPhone. You’ll see that perky/annoying “Hello” screen. Swipe left to right on that “Hello” screen and follow the steps until you reach the Wi-Fi screen. Now use the cable to connect the new iPhone to the PC or Mac on which you backed up the old iPhone. On the Wi-Fi screen on your new iPhone tap Connect to iTunes.

Now follow the onscreen guidance until you hit the Apps & Data screen, then choose Restore from iTunes Backup, and next. Enter your Apple ID and password, and choose the backup you made before (using the date and time you recorded previously). As soon as you select the backup it will start to transfer to the new iPhone.

All you have to do now is wait for the transfer process to complete. Then finish the remaining setup steps as prompted on your iPhone, and sync the other content you downloaded. As before, you are advised to keep the new iPhone connected to a power source and on Wi-Fi in order that all of your media and other files can download.