Transferring data to a new iPhone 5 without iCloud
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: I am planning to purchase a new iPhone 5, but my old phone is 3GS. How do I transfer my data over if I don’t have iCloud on the 3GS?
A: Although iCloud can provide the advantage of a mostly “PC free” transfer of data between iOS devices, the older tried-and-true method of synchronizing via iTunes continues to be supported even with iOS 6 and the iPhone 5. In fact, even for iCloud users, the iTunes-based method is generally faster, since you’re transferring data from your computer using a direct USB connection rather than downloading it from the Internet. Further, iCloud will only restore your settings, data and applications onto your iOS device—media content such as music and videos will still need to be loaded back on via iTunes (unless you’ve also subscribed to iTunes Match for your music).
The basic process for migrating between iOS devices is relatively straightforward, particularly if you already have all of your media and apps stored in your iTunes library. Right before you setup your new iPhone 5, simply connect your old iPhone to your computer and back it up using iTunes. A backup should be performed automatically each time you sync your iPhone with iTunes, but you can also force a manual backup at any time simply by right-clicking on your iPhone in the Devices listing in iTunes and choosing “Back Up” from the context menu that appears.
This backup will include all of your application data and device settings, along with a list of the applications and media content stored on your iPhone; in order to save space and transfer time, the backup does not include the actual apps and media content, since this is presumably available in your iTunes library and can be copied back from there.
You can then connect your iPhone 5 to iTunes when prompted during the initial setup process and restore the backup from there. The first time you connect your new iPhone, iTunes will offer you an opportunity to restore from a previous backup; simply choose the backup you just made from your iPhone 3GS.
This will restore all of your data and settings after which your iPhone will reboot and begin resyncing your applications and media content (e.g. music, videos, podcasts, etc) from your iTunes library. Once this process has completed, your iPhone 5 should basically have all of the same settings, apps and data from your original iPhone 3GS, although you may need to re-enter some of your passwords for things like e-mail accounts due to the secure, hardware-specific way in which this data is stored on iOS devices.
Note that if you have not been keeping your media content or apps in iTunes, you will need to copy these items into your library separately from your old iPhone, since as discussed above the standard iTunes backups do not include this content—the backup process expects that the originals can simply be retransferred from your library. For apps and media purchased from the iTunes Store, you can do this using the “Transfer Purchases” feature found on the File menu in iTunes; music from other sources that’s not in your iTunes library will need to be copied back using third-party utilities. See our article on Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer for more information on how to go about doing this.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Screen protector installation now available at Apple Stores
- Russia mulling tax increase on App Store purchases, other Apple services
- Lawyers threaten to sue Apple over ‘Error 53’ codes disabling iPhones
- Apple releases iOS 9.3 beta 3, tvOS 9.2 beta 3, watchOS 2.2 beta 3 to developers
- Indie game ‘The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth’ rejected by Apple over violence toward children
- Apple likely to receive approval to open retail stores in India
- Study finds Apple Watch is best fitness tracker for privacy, security
- Conflicting reports over pink color to be featured in iPhone 5se
- Report: Some third-party repairs ‘bricking’ iPhones with iOS 9
- Report: Apple to bid on NFL Thursday Night Football streaming rights
- Gumdrop Cases DropTech Case for iPad Pro
- Edifier MP700 Rave Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- Just Mobile HoverDock for Apple Watch + HoverDock for iPhone
- VRS Design Dandy Layered Case for iPad Pro
- Just Mobile TENC for iPad Pro
- Native Union DOCK Lightning
- Native Union DOCK for Apple Watch
- Hitcase Pro+ Action Pack and Snap for iPhone 6/6s
- Urban Armor Gear Trooper for iPhone 6/6s
- NEBO CaseBrite for iPhone 6 Plus/6s Plus
- Inside the betas: What’s new in iOS 9.3 and tvOS 9.2 (Updated)
- Life with HomeKit: Our experiences with Apple’s home automation system
- Under the Radar: 10 ‘hidden’ details about the new Apple TV
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.0
- Under the Radar: A closer look at smaller iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus changes
- A First Look at iOS 9’s Transit in Apple Maps (Updated for watchOS 2)
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iTunes 12.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 8.4 + Apple Music
- CE Week 2015: IK Multimedia, Monowear’s Apple Watch bands + More
- Live From CE Week 2015: Brand New iPad, iPhone + Mac Accessories!