Upgrading to a new iPhone | iLounge Article


Upgrading to a new iPhone

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Q: I am planning to get the iPhone 4 and give my iPhone 3G to my dad. How does one transfer the iPhone to another person? I would let my dad sync and create an account on his own. How do I wipe my phone so he can sync on his own? Will my existing iPhone apps sync to my new iPhone 4? Will it allow my dad to sync since the 3G serial number already registered under my name in iTunes?

- Alex

A: The process of both upgrading to a new iPhone and passing your old iPhone on to somebody else is actually quite straightforward.

When you get your new iPhone 4, simply connect your existing iPhone 3G to your computer running iTunes and ensure that it is backed up. This should happen automatically as soon as you sync your iPhone, but you can also force a backup manually by right-clicking on it in the Devices list on the left of your iTunes window and choosing the Backup option from the Context menu that appears.

You can also check to ensure that you have a current backup by going into your iTunes Preferences and checking the Devices tab:


Once you’re sure that you’ve backed up your existing iPhone, you can simply plug in the iPhone 4 and iTunes will prompt you to either set it up as a new iPhone or restore it from an existing backup.

Choosing the Restore option will restore all of your data and configuration settings onto your new iPhone, including data from third-party applications. The backup also includes information on which media content and apps you were syncing to your iPhone, so once the restore complets, iTunes will proceed to sync the same content onto the new iPhone that you have been syncing to your current model. Depending on how much content you normally sync with your iPhone this process may take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or two, but once complete, you iPhone 4 should be setup identically to your current iPhone 3G.

Once you’ve confirmed that everything is fine with the iPhone 4, you can then connect the iPhone 3G to your computer and perform a “Restore” operation on it to erase all of your data and return it to factory settings. This is done by connecting the iPhone, selecting it in the Devices listing and then clicking the “Restore” button that appears on the Summary screen:


This process erases everything on your iPhone and returns the device to the same state as a brand new iPhone. Normally once the restore process is complete the iPhone will restart and then iTunes will give you a prompt to set it up as a new phone or restore it from a previous backup. Instead, simply disconnect the iPhone from your computer after it reboots and it will be left in a brand new state, ready to be setup with iTunes on your dad’s computer. He can then plug it in and go through the normal setup process in the same way that he would if he had purchased a brand new iPhone.


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