Migrating from iPod touch to iPad


Q: I have an iPod touch and am looking at upgrading to an iPad. Can I copy over my applications, files, photographs and music? If so how do I do so?

Migrating from iPod touch to iPad

– David

A: Assuming that all of your content is already in your iTunes library and you’ve backed up your iPod touch to iTunes, you basically just have to plug the iPad into your computer. iTunes normally makes backups of your iPod touch automatically whenever you plug it in; these backups include your settings and preferences, application data, and any photos or videos in your device’s Camera Roll or Saved Photos sections. The backup does not include data that would have been synced to your device from iTunes in the first place such as music, videos, applications, books or photos.

You can check the status of your backups by opening your iTunes Preferences and selecting the Devices tab.

If you are using automatic synchronization with iTunes, all of your media content and applications should already be in your iTunes library. On the other hand, if you’ve been managing your media content manually and have either erased content from your iTunes library or purchased items directly on your device you will want to double-check your device content against your iTunes library. Purchased items can be transferred back using the “Transfer Purchases” option found on the File menu; other content will require the use of a third-party utility. See Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer for more information.

When you first connect a new device, iTunes will ask whether you want to set it up as a brand new device or restore it from a prior backup. Backups are not device- or model-specific, so you can restore a backup made from your iPod touch onto your new iPad provided the iOS versions match—you generally won’t be able to restore a backup made from a newer iOS version onto a device running an older version. In some cases, new iPads may still have an older iOS version loaded on them, in which case you will need to set it up as a new device and check for and install any available updates before you can restore your backup to it. You can restore a backup onto a device manually by right-clicking on it’s name in the Devices listing in iTunes and choosing the “Restore from Backup” option.

Restoring a device from backup is actually a two-stage process; the first stage restores the actual backup package that includes the preferences, settings, and application data, after which the device reboots and begins a normal iTunes sync to install the applications themselves along with your selected media content. Once this process completes, however, your new device should have all of the same settings, applications and media content as the old one and you should be ready to go. You can even continue using the old device, although keep in mind that application data will not synchronize between the two devices unless the application provides its own specific synchronization features.


Photo of author

Jesse Hollington

Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.