How to transfer passwords to your new iPhone with iTunes backup

iOS backups make it very easy to restore your new device from a backup of your old device, so it is in a ready to use state with all your settings, apps and data. You don’t have to go through the hassle of reconfiguring your new device to your liking, but you would still have to enter your mail account and other passwords again. Here’s a tip to make the transition from an old device to a new one even more seamless.

However, you may have noticed, that after restoring your new device from a backup, you need to re-enter the passwords, which is quite painful.

In case you’re not aware, iTunes has a solution for this problem. While iTunes doesn’t normally back up passwords when backing up your device, if you select the “Encrypt iPhone backup” option, the keychain information (which includes email account passwords, Wi-Fi passwords, and passwords you enter into websites and some other applications) will also be backed up.

By encrypting the backup, you can transfer the keychain information to the new device. With an unencrypted backup, you can restore the keychain only to the same iOS device.

Here are the step-by-step instructions to enable encrypted iTunes backups:

  • Open iTunes, connect your device, and select it from the top-right section in iTunes.
itunes backup step 1
  • Go to the “Summary” section, scroll to Backups, and enable the “Encrypt iPhone backup” option.
itunes backup step 2
  • When you check encrypt, iTunes will prompt you to enter a password for the backup. Once you’re done entering and confirming the password, you can tell iTunes to even save the password in your keychain so that you don’t have to remember it.
itunes backup step 3
  • Once you’re done, iTunes should automatically initiate a backup of your device, but if it doesn’t you can hit the “Back up now” button to manually start a backup.

Now when you get a new device, along with all your apps and data, even your email account passwords, Wi-Fi passwords, and passwords you enter into websites and some other applications will be restored to it. This will work even when you set up your new iPad or iPod touch.

Please note that this option is available only when you take a backup using iTunes, it is not available when you take a backup using iCloud currently. But it is coming soon thanks to the iCloud Keychain feature in OS X Mavericks and iOS 7.

Hope this tip (or reminder) makes it even more easier to set up your next iOS device.