How to Transfer Data from Old iPhone to iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, or iPhone 12 Pro Max

transfer data from old iphone to iphone 12 pro

Got yourself a new iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, or iPhone 12 Pro Max and now looking to transfer data from your old iPhone? Apple has got you covered on that front. The company offers a number of ways to bring over data from your old iPhone and the entire process is relatively easy as well.

Up until 2018, Apple offered two different methods to transfer data from your old iPhone to a new one: iCloud and iTunes. The former relied on creating an iCloud backup of your iPhone and then restoring it during setup on the new iPhone. The second one relies on connecting your old iPhone to a PC running iTunes, creating a backup, and then restoring it on a new iPhone.

With iOS 12.4 though, Apple introduced a new Migration Utility that makes the entire process even easier. If you have access to your old iPhone, I will strongly recommend you to use the Migration Utility as it is faster and more convenient than the iCloud and iTunes methods.

The iCloud backup method requires that you have access to a fast Wi-Fi connection and have plenty of free storage space on iCloud as well. You might require to purchase additional iCloud storage for this. The iTunes method does not have any such limitation but it requires access to a PC. The advantage with the iTunes and iCloud method is that it does not require that you have access to your old iPhone while setting up your new iPhone. You can create a backup before selling the device and then restore it on your new iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 12 whenever you get it.

You can also follow the video below to know how to transfer data from your old iPhone to iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, or iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Transfer Data from Old iPhone to iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, or iPhone 12 Pro Max

Things to Know About iPhone’s Migration Tool

  • You start the migration process by simply bringing your old iPhone near your new iPhone. Make sure that Bluetooth is enabled on both devices.
  • While the process can be done wirelessly, one can also use a Lightning cable along with an appropriate adapter to transfer data over a wired connection.
  • You will have to use the same Apple ID on your new iPhone as your old iPhone.
  • Depending on the amount of data to be transferred, the entire process can easily take an hour or two.
  • Apart from transferring your data, you have the option of transferring your system settings as well.
  • You will also be prompted to select if you would like to automatically pair your Apple Watch with the new iPhone. Neat!
  • All apps will be downloaded from the App Store so you will need an active (and speedy) internet connection during the process.
  • Your old iPhone must be running iOS 12.4 or newer.

Step 1: Bring Both iPhones Close to Each Other

With your new iPhone at the setup process, bring the old iPhone close to it. This will bring up the Quick Start pop-up on your old iPhone. Tap Continue on the pop-up and confirm your identity using Touch ID or Face ID.

set up new iPhone

Step 2: Scan the Animation on Your New iPhone from Your Old iPhone

To pair both phones, you will have to scan the object being displayed on your new iPhone using your old phone. In case the camera on your old iPhone is not working, you can use the Authenticate Manually option. This will help complete the pairing process.

Step 3: Set up Face ID on Your New iPhone

Enter the passcode of your old iPhone on your new iPhone. After a minute, you will be prompted to set up Face ID on your new device.

Step 4: Decide How You Want to Transfer Data

Once you are done setting up Face ID, you will get an option to transfer data from your old iPhone or use iCloud to restore an old backup. Both options will display the amount of time required for the entire process to complete.

transfer data from old iPhone - Options

You have to select the Transfer from iPhone option. Use Other Options at the bottom if you want to transfer data between your old and new iPhone over a wired connection.

Step 5: Proceed with the Setup Process 

Continue with the setup process where you will have to accept a few terms and conditions. After that, the actual data transfer process will start which can take anywhere between a few minutes to an hour or two depending on the amount of data you have on the old iPhone.

Unpair Apple Watch

If you have an Apple Watch and you’re planning to move content to your new iPhone, then you need to unpair your Apple Watch from your current iPhone first. This will automatically backup your watch. Your Apple Watch is also automatically backed up every time you back up your iPhone to iTunes or iCloud.

Set up Another Device for 2-Step Verification

Apple makes it mandatory to enable 2FA (two-factor authentication) for your Apple account. And your old iPhone is already set as the primary device for 2-step verification. It is advisable to set up another trusted device. This will allow you to verify your Apple ID while setting up your new iPhone.

You can then transfer the data from your old iPhone to the new iPhone 12 using iTunes or iCloud by following these instructions below.

Make a Backup Using iTunes

  • Ensure that you’ve installed the latest version of iTunes. You can update it via Software Update or download it from Apple’s website.
  • Connect your iPhone to a computer with the latest version of iTunes installed.
  • Select your old iPhone in iTunes under Devices.
  • Click on File > Devices > Transfer Purchases to save content you’ve download from the iTunes Store or App Store.
  • If you also want to transfer passwords, health, and activity data to your new iPhone then you’ll need to encrypt iPhone backup. This will backup your keychain information, which includes email account passwords, Wi-Fi passwords, and passwords you enter into websites along with health and activity data. Select the box called Encrypt [device] backup and select a password. Do not forget this password as then you will not be able to restore the backup on your iPhone.
  • Click Back Up Now.
  • To make sure the backup was successful, go to iTunes Preferences > Devices. You should see the name of your old iPhone along with the date and time of the latest backup.

Now you can transfer your iTunes backup to your new iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro.

Transfer iTunes Backup to iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, or iPhone 12 Pro Max

  • Turn on your new iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro. When your device turns on, follow the on-screen instructions.iPhone Restore Data iTunes - Options
  • When prompted to Set Up iPhone, tap on Restore from iTunes Backup.
  • Now connect your new iPhone to iTunes (on the same computer you used to back up your old iPhone).
  • iTunes will ask you to restore from backup or set up as new. Select the backup of your old device and choose Continue (Ensure that iTunes is showing you the latest backup of your old iPhone). Please note that restoring from the backup can be a time-consuming process and depends on the size of the backup and on the speed of your Internet connection.
  • When the restore process is complete, your new iPhone will restart. Then it will be ready for use. You should keep your new iPhone connected to iTunes to sync data not contained in the backup (such as music, videos, apps, and so on).
  • You can verify and change which data are synced by clicking the syncing tabs in iTunes.
  • If you haven’t encrypted your iPhone backup, then you will also need to enter your password for your Apple ID, email, and other accounts, and voicemail again. The passwords are not restored to a new device due to security reasons.

Make a Backup Using iCloud

  • iCloud backs up your device once a day. But it is good practice to backup your old device to iCloud one last time before migrating so nothing is missed out. Launch the Settings app and navigate to iCloud > Backup and tap Back Up Now. This may take time depending on the amount of data to be backed up.
icloud backup now - how to
  • After the backup is complete, check the Last Backup time (should show current time) to ensure that your backup was successful.
  • Now turn off your old iPhone.

Now you can transfer your iCloud backup to your iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro.

Transfer iCloud Backup to iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro

  • Turn on your new iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup assistant by selecting your language and country, and choose whether to enable Location Services. When prompted, choose your Wi-Fi network.
Restore Data from Old iPhone - Options
  • When prompted to Set Up iPhone, tap on Restore from iCloud Backup.
  • Enter your Apple ID and password, and tap Next at the top right corner.
  • It will prompt you to agree to the terms and conditions. Tap on Agree in the bottom right corner.
  • You will now see a list of backups. Select the latest backup of your old device and tap Restore. Wait until the device has finished restoring from the backup. Please note that it can be a time-consuming process and depends on the amount of data contained in the backup and on the speed of your Internet connection.
  • When the restore process is complete, your iPhone will restart. Then it will be ready for use. You should also connect the device to iTunes to sync data not contained in the backup (such as music, videos, apps, and so on).
  • iPhone will also start re-downloading all your apps in the background.
  • You will also need to enter your password for your Apple ID, email, and other accounts, and voicemail again. The passwords are not restored to a new device for security reasons. However, if you want them to be restored then using the iTunes method above.

You should now be able to use your shiny new iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, or iPhone 12 Pro Max. After the data has been restored, you can turn on your older iPhone and erase all the content and settings.

It is advisable to keep your iPhone 12 connected to Wi-Fi and plugged into a power source until the data from iCloud is downloaded to your device. The data is downloaded automatically from iCloud in the background.


Do drop a comment and let us know how the entire process of transferring data from your old iPhone to your shiny new iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro went for you.