Business Technology

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Ask Adrian: How to transfer what's on my old phone and laptop to new ones?


Phone data transfer
Phone data transfer
Fitbit Ionic
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Q I got a new phone and laptop for Christmas. I'd like to transfer over some of what is on my old phone and laptop to the new ones. Any tips would be appreciated?

A. Although it depends on the phone or laptop you're transferring your data from, this is a lot easier than it used to be. If you're switching from an old iPhone to a new iPhone, it helps a lot if you use iCloud, Apple's online storage and device-synchronisation system. (If you're not sure whether or not you're using iCloud, go into 'settings' and tap 'iCloud' to see its status.) If so, on your old iPhone, tap 'backup' in iCloud. When that's done, switch your sim card to the new iPhone.

If it's brand new, it will ask you whether you want to set it up with your old phone's settings and contents (photos, music and everything else). One option you'll see is to "restore from iCloud backup". Tapping this (it will ask you to sign in to your iCloud account) will download your old settings and contents on to your new iPhone. Needless to say, all of this is done while connected to your home Wi-Fi account. If you don't use iCloud, it's also possible to transfer your stuff over using iTunes, but this involves your PC or Mac and it's a bit trickier to do cleanly without any error messages or other interruptions.

Between Android phones, the easiest way is to follow the prompts when you turn the new phone on for the first time. It will ask you to tick a box if you want to "copy your Google accounts, apps and data" from your old Android phone to your new one. This is all done wirelessly, although you do need to have both phones connected to your home Wi-Fi signal and your sim card in your new phone. Once you start this process, on-screen instructions will appear on your old phone. It's relatively straightforward and should only take a few minutes.

If for some reason this process doesn't work (possibly because you have an old Android phone), there are several third party apps that might step in. For example, G Cloud Backup is a free app that generally works fine.

What about switching from an iPhone to an Android phone or vice versa? Both cross-platform switches are a little trickier and are limited to content such as photos, videos and other files - apps are specific to each platform and so won't transfer over, even if the publisher has paid versions in both app stores.

However, it's still very doable. If going from an Android to a new iPhone, there's an app that Apple published in Google's Play Store called 'Move to iOS' that walks you through the process. If you're moving from an iPhone to an Android, you'll either have to follow the new phone's start-up instructions or do it manually through backing up and synchronising via your Google account in 'settings' (see above).

There's one other thing you might want to consider - your sim card contacts. The above methods focus mainly on content and data on your phone, not your sim card. I would say that for most people, the easiest long-term way to keep your contacts up to date regardless of what phone you're using or your sim card is to synchronise them with your Google account. If you have a Gmail or YouTube login, you already have a Google account - it's the same thing. So before you start your transfer process between phones, it's a really good idea to do this first.

On an iPhone, go to 'settings', then 'contacts' and add your Google account login and password. If it's an Android phone, go to 'settings', then 'accounts', then 'Google', then tap 'sync contacts'. Now on your new phone, whether it's Apple or Android, you'll have access to your sim card contacts when you sign in to your Google account at the start-up stage.

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