How To Migrate To A New iPhone At The Apple Store

Is it time to replace your iPhone? If you don’t live near an Apple Store, or just want to do this migration yourself, please follow the guidance I provide in How To Migrate To a New iPhone. If you are not comfortable doing it yourself and you live near an Apple Store then you could let them help you. Here’s an overview of how the migration process will go and the things I recommend you do to prepare for your trip to the Apple Store. Every visit and migration will be a bit different, but I recommend that you plan on this taking 60-90 minutes. 

Let’s start by looking at the information I recommend that you bring:

  1. Your AppleID name and password
  2. Know that your iPhone is successfully backing up to Apple’s iCloud servers
  3. Know the fullness of your iPhone
  4. Have a good idea which iPhone model you want to buy
  5. Passwords for your email accounts or any other important accounts
Bring your AppleID and Password

Hopefully, you have a record of your AppleID name and password. If so, you are all set. If not, here are some tips. You can get your AppleID name from your iPhone. Wake up your iPhone and tap on Settings. Tap on your name (this assumes you’re using iOS 11 or newer). Below your name you’ll see your AppleID name (an email address) listed. If you see two addresses listed then you’re using two different AppleIDs. If you don’t know your AppleID password then you can use Apple’s iForgot web page to reset the password. If you want to test your AppleID password, I recommend you try to login at Apple’s AppleID page.

Backup your iPhone to iCloud

To verify your iPhone is backed up to iCloud, follow these steps:

  • Wake your iPhone and tap on Settings
  • Tap on your name (this assumes you’re using iOS 11 or newer)
  • Tap on iCloud
  • Scroll to iCloud Backup and tap on it. If it’s already turned on then read the date of the most recent backup. If iCloud backups are not already enabled then toggle the on/off switch to the on position; then tap on Back Up Now. If Back Up Now is greyed out then read the fine print provided to figure out why. Most likely, it’s because your iPhone is not connected to a wi-fi network.
Determine the fullness of your iPhone

Knowing how full your iPhone is will help you to determine how much storage space you’ll need on your new iPhone.

  • Wake your iPhone and tap on Settings
  • Tap on General
  • Tap on iPhone Storage (this assumes you’re using iOS 11 or newer)
  • Wait for the phone to gather and display details about your phone’s fullness. This could take a few minutes. Immediately, you’ll see an indication of the number of gigabytes of data used as well as the total storage capacity. If you wait, you’ll see a breakdown of what’s using up that storage space.
Determine which iPhone model you want to buy

Apple’s sales staff can certainly help you decide which model you will want to buy. At the time of writing this article, Apple sells 5 different iPhone models and some resellers sell additional models. Consequently, it can be helpful to have done some reading to develop a sense about which model(s) appeal to you. A good place to start is The Wire Cutter’s, Which iPhone Should I Get? article.

Bring important account passwords

Please bring your passwords for any accounts that you deem important such as email accounts, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Overview of the migration process

You do not need a Genius Bar appointment to buy and migrate to a new iPhone. You can simply walk-in. Personally, I like to try to time my visit to a time when I think the Apple Store will be less busy.

When you arrive at the Apple Store, initiate a backup to iCloud. This way, all of the most recent text messages, phone calls, voicemail messages, etc will be backed up. Tap the Back Up Now button mentioned in the Backup to iCloud section.

Work with a salesperson to select which iPhone you want to buy. While you may have a  pretty good idea, your decision could be impacted once you physically touch the phones and see their size. Apple’s inventory might also impact this.

If your salesperson does not offer to help you migrate to your new iPhone, ask him or her for assistance.

Unbox the new iPhone, eject the nano SIM from your current iPhone (This assumes you have an iPhone 5 or newer) and insert the SIM into your new iPhone. This assumes that your new iPhone still accepts nano SIMs. Apple has an article that lets you see which size SIM each iPhone model uses.

Turn on the new iPhone and answer the questions posed. When asked if you want to restore a backup onto this new phone, indicate that you want to restore an iCloud backup onto the phone. Wait while this restore process occurs.

Test the iPhone. Make sure you can send and receive phone calls and text messages. Open the Mail app and any other important apps. Enter your password if prompted and test the app. Note, that your iPhone apps are not actually restored from the iCloud backup. Instead, the apps will begin to download automatically once you’ve restored your iCloud backup onto your phone. Thus, you might not be able to test every app immediately, depending upon how many you apps you keep on your iPhone.