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Download the easiest way to configure your new iPhone 11 or 11 Pro


Installing your new iPhone has never been easier.

Jason Cipriani / CNET

Did you just receive a new iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro ? Pretty nice, right? New camera ! Faster performance! Longer battery life! There is much to be excited about. That is, until it is time to transfer all your information from your old iPhone and you realize that you are out of iCloud storage or your phone has not been backed up in weeks. Yuk.

Beginning with iOS 12.4 you can forget all that iCloud nonsense and use the simple new transfer tool that moves your data directly from one iPhone to another. Keep in mind that using an iCloud backup can be faster to restore your phone, but if you refuse to pay for storage or if your phone has not been backed up recently, this is the easiest way to get your new iPhone configured.

Using the new data migration tool is easy, just be sure to set aside some time for all your photos, messages and other important information to transfer.

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What you need

You need two iPhones – your old one and the new one you create – both running iOS 12.4 and access to a Wi-Fi network.

Go to Settings > General > Software Update to make sure you are running the latest version of iOS 12. If your new iPhone is not running iOS 12.4 yet, go through the installation process on your phone, but do not select the option to restore from any security source. Instead, select "Do not upload apps and data" and skip the rest of the installation steps. When you get to the home screen, update it to iOS 12.4 and then reset the factory. I know, it's a hassle, but doing so will ensure that you can transfer all your data from your old iPhone.

What has been transferred

When you eventually finish setting up your new phone (step-by-step instructions below), it will essentially be a direct copy of your current phone. Apps will be in the same place on your home screens, the settings will be the same, email accounts … everything.

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iOS 12.4's new data transfer tool eliminates the need to worry you for iCloud backups.

Jason Cipriani / CNET

Using the New Transfer Function

When your old and new iPhones are turned on, unlocked and next to each other, your old phone should display a question if you want to set up a new phone. Touch Continue and then point the old iPhone camera at the screen of your new phone.

Follow the instructions on your new phone, complete tasks such as entering a password, setting Face ID, and accepting Apple's terms. Eventually you end up on a screen asking if you want to transfer data directly from one phone to another, or if you want to recover from iCloud.

Select Transfer from iPhone and follow the instructions, after which your iPhones will take care of the rest. Make sure you leave the two phones close together, otherwise the transfer may slow down or stop.

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Pour yourself a cup of tea and let the transfer process do its thing.

Jason Cipriani / CNET

It will take some time for the transmission to complete, depending on the speed of your Wi-Fi network and the amount of data you are transmitting. Of course, 2000 photos take longer to upload than 500. If you have many apps and photos, be prepared to be patient – it will take a while. It took me about 25 minutes to transfer all my data, which is exactly how much time the tool estimated it would take.

The default method is to use a wireless connection for transmission. Alternatively, if you have a Lightning-to-USB 3 camera adapter and an additional Lightning USB cable, a cable transfer is possible and should be faster. But it's not worth going out and buying the adapter just to save you a few minutes.

When the transfer is complete, your new phone will restart and your apps will finish downloading. All your photos, emails, contacts, meetings and messages will be there.

After setting up your new phone, take a few minutes for to get acquainted with iOS 13 its hidden features and even the new iPhone 11 camera features .

Originally published last month. Updated with iPhone 11 information.

$ 899

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