How I upgrade iOS devices 

Tags :
My Apple Watch and iPhone 7 on my bedside stand

Friends and family often call me out after an unsuccessful iPhone upgrade, to help them figure out why data is missing or to restore a missing feature. This happens when upgrading devices, or after an unexpected event such as a broken, lost or stolen iPhone.

I have taken the habit throughout the years, as our systems get more complex and more interlocked, to write up lists of things to do and check, before and after. Probably a sign of my growing age too...

What appears below is a Note I maintain and share regularly with regards to the iPhone upgrading process. It might not all apply to you, as you might use different apps, and not run all the same setting as me, but the process should apply to a majority of users.

I assume you have full access to your devices and know all your passwords.

Switching iPhones

This is a list of things to think about when upgrading your iOS device. Applies partly when setting up a new device from scratch (lost or stolen device).


  • I run with all iCloud settings on, so Safari, Contacts, Calendar, Notes, Photos etc... are automatically synced to my new device;
  • I use 1Password for password management and Authy for second factor authentication.


  • Remove all unnecessary apps from old device;
  • Update all apps and system on old device;
  • Create a playlist of downloaded songs in Apple Music (see note below);
  • Unpair Apple Watch (forces a complete backup);
  • Perform an iCloud backup;
  • Switch old device to airplane mode;
  • Perform an iTunes encrypted backup;
  • Remove SIM card from old device and insert into new device;
  • Setup new device as new iPhone to update system;
  • Reset all settings and data on new device.
  • Restore iTunes backup to new device;
  • Wait for all apps to download (e.g. do it over night);

Bootup new device and complete install

  • Setup Touch ID;
  • Add Credit cards to ApplePay;
  • Install Email certificates;
  • Pair Apple Watch;
  • Audible download;
  • Kindle download;
  • Music download (use playlist);
  • Unlock Authy backup (you will need to enter your backup password).


  • 1Password has synced;
  • Authy has synced;
  • iTunes list of devices and remove previous device authorisation;
  • Google Photos is working correctly;
  • Health is beeing fed the correct data;
  • Check social networks passwords (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc...) in System Preferences > Internet Accounts.

A week later (or more)

  • Remove playlist of downloaded songs from Apple Music;
  • Delete previous iCloud backup;
  • Wipe clean previous device;
  • Hand down device.

Annoying things:

Apple Music doesn't remember what songs were downloaded to your device (neither does Books, Audible or Kindle for that matter). This might be for space reasons (e.g. in case you upgrade to a device with less space?) so it might be a good idea to create a playlist with your downloaded songs if that matters to you.

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