Apple is known for simplicity, and that starts the second you take your device out of the box. To set up a new iOS device, all you have to do is sign into iCloud and log into your WiFi. But starting in iOS11 and continuing in iOS 12 and above, Apple thinks even that could be simpler.
And all you need is your old Apple device (or another Apple device) and iOS 11 and higher!
- 1 Don’t Remember Things like Passwords? No Problem!
- 2 Using Automatic Setup in iOS 11 and iOS 12
- 3 Is Automatic Setup Secure?
- 4 How To Transfer Content From Your Previous Device To Your New Device Using iCloud Or iTunes
- 5 Express Settings
- 6 What If My Old Device Uses iOS 10 and below?
- 7 Stuck at 90%?
- 8 Automatic Setup or Quick Start Not Working?
- How To Set Up A Used iPhone or iPad
- Free Up iPhone Storage with iOS 11 Tools, Recommendations, & iCloud
Don’t Remember Things like Passwords? No Problem!
What if you don’t know your iCloud password and have it saved in a password manager? What if you don’t remember your Wi-Fi password off hand? And, wouldn’t be nice if all of your essential settings transferred over automatically?
With iOS 11+, Apple makes setting up a device easy and simplifies the transfer of your preferences, Apple ID and WiFi info, preferred settings, and iCloud Keychain passwords from an old device to a new device with Automatic Setup!
Using Automatic Setup in iOS 11 and iOS 12
With iOS 12 or 11 installed, during the setup process, there’s an option to transfer settings from an existing device to the new device.
For Automatic Setup to work, both of your devices must be on at least iOS 11
When you turn on your new device for the first time, you’re asked to pick your language and region. Then, iOS instructs you to ‘bring your other iOS device close.’ Hold your two iDevices close to each other, and when sufficiently nearby, you get instructions on how to pair them.
Pairing uses the camera of the old device to scan the new device–for those with paired Apple Watches-this whole process looks very familiar.
Once you get your iDevices close, a pop up will appear similar to that of AirPods asking you if you’d like to set up this device on your account. Just click the ‘set up’ button, and then the two devices quickly work together to share all the basic settings. Really neat!
Wait Until Automatic Setup Completes
- Keep your old and new devices close to each other for all your information, settings, and passwords to transfer
- Enter your old device’s passcode if requested and follow any instructions to set up Face ID or Touch ID on your new device, if asked
- You may need to enter your Apple ID
- If you pair an Apple Watch, choose if you want to transfer your Apple Watch data and settings
- To download all content to your new device keep it connected to WiFi and on the charger after automatic setup finishes. Things like photos, music, and apps take time to download to your new iDevice
No iCloud Backup? No Problem
Auto-setup also helps all those people who don’t have an iCloud backup–said no to it during the setup process, or whose iCloud backup(s) don’t fit into the free 5 GB iCloud account and don’t want to pay for additional storage.
Passcode Not Required–it’s automatic!
Additionally, you previously had to set up a new passcode with your new device. With this feature, it automatically transfers your code.
Once this setup is complete, all your basic settings transfer, and you’re ready to use your new iDevice.
Is Automatic Setup Secure?
One concern a lot of readers ask us is if automatic setup in iOS 11+ is safe.
The good news is that yes, Apple’s Automatic Setup is a secure way to transfer your data and information between iDevices, without risk of breach.
Because Automatic Setup is a proximity-based process for transferring data and therefore dependent on the two devices being within inches of each other, the likelihood of someone hacking into your data is almost null.
How To Transfer Content From Your Previous Device To Your New Device Using iCloud Or iTunes
The most important rule when transferring content is to back up your old device first, before attempting to move stuff to your new iDevice.
- If using iCloud, select Back Up Now in Settings > Apple ID Profile > iCloud > iCloud Backup
- If using iTunes, back up by opening iTunes, connect and select your old device, click Summary and select the Back Up Now button underneath Manually Back Up and Restore
Once you backup your old device, select either Restore from iCloud Backup or Restore from iTunes Backup
- To Restore from iCloud Backup
- Sign in to iCloud with your Apple ID and password.
- Choose your most recent backup or another backup, if desired. Be sure to check the date and size of each backup
- Wait for the restore to complete and follow an on-screen instructions
- To Restore from iTunes Backup
- Open iTunes and connect your new device–use the same computer that stores your old devices backups
- Choose Restore Backup and select the most recent backup or whichever backup you prefer. Look at the date and size to check
- Fencryptedted backups, enter your password
- Wait for the restore to finish and follow any additional setup steps on the screen of your new iDevice
Further enabling the simplicity of setting up an iOS device, iOS 11+ feature ‘Express Settings.’
When a user turns on a new device for the first time, a notification badge appears in the settings app. When you launch the app for the first time, you’re greeted with a list of features Apple recommends setting up, and an explanation of what they do.
These details include Find my iPhone, iCloud backup, iMessage backup, and more.
So with iOS 12 and 11, most users have backups of their device and have location tracking on, regardless of tech-savyness. These default settings result in dramatically lowering the rate of theft and lost data within the world of iOS devices.
What If My Old Device Uses iOS 10 and below?
If one of your devices does not run iOS 11 or higher, when you see the Quick Start Screen, tap Set Up Manually to continue.
Stuck at 90%?
If your progress bar for a Sync on Reset and Backup appears to stop or get stuck at 90%, chances are all your data went through. This bug is a known problem, and Apple is working to remedy it.
So even though your data successfully synced, don’t worry too much if the progress bar doesn’t move beyond 90%. Once it hits that 90%, wait at least 5-10 minutes and if it still doesn’t budge, restart your devices. Once rebooted, see if all your data transferred.
Automatic Setup or Quick Start Not Working?
- Make sure both devices run the same iOS version
- Settings > General > Software Update
- Check that Bluetooth is turned on for both devices
- If so, toggle Bluetooth off and on
- Connect devices to the same WiFi network
- Restart both devices
- If that doesn’t work, try a forced restart
- Turn off all Restrictions or Content & Privacy Restrictions Settings
- Update your iPhone, iPad, or iPod to the latest version of iOS first
- Then on the new device, go to Settings>General>Reset>Erase all Content and Settings and try again
Still Unable To Use Automatic Setup?
If you continue to have issues with automatic setup, choose Set Up Manually instead.
This option runs you through a series of steps to activate and set up your device, including:
- Activation and connecting to a WiFi/Cellular network or iTunes
- Setting up Face ID or Touch ID and creating a device passcode
- Restoring and transferring your data and information
- Or if you don’t have a backup or another iDevice, setting up as new
- Signing in with your Apple ID or creating a new on
- Setting up Siri and other services like Apple Pay, iCloud Keychain, True Tone (if available), and other features