Upgrading to a New iPhone

Planning for your new iPhone

Will you need a new SIM?

If you have an iPhone 4s or older, and you’re getting a new iPhone 5 or newer, then you will need a new SIM. (What model iPhone do you have?)

If you need a new SIM card, usually you can go to your carrier’s store with your current and new phones and they will swap the SIM for you. But if your phone is under someone else’s name on a family or business plan, contact your carrier (AT&T, Verizon, etc.) to find out how to get a new SIM card.

Decide what to do with the old device.

You can trade-in your phone for instant credit with Apple: See https://www.apple.com/iphone/trade-up/

You can sell it to Gazelle at gazelle.com. Even non-working iPhones may be worth something. 

Or you can use it as a wi-fi device without a SIM.


Just before you get the new iPhone

Save any important photos and videos from Messages to the Camera Roll.

Usually Messages are restored, but often old messages are lost. Copying important photos to the Camera Roll means at least you have saved the images.

If you have an Apple watch, unpair it from the old iPhone.

Unpairing it makes a backup of your Apple Watch, so you can restore it when you pair the watch to a new phone. Unpairing is the only way to make a backup of your Apple Watch.

Back up your iPhone to iTunes or iCloud.

The fastest way to get your data on your new phone is to restore from an iTunes backup. (Note: when you connect your phone to iTunes it will first sync. After the sync finishes, do a backup.)

Apple's instructions for moving your data to a new iPhone have detailed instructions about how to make a backup. 

Finally, make sure you have the right passwords.

You will need the AppleID (usually an email address) and password for your phone’s data (contacts, calendar, etc.) and, if different, the AppleID and password that you use to purchase apps and media from iTunes.


After you get your new iPhone

As mentioned above, the quickest way to get your new iPhone up and running is to use iTunes to make a backup of your old iPhone and to use iTunes to “restore” that backup to the new phone.

You have to do a few things with your new iPhone before you can restore your data. The set-up screens will walk you through this process; enter your location and activate the phone (do this in the store to make sure the phone is working).

After that, you will see a screen for “Apps & Data”. Here you are given four options: Restore from iCloud Backup, Restore from iTunes Backup, Set up as New iPhone, Move Data from Android.

Apple's instructions for moving your data to a new iPhone have detailed instructions about how to restore your data from an iTunes backup or an iCloud backup, but if you tap “Restore from iTunes Backup” the onscreen instructions will walk you through the process.

If you have an iCloud backup, tap “Restore from iCloud Backup.” It will work just the same, but it often takes longer because everything has to be downloaded from Apple’s servers.

A Good iPhone Upgrade Procedure

Preliminary note: rarely, voicemail and text messages are lost after an upgrade. If any of these are important, save them elsewhere before upgrading. (This may require using a Mac and additional software). Contact me if you need help with this.

Steps to Upgrade

If you don't have time for all of this, then you don't have time to upgrade.

Learn about iOS 10

Since it will take 30-60 minutes to upgrade your device to iOS 10, I recommend reading about the new features as you wait. A good place to start is iMore’s iOS review. There’s a lot to cover, so you may want to practice with only a few features at a time.

Read This If You Have an Older iPhone

Because of changes in hardware, some parts of iOS 10 don’t work on older devices. The Mac Observer explains what’s missing.

Home Button Changes

We’re all so used to pressing the home button or swiping to unlock, and iOS 10 really doesn’t want you to try either of those gestures.
— Jason Snell, sixcolors.com

If you don’t use TouchID, now is the time to try it again. Apple wants to make the iPhone more useful without requiring anything more than picking up the device—while at the same time keeping most of your data secure. TouchID and iOS 10 is their answer.

The swipe to unlock is gone. You can still use your passcode to unlock, but after the lock screen is visible you’ll tap the home button to bring up the number pad.

Read more abut the home button and other lock screen changes on Six Colors: Getting iOS 10 right from the start.


Messages is the biggest whizz-bang feature in iOS 10, and all the changes can be overwhelming. Six Colors has two articles that are worth checking out:

Messages on iOS 10: Better features, worse usability 

Dealing with the deluge of iMessage apps and stickers

Have fun!

Another Day, Another Zero-Day Exploit

August is a slow news month, especially for technology, so the press jumped all over the serious security problems (and their fix) announced by Apple this week.

The problems are serious; by clicking a single link, your entire iPhone can be remotely “jailbroken”, potentially allowing someone else access to the entire phone (all contents, location, camera, and microphone). The particular incident involved two things:

  1. Trident, a series of exploits that makes a device accessible (including "zero-day", or previously unknown, vulnerabilities), and
  2. Pegasus, a commercial spyware package from NSO Group that is sold exclusively to government agencies. 

(If you want more details, read the Executive Summary and Conclusion of The Million Dollar Dissident from Citizen Lab, the Canadian research laboratory that researched this event.)

What Should You Do? Update Immediately.

Apple announced an update to iOS that closes the door on Trident. So to protect yourself, update all of your iPhones and iPads to iOS 9.3.5 as soon as possible.

(Not sure what version you are running? On you device, go to Settings > General > About > Version.)

Before you update, make sure you have a current backup either on your computer via iTunes or in iCloud Backup.

Corrected 2016-08-28: Apple’s patch addresses the Trident vulnerability, not Pegasus.

Is Your iPhone Acting Weird?

Is your iPhone acting sluggish? Do apps begin to open and then suddenly you’re back on the home screen? Having trouble sending or receiving email?

If you’re seeing several different problems, don’t suspect viruses or malware. It’s more likely that you are running out of storage space on your phone.

But before you check that—

Restart the iPhone

First, turn the phone entirely off (press and hold the Home button until you see the slider) and then back on again. Most of us run our phones for weeks without restarting, but simply restarting the phone clears some settings and resets things. If this simple fix stops the “weird” behavior of your iPhone, then there’s no need to worry about what caused the problem.

Is Your iPhone Full?

If the problem returns, then check to see how full your phone’s storage is. Completely (or even nearly) full storage can cause different and changing problems, from slowness to crashes. To check your storage in iOS 9, open the Settings app and select Storage & iCloud Usage and look under the STORAGE heading. You should see Used and Available. Aim to keep Available storage to about 2 GB.

To see what apps are using your phone’s storage, tap “Manage Storage” under the STORAGE heading, and your iPhone will generate a list of apps and their use of data storage, starting with the largest at the top of the list. Tap on an app to get more information about the app and to delete it and its data (except for Apple’s core apps, like Photos, which cannot be deleted).

Too Many Photos and Videos: iCloud Photo Library

The most likely culprit of a full iPhone is Photos & Camera, and that will require a different fix. The easiest thing to do is to start using iCloud Photo Library to manage your photos. Apple has created this service to automatically upload all of your photos to iCloud and to intelligently manage what photos stay on your device so they don’t take up too much space. If you have iCloud Photo Library turned on for this device, then Photos & Camera shouldn’t be the source of your lack of space (unless you’ve been taking a lot of photos without access to wifi).

But before turning iCloud Photo Library on, make sure you understand it and are prepared to buy additional iCloud storage space if you need it. A good place to start is Apple’s iCloud Photo Library support page: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204264.

Too Many Photos and Videos: Delete ‘Em

If you don’t want to use iCloud Photo Library, you can manually remove photos and videos from your device. There is no quick way to delete all your photos at once, but you can select entire “Moments” to delete each as a group. A faster way to delete images is to connect your iPhone to your Mac and use the built-in utility called Image Capture to select and delete the photos.

Here’s an older article that includes how to do this on Windows:

Delete All Photos from iPhone At Once

Photos and Videos Hiding on Your iPhone

You may also find that Messages is taking a lot of storage space because of the photos and videos you’ve received. In Messages, you can delete entire conversations or you can delete individual photos and videos. (Tip: if you want to save a particular image or video, tap and hold it (or Force-Press if you have an iPhone 6 or later) and select “Save” on the pop-up menu).

Also, any app that can take photos (scanning apps, for example) can take up a lot of storage. Either delete the entire app and all its data, or ope the app and delete individual photos and videos.

Still Running Out of Storage?

Of course, it is possible that something has gone wrong with your phone’s software and something else is filling up your storage. If you can’t figure out what’s eating the storage, it’s time for a trip to the Genius Bar. Or contact me.

Note: Specific instructions (menus, navigation) in this article refer to iOS 9 and may not be valid in other versions.

Start Now with Apple Pay

Joanna Stern, one of my favorite technology journalists, has a great article (and video) about the new chip card readers that have finally made it to most stores in the US and how they are a both a step forward and back. See “Chip Card Nightmares? Help Is on the Way.”

But the real lesson is to set up your iPhone (iPhone SE, 6, 6 Plus, and later) with Apple Pay now. Walgreens was an early adopter of Apple Pay, and there are many stores in our area, so I recommend it for your first Apple Pay purchase.

Here are three useful Apple Support pages to get you started:

Using Apple Pay in stores and within apps: watch the demo video https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201239

Set up Apple Pay on your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch  

About Apple Pay