PadGadget’s iPad Tips: Transferring Data from an Old iPad to iPad Air or iPad mini with Retina

iCloud Backup setupIt is time again for another installment of our weekly iPad tips column. If you have recently purchased your first iPad, you are probably all too aware of how much there is to learn about what your device can and can’t do. Last week, we explained how to set a spending allowance so that you can give the gift that keeps giving all year, but won’t cost you a fortune.

This week, we have some pointers for those who have owned an iPad before and either already have, or soon will, upgrade to a new one. Don’t worry about losing your data, getting all of your old stuff onto your new iPad is as easy as flipping a switch.

There are two ways to transfer data from one iPad to another. It depends on how you’ve been backing up your data. If you back everything up to iCloud, then transferring everything from your old iPad can be done in the cloud. If you manually backup your tablet through iTunes, you can get all of your apps, games, files, and documents onto your new device by connecting it to your computer.

iCloud BackupThe first thing you should do before transferring anything is to give your old iPad one last backup. If you use iCloud to backup your device, go to the Settings section. Select iCloud. Then select Storage & Backup and tap “Backup Now.” If you backup your device through iTunes, connect it to your computer and let it backup automatically, or select Backup Now from the device’s summary page.

Once all of your information is updated on your old device, you can send it to the new device with just a few simple steps. Transferring old data to your new device must happen before you backup your new iPad for the first time. During the setup process you must select either to restore from iCloud Backup or from iTunes Backup.

On iCloud:

During the setup process with your new iPad, you will be asked if you would like set it up as a new device, restore the data from iCloud Backup, or restore the data from iTunes Backup. Select the iCloud tab and enter your Apple ID and password when prompted. Then, select the appropriate device to backup from. If you backup iPhones, iPod touches, and other iPads using the same iCloud account, they will all be listed in this section. Be sure to pick the right device.

After you select the device, the iCloud backup will begin. It will probably take between one and three hours, depending on how much data you have stored in iCloud. Be sure to keep your iPad connected to Wi-Fi so that your apps and games will download to your new device, as well. If you have to leave a Wi-Fi area, the backup will pause until you are in a connected zone again.

On iTunes:

During the setup process with your new iPad, you will be asked if you would like set it up as a new device, restore the data from iCloud Backup, or restore the data from iTunes Backup. Select the iTunes tab. When you connect your iPad for the first time, it will ask you to select which device you would like to restore it from. If you have multiple iPad devices connected on the same account, you will see all of them on this screen. Pick the device you would like to transfer the data from.

After you select the device, iTunes will transfer the data from your old iPad to your new one. Do not disconnect your iPad until it is not syncing anymore.

Now you know how to transfer all of your old data onto your new iPad. If you are lucky enough to get an iPad Air or iPad mini with Retina display for Christmas, setting it up will be a snap.

About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik

  • Jesse Diaz

    I dont know why but I always set up my iPad as new and download all the apps again….I know its a pain but everytime I transferred from iPad to ipad ( new gen ) I always have crashes etc. They all go away when I set up as new

    • Lory Gil

      I am the same. I like starting out an iPad as a shiny new device. The only problem I came across this time, with my new iPad Air, was that I had dozens of files in GoodReader that I had to manually transfer. It wasn’t too big of a deal, though. I set up local Wi-Fi transfer and moved them from my old iPad that way.