I finally got my hands on the new iPhone 6s plus today. Since Belgium wasn’t in the first release wave, I had two options: wait until the next wave hits (next friday), or go to France and buy an iPhone via in-store reservations. I’ve been checking Apple’s preorder page every morning at 6 AM —I’m not very patient when it comes to buying new toys (hello Lego WALL-E on my desk), so— hoping to see the iPhone 6s Plus in stock. And I finally managed to get a reservation today.
A two hour train ride, 15 minutes in the Apple Store and a three hour trainride later, my new iPhone sits next to my Mac, and it will probably remain there for the rest of the night.
Why? Because after you unwrap a new iPhone you have two options: start from scratch and say goodbye to your Health Data, or go through the restore-process and retain that data.
If you check Apple’s support page they describe the process in these short steps:
Transfer your iCloud backup to your new device
- Turn on your new device. (..)
- Swipe left to right on the “Hello” screen. (..)
- Tap a Wi-Fi network to join.
- Tap Restore from iCloud Backup > Next.
- Enter your Apple ID and password.
- Choose a backup. (..)
- Stay connected and wait for the process to complete. (..)
It just works right? That is.. until you use it in real live in combination with an Apple Watch and don’t get your device on day one.
Transfer your iCloud backup to your new device (Extended Version)
- Within a week after Apple released iOS 9 and the new iPhone they already pushed two small bug fixes. Which means your old iPhone probably runs a newer iOS than your new iPhone will.
- Optionally: Update all apps on the old device to make sure they work on the new hardware.
- Verify that everything has uploaded and synced. Especially Photos and iCloud Drive documents.
- Unpair your Apple Watch and wait for the syncing process to finish. Takes about 10-15 minutes.
- Make an iCloud Backup, which now contains a recent backup for your Apple Watch. Hope nothing errors out, or goes wrong. Takes about 15 minutes.
- Unwrap your new iPhone. Enjoy that new Apple product smell. If you try restoring your backup now, it will fail because the backup you just made is made on a more recent iOS version.
- Configure your new iPhone as a new device.
- Upgrade to the latest iOS. (Takes, yet again 10-15 minutes)
- Wipe your new iPhone. (Feels so wrong).
- Finally you can follow Apple’s steps and restore your iCloud backup. Naturally, only confirming that your Apple ID belongs to you via two-factor authentication on another device.
- Wait until restore finishes. Takes ages.. unless your running a Caching Server on El Capitan with your iCloud backup locally seeded.
- Wait until apps are downloaded, Photos and iCloud are cached.
- Enter dozens of passwords and reauthenticate most services. Move from 1Password to Dropbox and back again and hope nothing goes wrong.
- Re-pair the Apple Watch again and select its latest backup.
- Wait until your Watch restore finishes, which takes… a long long time.
- Finally enjoy your new iPhone.
- Enter some more passwords in password prompts that didn’t occur upon first boot
- Repeat in a year, or earlier if you break your device.
Steps 8 and 9 should be part of the initial wizard. If the iPhone detects its not running the latest OS, just update it. It may frustrate some users, but it makes the process so much easier for less-technical-inclined people.
And the Apple Watch really needs either independent iCloud backups, or an easier way to re-pair it to your new iPhone. How about:
- You don’t need to unpair your Apple Watch
- After restoring your backup to your new iPhone, show an alert that asks you if you want to move your Watch to the new iPhone.
- If yes: show that awesome QR code thingie again and voila, re-paired.
But even though the process is frustrating at times, in the end the process does work, and takes way less time than manually redownloading all your apps and configuring all the little settings.