If you got a new iPhone or iPad for Christmas and you already have at least one iOS device that's running iOS 11, setting up the new device is simple and quick with Automatic Setup.

Introduced in iOS 11, Automatic Setup streamlines the setup process for new iPhones and iPads, transferring over Apple ID info, your WiFi network credentials, your preferred settings, and your iCloud Keychain.


Automatic Setup is meant to be used in tandem with a restore from an iCloud backup, because while it transfers many settings, it does not offer full device-to-device content transfer. When you buy a new device, Automatic Setup will pop up automatically, but there are some steps to follow to get everything transferred over:

  1. Power on your new device, which will open up to a menu asking you to pick a language.
  2. After choosing a language, you'll see a "Set Up Your iPhone (or iPad)" prompt.
  3. When this appears, place your existing iOS device near the new device to initiate Automatic Setup.
  4. Your existing device will show a pop up letting you know you can use Automatic Setup. Tap "Continue" to start. appleautomaticsetup
  5. An Apple Watch-style pairing image will appear on the new device, and you'll be instructed to scan it with the camera on your existing device.
  6. In an area with decent lighting, hold the existing device's camera over the image on the new device to pair the two together.
  7. Enter the passcode from your existing device on the new device.
  8. From there, all of your data will start transferring from the old device to the new device.

When the first few Automatic Setup steps are complete, your iPhone or iPad will walk you through setting up Touch ID/Face ID, Siri, and Apple Pay, which are separate steps.

An additional "Express Settings" feature following Automatic Setup is designed to speed up new device activation even further. Express Setup automatically enables Find My iPhone, location services, and analytics, so if you don't want these features on, make sure to tap "Customize Settings" to change them.

Once you've transferred all of your settings with Automatic Setup, you can restore from an iCloud backup to get all of your apps transferred over. If you want to set up a device as new without downloading all of your old content, though, you're finished once Automatic Setup is completed.

If you don't have an iOS device running iOS 11, you'll need to go through a more traditional setup process. The steps are a lot like Automatic Setup, but instead of choosing an existing device after setting a language, you'll need to manually enter data like your Apple ID and your WiFi password.

Top Rated Comments

democracyrules Avatar
65 months ago
I love this new automatic set-up. Thanks, Apple to make it easy for your customers setting up new devices.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
etgg Avatar
65 months ago
Look. From the get go this article is wrong and will lead to many many agrovated people.

tl;dr

Upgrade and then backup old phone and Apple Watch BEFORE starting express update.
NOTE your paid content WILLNOT be copied over via express update.



First things first.
If you have a phone and a watch they MUST both be running the very latest revs of software. Remember always Apple never gives you anything for free - you have to upgrade first. After that you can use express setup to move your basic configs over AND still save your Apple Watch content. Follow another path and you prob loose all your existing Apple Watch data, even if you use Apple cloud or encrypted local backup.

That’s right. Any other path and your one or two years of Apple Watch Data is gone.

It won’t move your music or other content. Not even if it’s backed up in Apple cloud in your latest backup. And not even if you bought it on iTunes - though you can download it again after you are all setup. More on that later.

Remember second. Macrumors should never assume it’s readers are running the latest revs. iPhone6 and 6s battery slow down issue anyone? We have lots of reasons not to chase Apple down it’s rabit hole of “progression”. We have found time and again that we are not best served if we own a device more than a year old.

Third. Although your iCloud based backup, that you pay Apple for every month, contains all of your music. They will NOT move your music or other content to the new device. You still need to use iTunes for that. So why bother downloading from iTunes Store again, since you already have it in your library and will need to reload all that music from your computer anyway.

Watch were the ball is headed. Apple wants you to subscribe to services, not use your already owned music. If you are fine with that and always own the latest devices with the latest revs of code - then express setup could be for you.

Macrumors needs to learn how to be critical. Not just a smoke factory.

Before folks point out. Sure it’s my first post. Nope, I’m not anti apple. Yet. I’ve got shares (held for a long time). Had macs (also for a long time, though only intel based so not that long). iPads (normal and pro and pencil). Obv I have an older iPhone (4,5 and latest 6 plus). Have a Apple Watch (gen 0). Yup use their cloud too.

Nope express setup is an extremely poor way for Apple to “help” move an existing user from one device to another. They are experimenting on their use base. And they force you to use it if you want to continue using your original Apple Watch with your new iPhone X.

They can do better laying out the upgrade process. And macrumors can do better being critical of Apple. We all could be getting better service.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MH01 Avatar
65 months ago
This is an excellent feature
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
2013.1 Avatar
65 months ago
In my opinion it is no good for replacing devices.
I used it twice for migration. It was a pain both times.
At some point the process askes if a backup should be restored.
The iOS in the box was always older than the iOS on the old device.
Therefore iTunes couldn’t restore the backup onto the new device.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
devfarce Avatar
65 months ago
This makes it so easy to restore software on an iPhone or iPad. I’ve been having some battery issues lately (who hasn’t) and wanted to make sure that everything was up to date. I used my iPhone 6 to restore my iPad Mini 2 and then my iPad to restore my iPhone shortly thereafter.

Connecting to WiFi is automatic and after about 10 mins, my phone is just how I like it. I do wish I could keep Apple Watch and health info in iCloud and move to new devices but I like the local storage for privacy implications.

Re:etgg
It’s MacRumors, not the New York Times. It’s not going to be critical. And this is an informational article to get readership from people with new devices.

Use iCloud music library all of the music just shows up again. And purchases can be re-downloaded.

MacRumors is a smoke factory, that’s the reason it’s called MacRumors.


...
Upgrade and then backup old phone and Apple Watch BEFORE starting express update.
NOTE your paid content WILLNOT be copied over via express update.
...
That’s right. Any other path and your one or two years of Apple Watch Data is gone.

It won’t move your music or other content. Not even if it’s backed up in Apple cloud in your latest backup. And not even if you bought it on iTunes - though you can download it again after you are all setup. More on that later.
...
Third. Although your iCloud based backup, that you pay Apple for every month, contains all of your music. They will NOT move your music or other content to the new device. You still need to use iTunes for that. So why bother downloading from iTunes Store again, since you already have it in your library and will need to reload all that music from your computer anyway.

Macrumors needs to learn how to be critical. Not just a smoke factory.
...
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
spazzcat Avatar
65 months ago
In my opinion it is no good for replacing devices.
I used it twice for migration. It was a pain both times.
At some point the process askes if a backup should be restored.
The iOS in the box was always older than the iOS on the old device.
Therefore iTunes couldn’t restore the backup onto the new device.
This the last piece of this puzzle they need to solve. Setting up my new phone was nice until I forgot I have the beta on my old phone. First thing it should do is part of this automatic set up is check to see if the phones have the save version of the OS.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

A16 iPhone 14 Pro

iPhone 14 Pro Faced 'Unprecedented' Setback Leading to Removal of New Graphics Processor

Friday December 23, 2022 6:32 am PST by
Apple planned a major generational update for the iPhone 14 Pro's graphics capabilities, but was forced to scrap plans for the new GPU late in development after "unprecedented" missteps were discovered, according to The Information. In a paywalled report, The Information claimed that Apple engineers were "too ambitious" in adding new features to the graphics processor designed for the iPhone ...
apple wallet drivers license feature

These 12 U.S. States Will Let You Add Your Driver's License to Your iPhone

Monday December 19, 2022 10:26 am PST by
Apple continues to roll out a feature that allows residents of participating U.S. states to add their driver's license or state ID to the Wallet app on the iPhone and Apple Watch, providing a convenient and contactless way to display proof of identity or age. The feature has only launched in Arizona, Colorado, and Maryland so far, but Apple shared a list of additional U.S. states committed...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

5 New iOS 16 Features Coming to Your iPhone in 2023

Saturday December 24, 2022 6:06 am PST by
Apple recently released iOS 16.2 with many new features. Now, attention turns to additional features coming to the iPhone in 2023. We've recapped five iPhone features that Apple has previously promised to launch or expand, such as an Apple Pay Later financing option and an Apple Card savings account for earning interest on Daily Cash. At least one feature listed below will be part of iOS...
top stories 24dec2022

Top Stories: All-New Mac Pro in Testing, AirTag Updates, and More

Saturday December 24, 2022 6:00 am PST by
It's Christmas Eve, but that doesn't mean there hasn't been much in the way of Apple news and rumors in recent days as we've been hearing details about Apple's plans for the Mac Pro, iPhone SE, and more. In other news, Apple has detailed changes it made in a couple of recent AirTags firmware updates, while the company appears to have pulled back a new Home app architecture it began offering...
santa tracker 1

Track Santa's Journey From the North Pole Using Google's Santa Tracker

Saturday December 24, 2022 2:01 am PST by
If you have been good this year, you may be interested to learn that Google today launched its annual Santa tracking feature, allowing Santa to be tracked in real time on his mythical journey to the North Pole as he prepares to deliver presents to kids around the world. Google's Santa Tracker continues a 19-year tradition for the company, allowing excited children (and parents!) to keep up...
3nm apple silicon feature

3nm Chips From Apple Supplier TSMC to Enter Mass Production This Week

Sunday December 25, 2022 11:41 pm PST by
Apple's main chip supplier TSMC will kick off mass production of 3nm chips this week, with Apple being the primary customer of the new process, which could first be used in upcoming M2 Pro chips expected to power updated MacBook Pro and Mac mini models. According to the new report by DigiTimes, TSMC will start mass production of its next-generation 3nm chip process on Thursday, December 29, ...
netflix1

Netflix to Begin Cracking Down on Password Sharing in Early 2023

Wednesday December 21, 2022 2:14 pm PST by
Popular streaming service Netflix is planning to put an end to password sharing starting in early 2023, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. There have been persistent rumors about the end of password sharing, and Netflix has been exploring methods to crack down on it, but the changes are set to officially go into effect next year. Netflix has long known that password...