Gears of Tech

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How to Prepare Your iPhone 4/4s for an iPhone 5 Upgrade


In the old days, replacing a phone meant reentering your contacts one by one, installing additional add-ons and modifying factory settings. Fortunately, this isn’t the case anymore.

When your iPhone 5 arrives, you can have every app, email and text currently on your iPhone 4 or 4s ready to go within minutes, if you prepare. Here’s what you can do today to be ready when you swap handsets.

Install the Latest Version of iTunes

The iPhone 5 will need to sync with iTunes so make sure to update the application to its latest build. The latest version of iTunes is 10.7. You can upgrade by selecting Check for Updates from the iTunes File menu.

Note: It’s possible iTunes will think you’re on the current version when you’re not. If this is the case, head over to Apple and download the update manually.

Clean up your Apps

I have 161 Apps on iTunes and 98 of those installed on my iPhone. Start cleaning up iTunes by removing apps you are certain will never be used again. Goodbye Angry Birds. The last thing you need is unnecessary apps hogging up your new phone.

To make things easier, hold down on the command key while selecting a few apps followed by the delete key to remove them. Now do the same on your iPhone.

Back Up Your Device

Unless you want to start from scratch, your iPhone 5 will need to access a backup to restore your apps, settings and preferences from a previous model. You can select this backup from two sources: a backup stored in your computer or iCloud.


Step 1. Open the Settings panel on your iPhone and select iCloud from the list and enter your Apple ID. If you haven’t signed up for an iCloud account, sign up for one here or follow our instructions for backing up through iTunes below.

Step 2. Select Storage & Backup then scroll to the bottom of this screen and toggle the iCloud Backup switch to On.

Step 3. Tap on Back Up Now. Note: your iPhone needs to be connected to Wi-Fi to start the backup.

Please keep in mind, the free version of iCloud will allow 5 GB of online storage shared among all your iDevices on the same iCloud account. If there’s not enough room in the cloud for all your iPhone’s storage data, you may purchase more or consider removing backup items such as your camera roll or specific apps.

Backup through iTunes

Step 1. Connect your iPhone to your computer via the USB syncing cable and launch iTunes. Alternatively, you can connect to your iPhone wirelessly if you have set this up beforehand.

Step 2. In the summary tab, ensure the back up to this computer option is selected and click on Sync. Depending on your backup size, this step may take some time. The iTunes LCD display will show a backup progress bar along with any remaining steps.

The advantage of backing up with iTunes is not having to worry about backup size limits. You can throw the 5GB cap out the window here, the size of your backup can be any size —a huge plus for 16GB and 32GB iPhones.

Installing Backup on iPhone 5

Restore iPhone 5 from Backup

Restoring your iPhone 5 from a backup is easy. Once you turn your device on, a prompt will ask you to enter your iCloud account details. Doing this will start the backup download process. Once again, depending on your backup size, this may take a while –be patient.

You can skip this step and connect your iPhone 5 to your computer with the included USB Syncing cable. iTunes will recognize your phone as a new device and ask if you’d like to restore from a backup. Choose the backup from your previous handset and you’ll be good to go.

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  • Daniel

    Just love how Apple pushes you to refresh your products by withholding apps/features. iPhone 4 is SOO yesterday apparently. I was looking forward to the turn-by-turn flyover Navigation.

    • Edward Marquez

      I was too. I’ve been without Siri on my iPhone 4 since the beginning. When I finally got it on my iPad 3 during the iOS 6 beta stage, I only used it once.

  • Laz

    I have an old operating system on my Mac and the latest version of iTunes is 10.6.3. Will this still work?