How to Transfer Data & Port Your Number Between iPhones

Setting up a new iPhone can feel like a hassle, especially if you're worried about how to transfer your data or keeping your current phone number. Luckily, you don't need to transfer a SIM card to port your phone number or to transfer your old messages, contacts, and photos to a new iPhone. If you've created a backup of your phone, have your Apple ID handy, and the contact information for your carrier, then you're close to finished with setting up your new iPhone. Here's everything you need to know about how to transfer your data and how to port your phone number to your new device.

Related: Unlock My iPhone! Buyers Guide to Used iPhones, Locked & Unlocked

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How to Port Your Phone Number Between Phones

Unless you’re a super-spy, you’ll probably want to keep the same number when you buy a new iPhone. To port your phone number between phones, you’ll need to call your carrier and let them know that you’re purchasing a new device. There might be a lock on your SIM card, but your carrier can usually lift the lock. However, you don’t need to transfer your SIM card to port your phone number to the new iPhone. That used to be true, but porting your number between phones is much easier than it used to be. The important thing is to check with your particular cellular company and make sure you follow the given instructions for setting up your new device.

To find out what carrier you're on, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap General.


     
  3. Tap About.


     
  4. Beside both Network and Carrier, you'll find the name of the carrier associated with your cellphone. 

Visit your carrier in person, or just give them a quick call, to find out what steps you need to take to transfer your number to your new device.

Do You Need to Transfer Your SIM Card to a New iPhone?

As with porting your phone number, transferring your data used to be a pain, but you no longer need to keep the same SIM card to keep your identity. You don’t need to transfer your SIM card to a new iPhone, but you should create a backup for your device before setting up your new iPhone. You’ll also want to make sure you know your passcode for your device as well as your Apple ID and password to make the transfer as painless as possible. 

How to Transfer Your Messages, Contacts, & Photos

Transferring your data helps you stay organized when you’re switching over to a new iPhone. To transfer your old messages, contacts, and photos, you’ll need to have an iCloud or iTunes backup of your old iPhone. When you set up your new iPhone, restore from either your iCloud or iTunes backup and your messages, contacts, and photos will be automatically available on your new iPhone. You can even transfer some of your setting preferences, like location tracking and privacy features. Just be sure to read and follow the onscreen prompts as you set up your new iPhone.

Transferring Data to a Locked iPhone

Before you buy a used iPhone, check with the seller to find out if the device is unlocked. A used iPhone that’s locked to a carrier will have to be unlocked to make setting up your device as painless as possible. While you can transfer your number and date to a locked iPhone, you’ll need to get it unlocked first, and that’s hard to do if you aren’t the one who set up the device in the first place. When buying used, we recommend buying an unlocked iPhones to save you a lot of hassle.

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Tamlin Day's picture

Tamlin Day is a feature web writer at iPhone Life. He has a degree in Media and Communications from Maharishi University of Management and his work has been published in the Rio Review and Breathe Free Press.