Setting up new iPhone without iCloud backup

We decided to take advantage of the trade in offers and upgrade my SOs XR. He’s only had the 5gb iCloud account so his phone hasn’t been backed up in ages. All he really has on there is an IMAP email account and photos, which he is pretty good about moving to his computer after he takes them.

Will the quick start phone-to-phone process setup the new phone directly without a backup? I used it for the first time with my 13 Mini, but I also had an iCloud backup - and it’s a little more nerve-wracking when it’s someone elses data.


I had no iCloud back up. In fact I had no Wi-Fi at all. Quickstart seamlessly transferred all the important info such as logins etc. to my new phone (mini 13). I use Imazing for back ups so I just plugged in the mini to my MB air and transferred apps etc. I imagine if you have an iTunes back up you can do the same thing. If you are using Verizon don’t forget to turn off find my on the old phone before you start to do the transfer. That was my only glitch and that was my fault for not reading all the Verizon instructions. So you should be good without the iCloud back up
(Edited to correct typos from dictation, sigh)

Why not upgrade his iCloud account for a month to do the upgrade ?

Apple has a Temporary iCloud Backup for switching to a new device:

"You have 21 days to restore your temporary backup to your new iPhone or iPad before your temporary iCloud storage expires and your backup is permanently deleted.” You can get an extension yourself and then further extensions by talking to Apple Support.

As to the phone to phone transfer, it’s called Quick Start:

I’m guessing it would be the same as from an iCloud Backup, but it’s not obvious. I’ve done the Quick Start with iPads and iPhones and it worked really well.



1 Like

The Quick Start does work. I used it for my phone. But check with your carrier’s migration process before you start. There may be things to watch out for.

For example, Verizon’s procedure asks you to disable Find My on the old phone and then power it off. They want you to perform a manual setup in order to get the new SIM card properly activated. When you get to the part of the setup where you are asked if you want to restore an old phone’s backup, you can power it on and (allegedly) use QuickStart to transfer the data from the old phone.

(I say “allegedly”, because I didn’t follow Verizon’s directions and therefore didn’t experience this part of the procedure. I did a QuickStart immediately after powering on the new phone. Everything transferred, but the new SIM card refused to activate. I needed to involve Verizon’s phone support to retry the activation, which did work.)

You should also note the following:

  • If your iCloud storage isn’t big enough for a backup, Apple will temporarily grant you enough backup space to complete a device migration. According to Apple Insider this was announced in June of this year.
  • If you don’t want to use iCloud backup, you can still make a backup to any Mac or PC over a USB cable (or via Wi-Fi). On PCs and older Macs, you do this via iTunes. On newer Macs, you do it via the Finder. Either way, be sure to create an encrypted backup - this will cause it to back up secure data like saved passwords.
  • But you should definitely try the QuickStart first. It’s fastest and easiest. You should definitely make a backup (via iCloud or a computer), but don’t set up the new phone from that backup unless QuickStart fails.

Yes! I have the Find My thing in my notes (hopefully I don’t forget). It didn’t work for me anyway, my own phone has been a process that’s still not done since the pre-order date. My account is such a mess.

I did buy iMazing and see that I can install it on 2 more machines.

He doesn’t have iTunes either. I think he has a couple of apps that we can download again if need be.

I never plugged my phone into anything to restore apps so they either came from the cloud or across from the other phone.


Hi - that’s an option but I didn’t know if I even needed to. He doesn’t have any payment info stored, so I was going to do the Family Share from mine.


I don’t remember if I powered mine off.

I ended up being without a phone for over a day. They accidentally sold me the phone as a pre-order so their system didn’t even think I had it. I had to go back to the store to have them activate it, by “returning” and then rebuying it.

(I could write a full book on my purchase hell, experience)


I did follow Verizon’s instructions (thanks to your post a few days before) and Quick Start using that exact procedure worked for me. There were a few odd apps that I needed to log in to again, but almost everything worked as if I was still using my old phone.

An even better option :slight_smile:

Why does Apple try to coerce you to do the transfer via iCloud. Its called bait and switch viral marketing. They figure if they can get you do it via iCloud you will run out of free space and subscribe, or do the temp thing and forget to cancel so that they can squeeze more money out of your accounts on a continual basis. Thank goodness for the postings that provide other options other than iCloud.


I’ve never done iCloud myself. I’ve transfered several iPhones just fine over USB. My wife did try iCloud once because that was what everybody told her to do when the restore from iTunes backup didn’t work. Of course the iCloud backup suffered the exact same fate. Only difference was now her data had been copied to some Apple server out of her control and who knows when it will really get scrubbed there in its entirety (if ever).

Stick to a Mac and a USB cable if you can. iPhone to iPhone is fine too using their new tool if you can. Personally, I would try to stay as far from iCloud as I can. As much as Apple tries, their cloud services just stink IMHO. (yeah, Safari tab syncing has been broken here once again for the past 2 months—like clockwork, every time a new macOS or iOS comes out, as if it were designed for planned obsolescence) :roll_eyes:

Therein lies the rub, my Mac is Sierra and won’t take an older phone.

He doesn’t have iTunes on his Windows machine. Anytime he’s tried on his older machines it’s been a disaster.

He’s a little sketchy on the cloud as well so we may just do phone to phone.

I’ll see if I can get an iMazing backup on his computer first, but I’d have no idea how to restore it on a new phone really.


Thankfully it doesn’t work that way. The temporary storage remains for up to 21 days after backup and it disappears automatically after that, or 7 days after you restore the backup, whichever comes first. There’s nothing to cancel.

So, no questionable ethics about this feature anyway.


IMazing Has clear instructions on how to restore from an iMazing back up. Easy Peezy.

You can back his phone up to your Mac and restore from your mac if that is easier for you than Windows.

1 Like

No, there is no conspiracy here. There are three ways of transferring data from an old iOS device to a new one: Quick Start (which is, if anything, the recommended method), iCloud Backup, and macOS backup. Apple is merely providing options for a variety of situations, and as @ddmiller points out, the temporary storage just goes away after the specified amount of time.


I am finally getting this going (and hope I don’t have to argue with Verizon about the trade in).

Apples estimated times are horrendous! I had to first update the phone to iOS 15 in order to activate the temporary iCloud storage. I canceled the first download as I thought it was stuck, but it likely wasn’t (the progress bar on “preparing” is sooo thin it’s hard to see at an angle). So the entire update took over an hour.

On to the iCloud backup. It started and it was at a few percent and said 4 minutes remaining. A few percent more and we’ve got 6 minutes. I’ve finally hit 50% and I’ve got 47 minutes remaining, and it’s taken me 45 minutes to get here.

And now I’m at 51% with 48 minutes remaining.
52% with 49 minutes remaining. This is brutal!! Please tell me at some point the minutes will start counting down?! Each percent is taking over 90 seconds. He has about 40gb on the phone.