Congratulations! You own a new iPhone or iPad.
Although you're happy to be an owner of a new iOS device, you're likely losing sleep over whether all your app data and game saves have transferred between your old device and the glorious new one. Well, stop worrying, because like most things in life, there is a simple solution available. All you have to do is use iExplorer. Allow us to explain...
Transferring app and game data
As LifeHacker noted, most apps and games allow you to transfer data via the built-in iTunes backup service, which involves plugging in your old device and syncing it with iTunes, then plugging in your new device and choosing restore, and restoring data for those apps.
But if you want to ensure that all your hard work in a particular game, such as Minecraft, is saved and moved to your new device, here's how to back up individual app data to your computer:
- Download iExplorer (here). It's an app that facilitates the transfer of files from your iOS device to your computer, selectively, in order to create backups. It not only works for apps but also music, voice memos, photos, SMS, etc. The idea is that you can transfer files from your device to your computer without having to sync everything.
- Download the app you want to transfer data to on your new iOS device. So, if you want to transfer data from Minecraft, download the Minecraft app on your new device.
- Plug your old device into your computer and launch iExplorer. Your device should show up in the file browser.
- You'll then want to click the arrow next to your device name, followed by the arrow next to Apps. From there, find the app you want to transfer data from, and then click the arrow.
- While inside the app's main folder, you'll see a folder called Documents (all of your app and game data should be located in Documents). Copy the folder to your desktop.
- Disconnect your old device from your computer, then plug in your new device, and find the app you want to transfer data to on your new device using the same steps listed above.
- Find the Documents folder for the app on your new device, and then copy all the data in the Documents folder on your desktop to the new device. Simples, right?
Did something not work right?
There's a few things that can go wrong when using this method to transfer app and game data. You must remember that different apps use different save files, so you might have to adjust the above steps and copy several files or sometimes even just one file. The method should work for most apps, but just in case, here's some extra advice:
- Sometimes you might have two separate versions of an app (like an iPhone version and a HD iPad version), but you should still be able to transfer data between the two.
- Not all apps save their files in the Documents folder, and in those instances, try copying the Library folder (which saves smaller high scores and other data) in addition to the Documents folder.
- Some apps use iCloud, such as iA Writer, and in doing so, you have nothing to fret over. Just make sure the app is syncing to iCloud (more information here). It might be automatically doing that, or you need to turn on the feature in the app's settings. Most apps still save data locally though, meaning you can always use iExplorer if you prefer.
Let us know in the comments if you've used iExplorer or have any other suggestions to add.
Want an alternative solution?
If you don't feel like messing around with iExplorer or even Apple's iTunes backup service, you can always use iCloud. But first, go here to learn about the differences between backing up with iCloud versus iTunes.
iCloud, the cloud storage offered by Apple, lets you create cloud-based backups of individual apps installed on your old Phone. Even third-party apps and games that you've installed and backed up can be restored back to a new iPhone from iCloud.
To pick and choose which apps on your old iPhone should be backed up to iCloud and which ones should be left alone:
- Tap the Settings icon from the home screen
- Locate and tap the iCloud option under Settings
- Scroll down and tap the Storage option
- Tap Manage Storage on the Storage screen
- From the Manage Storage screen, tap the name of your device
- Choose the apps you want to backup data from
- Swipe to turn off/on the toggle button for each app
Now you have to transfer the iCloud backup of these apps to your new device.
Start by turning on your new device. A "Hello" screen should appear. If you've finished setting up your new device already, you need to erase the device (Tap Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings). After you've erased it, your device will restart and you'll see the "Hello" screen. Now you can transfer a backup of apps to your new device by following these steps:
- Swipe left to right on the "Hello" screen
- Go through the setup until you see the Wi-Fi screen
- Tap a Wi-Fi network to join
- Continue until you see the Apps & Data screen
- From there, tap Restore from iCloud Backup > Next
- Enter your Apple ID and password
- Choose a backup
- Stay connected and wait for the process to complete
Go here to Apple's support page for more details about transferring content from an iPhone to a new device.
So, it's safe to say that between all of the above methods, your app and game data should never be lost.