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Guide: How you can get free iCloud storage
With iOS 15, Apple updated the ways you can transfer your stuff from one iPhone ($380 at Amazon) to another. And that’s good news because the new iPhone 13, 13 Mini, 13 Pro or 13 Pro Max has new cameras, faster performance and longer battery life. But you still need to move all of your messages, photos, videos and music from your old iPhone.
There are three ways to transfer stuff from your old iPhone to a new one. If you’re running MacOS Catalina or newer, you can plug your iPhone into your Mac with a charging cable and use Finder. This is fast, but you need a Mac and enough space on it for the backup file.
You can also use Apple’s direct data migration tool that copies your old phone onto your new one without using a computer or iCloud. The downside to this process is that you won’t be able to use either phone until the transfer process is complete which can take an hour or even hours to finish.
Then there’s using iCloud to do the transfer. The upside to this process is that you don’t need to be tied to a computer and you’ll have access to your old phone while the new one is downloading your backup file. The downside is that you need enough storage on your iCloud account to fit the backup file. If you’re on Apple’s free 5GB iCloud tier, that probably won’t be enough.
You could, of course, pay Apple a couple of bucks a month for more storage. But if you’d rather not, you can use iOS 15 to borrow some iCloud storage for free to back up your old iPhone. Here’s how you do it.
Use iOS 15 to borrow more iCloud storage for free
First, upgrade your old iPhone to iOS 15. This will work on the iPhone 6S ($220 at eBay) or newer. Depending on the speed of your Wi-Fi network it can take awhile to download and install. It took me about 20 minutes.
After the update is complete, go to Settings, General and tap on the new option: Transfer or Reset iPhone. A new page will appear. Under the Prepare for New iPhone section, tap Get Started.
A pop-up window called Extra iCloud to Move Apps and Data will appear. Read it over and when you’re ready hit the Continue button. You might see an iCloud Backup is Turned Off message. If you do, tap Turn On Backup to Transfer. This didn’t pop-up for me.
Next, the Move Data for All Your Apps screen will appear. Read it over. There’s a list of apps that are not syncing their data with iCloud. Tap the Move All App Data with iCloud button. Another screen pops up explaining what you can do with your old iPhone. Read it over, or not. Then hit the blue Done button.
Your old iPhone will start backing up to iCloud. If you look on the main page in Settings, you’ll see a new section that says, “iCloud Backup in Progress”. Once the backup is complete, that new section in Settings will read, “Ready for your new iPhone”.
Extend your temporary iCloud backup for 21 more days
You can start this process up to 21 days in advance of buying a new iPhone. Just remember that any new texts, iMessages, photos or videos won’t be in that backup. If your new iPhone doesn’t arrive within 21 days, you can get an additional 21 days to restore your temporary backup before it’s deleted by opening Settings and tapping Keep My Backup Longer.
When your new iPhone arrives, whether it’s an iPhone 13 or older, power it on and follow the prompts completing tasks like entering a passcode, setting up FaceID and agreeing to Apple’s terms and conditions. Eventually, you’ll end up on a screen offering you different ways to transfer your data, Select Restore from iCloud. Then sign in to iCloud with the same Apple ID and password as your old iPhone.
Choose the most recent backup and follow the prompts, after which your backup file will start downloading onto your new iPhone. After the download is complete, your new iPhone will reboot and your apps will finish downloading. All of your photos, emails, contacts, appointments and messages will be there.
You might be wondering, what happens to that temporary iCloud backup when you’re done. It will stay available for seven days and then be permanently deleted.
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