The Complete Guide to Transferring Data when Changing Phones

Android Apps - phone data transfer

Acquiring a new mobile device entails both excitement and a significant administrative process. Prior to enjoying the convenience of answering WhatsApp messages and capturing photos on the go, one must navigate through a series of seven tests involving the transfer of all data to the new phone. This procedure typically consumes around an hour.

For those initiating their Android phone and tasked with migrating data from the old device, this comprehensive guide provides essential insights. It covers everything to be mindful of, recommends specific applications to use, and outlines the most effective methods for transferring various types of data. Best of luck with the process!

The data you aim to transfer to your new phone is a crucial consideration

Text message Backup

When you unbox your new device, the last thing on your mind is contemplating the data on your old phone that needs to be transferred and the precise method to execute this task. Understandably, after over a decade of Android use, there remains no universal method that seamlessly and flawlessly facilitates data transfer from previous phones.

Our recommendation is not to delete your old phone entirely until you’ve spent some time familiarizing yourself with the new one and ensuring that nothing vital is overlooked. What data might you miss? The key pieces of information you’ll want to migrate from your old phone to your new one include:

  • Contacts: If your contacts are synced to your Google account, there’s no need to worry. However, if you’re transitioning from an iPhone or had contacts saved in the phone’s internal memory or SIM card, this requires attention.
  • SMS and MMS Messages: Often overlooked during migration, SMS messages are not automatically synced or saved in the cloud. To preserve them, ensure a proper transfer.
  • Call Log: If retaining your call history is important, use an app capable of copying this information.
  • Calendar: If you use a synced calendar like Google Calendar, no additional action is needed. Otherwise, confirm that your calendar events are saved on your new device.
  • Notes: Apps like Google Keep store synced notes in the cloud. For locally saved notes, secure them before parting ways with your old phone.

  • Bookmarks, History, and Passwords for the Web: If using a web browser without synced passwords, safeguard your data. Google Chrome users with a logged-in account are exempt from this concern.
  • Applications: Reinstalling all your apps on the new phone can be tedious. While data migration apps assist in reinstalling favorites, you’ll typically need to log in and set them up again.
  • Photos and Videos: Ensure the transfer of your extensive photo and video collection to the new device, a critical yet potentially chaotic task.
  • Music and Audio: For those with music or other audio files saved on the old phone, replicating them on the new device is essential.
  • Settings: Minimize the hassle of setting up your phone again by preserving your settings on the new device as much as possible.
  • WhatsApp Chats: Given the unique configuration and backup system of WhatsApp, carefully migrate this application, as it can only be set up on a single mobile phone at a time.

Preparations Before Initiating the Migration Process

Prior to delving into the installation of applications, connecting cables, and navigating the seemingly endless startup wizard on your new phone, it is advisable to undertake a set of preliminary preparations. These proactive measures will contribute to a smoother and faster migration process.

Executing a series of tasks on your old phone can save you from potential headaches. Transmitting tens or hundreds of gigabytes from one phone to another can be time-consuming, so it’s beneficial to declutter your old phone. Discard unused items, such as that long-neglected game, the surplus of unneeded screenshots, or the blurry assortment of New Year’s fireworks videos. The principle is straightforward: the less data on the old phone, the quicker the copying process. Additionally, this ensures that you don’t transfer unnecessary “garbage” from the old mobile phone to your pristine new device. Be mindful to delete only what is no longer needed.

Furthermore, it is essential to have a recent backup of as much data as possible, particularly if backups are configured on a weekly or monthly basis. An example of such backups is found in WhatsApp, where you can initiate a new backup through Settings > Chats > Backup.

This backup practice extends to other applications that require manual backup procedures, along with ensuring that Google data sync is active. While synchronization is typically automatic nowadays, it’s crucial to verify its status. You can do this by navigating to Android settings > Accounts > your Google Account and confirming that all syncing functions are active.

A recommended step is to manually review all installed apps, considering whether any specific actions need to be taken before transferring them to the new phone. Examples often overlooked include exporting Nova Launcher settings if you wish to preserve icons and widgets. This can take place through Nova settings, specifically under Backup & Restore.

Start with the Android Migration Assistant

Samsung Android 14

When you’re prepared to initiate the data transfer to your new phone, the initial step involves turning it on. Upon starting an Android phone for the first time, you’ll be prompted to perform a basic setup, including selecting the language, connecting to a Wi-Fi network, and optionally signing in with your Google account.

Shortly thereafter, Google will inquire whether you want to copy apps and data from an old phone. If affirmative, you can opt to copy from an Android phone, a cloud backup, or an iPhone.

The setup wizard, displayed when you turn on your new phone, encompasses the data migration process. Depending on your choice, you may need to connect both phones with a designated cable, although wireless transfer is more commonly facilitated via private Wi-Fi between the devices. In the absence of your old phone, the alternative to restore from a cloud backup remains viable, underscoring the importance of keeping all backups up to date.

Android’s Data Migration and Setup Wizard are capable of copying data akin to that in a Google backup. They cover a comprehensive array of elements to be transferred from one phone to another, including:

  1. Contacts
  2. Calendar Events
  3. SMS & MMS
  4. Wi-Fi Networks and Passwords
  5. Wallpapers
  6. Gmail Options
  7. Installed Apps
  8. System Settings (e.g., screen brightness, auto-turnoff time, language)
  9. App-specific Settings (varies by app)
  10. Photos & Videos

While utilizing this assistant is recommended as the primary method for transferring data, it’s important to note that the process may not be flawless. Android data migration currently faces challenges, and users may encounter issues such as disorganized photos, prolonged system setup times, or apps not retaining their options. Expecting some side effects can help manage expectations during the transfer process.

Exclusive Migration App from Your Phone Manufacturer

phone data transfer

In the already intricate process of switching phones, numerous phone manufacturers. Including Google for its Pixel devices, introduce their own dedicated data transfer tools. While these tools can be in use alongside the generic Android options, it’s worth noting that there may be instances where data duplication occurs, particularly with photos.

If your old phone comes equipped with a manufacturer-specific migration app, it is advisable to utilize it. These tools offers seamless transmission of specific data unique to that particular mobile device. For instance, Samsung’s migration tool can efficiently copy notes saved in the Samsung Notes app. Showcasing the benefits of leveraging manufacturer-specific solutions for a more targeted and effective data transfer process.

Google Pixel – Google Data Transfer Tool

Specific to the Google Pixel, users have access to the Google Data Transfer Tool, a proprietary utility designed for seamless data migration. While similar to the generic Android migration process, it distinguishes itself with a modern interface and a noteworthy addition: the capability to stream WhatsApp chats from an iPhone in specific cases.

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The Google Data Transfer Tool facilitates the transfer of various data types, including apps, photos, videos, SMS messages, device settings, call logs, and even WhatsApp chats, from one mobile device to another. Moreover, it encompasses all data synchronized in the Google cloud, such as contacts and calendar information. This tool enhances the transition experience for Google Pixel users by offering a streamlined and efficient method for transferring diverse data sets.

Samsung – Smart Switch

Samsung phones feature an official migration utility known as Smart Switch, a pre-installed application on Samsung devices. Smart Switch provides users with the flexibility to transfer data from their old phones through both wired and wireless methods.

The diverse range of data that Smart Switch can seamlessly transfer from one phone to another includes contacts, music, photos, calendar entries, text messages, device settings, apps, home screen configurations, audio messages, and more. With its comprehensive capabilities, Smart Switch serves as an integral tool for Samsung users seeking a smooth and efficient transition between devices.

Huawei – Phone Clone

For Huawei phones, the designated data migration tool facilitating the transfer of data from one device to another is called Phone Clone. The standard procedure involves installing the app on both terminals and establishing a connection by scanning a QR code.

Huawei Phone Clone enables the migration of various data types, including contacts, SMS messages, call logs, calendar entries, photos, videos, recordings, music, documents, and apps, from the old phone to the new Huawei device. This tool simplifies the process, ensuring a comprehensive transfer of data to enhance the user experience on the new Huawei phone.

OPPO – Clone Phone

Similar to Huawei’s Phone Clone, OPPO introduces its own data migration tool known as Clone Phone. This application is designed specifically for ColorOS-based devices, offering a dedicated solution for transferring data seamlessly. The transfer process is conducted wirelessly, typically initiated by scanning a QR code.

Using OPPO Clone Phone, users can migrate a diverse range of data, including contacts, SMS messages, call history, photos, videos, music, audio files, documents, system settings, installed apps, and data from certain applications such as WeChat or QQ chats. This specialized tool streamlines the migration process for OPPO users, ensuring the efficient transfer of data to their new device.

OnePlus – Clone Phone

Given their close relationship as first cousins, OnePlus and OPPO share similarities in their data migration apps, including their design. OnePlus offers the Clone Phone application. Allowing users to transfer data from an Android phone to a OnePlus device seamlessly, using Wi-Fi without utilizing mobile data.

With OnePlus Clone Phone, users can effortlessly migrate a range of data, including contacts, SMS messages, call logs, photos, videos, audio files, apps, and data from specific applications. An interesting feature is that the same application can be in use to create a backup of the phone. Adding an extra layer of convenience for users looking to safeguard their data.

Xiaomi – Mi Mover

For Xiaomi, Redmi, and related company phones, the recommended data migration app is Xiaomi’s Mi Mover, which has been globally available relatively recently. Its usage is straightforward: users simply need to choose whether their mobile phone is the sender or receiver, search for the other device among nearby devices, and the transfer process is initiated.

Xiaomi Mi Mover facilitates the transfer of various data types, including photos, SMS messages, contacts, call logs, audios, videos, documents, system application settings, and applications, from one mobile phone to another. This app is compatible with Xiaomi, Redmi, and Poco mobile devices. Providing users with a convenient and efficient means of migrating their data.

LG – Mobile Switch

While LG has discontinued its mobile division, there may still be instances, such as acquiring a second-hand device, where you might need to use its specialized data migration app. In such cases, the app to utilize is LG Mobile Switch.

Despite its vintage feel, LG Mobile Switch is compatible with any LG phone from the LG G3 onwards. The app offers three modes for transferring data: using a cable, wirelessly, and with the assistance of a MicroSD card. The data types that can be migrated include photos, videos, music, documents, call logs, contacts, text messages, calendar entries, apps, and voice memos. This application provides users with options for efficiently transferring their data to an LG device. Even as the company has moved away from the mobile market.

Sony – Xperia Transfer

Sony Xperia users can employ the proprietary app, Sony Xperia Transfer, to seamlessly transfer essential data from their previous phones. The transfer process can be conducted via Wi-Fi Direct or USB when moving from an Android phone. Or by using a cable or iCloud when transitioning from an iPhone.

Sony Xperia Transfer facilitates the migration of various data types, including photos, videos, music, documents, contacts, call history, SMS messages, calendar entries, and certain system settings, especially if the transfer is from another Sony Xperia device. This app provides Xperia users with a convenient solution for transferring their important data to a new device within the Sony ecosystem.

ASUS – ASUS Data Transfer

For ASUS users, the official migration tool is ASUS Data Transfer. This application enables the wireless transfer of a wide range of data from an older phone to an ASUS device with Zen UI.

ASUS Data Transfer supports the migration of various data types, including contacts, call history, calendar entries, SMS messages, browser favorites, documents, files, photos, videos, music, and apps. With this tool, ASUS users can efficiently transfer their data, ensuring a smooth transition to their new device within the ASUS ecosystem.

Recommended method for each data type

Let’s delve into the recommended strategies for migrating specific types of data to ensure a smooth and accurate transition:

  • Contacts:
    • Android Assistant: Use the Android Migration Assistant, ensuring your contacts are synced to your Google account for seamless transfer.
    • Manufacturer’s App: If available, use the manufacturer’s specific migration app (e.g., Samsung Smart Switch, OnePlus Clone Phone) for optimized contact transfer.
  • SMS and MMS Messages:
    • Android Assistant: Use the Android Migration Assistant, but be aware that SMS messages may not be automatically synced or saved in the cloud.
    • Manufacturer’s App: Manufacturer-specific migration apps may offer better compatibility for SMS and MMS transfer.
  • Call Log:
    • Android Assistant: The Android Migration Assistant covers call log migration, but using a manufacturer’s app may provide additional options.
  • Calendar:
    • Android Assistant: The Android Migration Assistant is efficient for transferring calendar events, especially if you are using Google Calendar.
    • Manufacturer’s App: For manufacturer-specific calendars, utilize their migration app for optimal transfer.
  • Notes:
    • Android Assistant: Android’s Data Migration and Setup Wizard can handle synced notes, but for local notes, ensure you secure them manually.
    • Manufacturer’s App: Manufacturer apps may be adept at transferring specific note apps, such as Samsung Notes.
  • Bookmarks, History, and Passwords for the Web:
    • Android Assistant: Android’s Data Migration Assistant covers bookmarks and settings, especially for Google Chrome users.
    • Manufacturer’s App: Use manufacturer-specific apps for browsers and web-related data for a more streamlined transfer.
  • Applications:
    • Android Assistant: The Android Migration Assistant handles app transfer, but logging in and setting up again is usually required.
    • Manufacturer’s App: Manufacturer-specific apps may offer additional features for reinstalling and configuring apps.
  • Photos and Videos:
    • Android Assistant: Android’s Data Migration Assistant efficiently transfers photos and videos.
    • Manufacturer’s App: Manufacturer-specific apps may offer optimized solutions for photo and video transfer.
  • Music and Audio:
    • Android Assistant: Android’s Data Migration Assistant can handle music, but additional manual steps should take place for certain audio files.
    • Manufacturer’s App: Manufacturer apps may offer specialized options for audio files and music transfer.
  • Settings:
    • Android Assistant: The Android Migration Assistant covers system settings, but certain manufacturer apps may better handle specific device settings.
    • Manufacturer’s App: Manufacturer-specific apps may offer tailored solutions for preserving device settings.
  • WhatsApp Chats:
    • Android Assistant: Use the Android Migration Assistant. But be cautious with WhatsApp chats, as they require careful migration due to the app’s unique configuration.
    • Manufacturer’s App: Some manufacturer-specific apps may provide additional support for WhatsApp chat migration.

By combining the capabilities of the Android Migration Assistant and manufacturer-specific apps, users can tailor their migration strategy based on the specific data types and devices involved, ensuring a successful and efficient transition to a new mobile device.

Disclaimer: We may be compensated by some of the companies whose products we talk about, but our articles and reviews are always our honest opinions. For more details, you can check out our editorial guidelines and learn about how we use affiliate links.

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1 Comment

  1. March 3, 2024


    … in particular about Mi Mover and in general about the meaning of “transfer” and “migration”.

    The meaning of “copy” is clearly understood:

    — if we make one or more copies of something one ends up having the original, the others indeed a copy

    — if I transfer something to you, you end up having this something and I am left empty handed.

    If swallows migrate they are then not any more here, but there ,,,,

    So what happens transferring data? Does the recipient phone get the date and the sender phone lose them?