Best way to transfer info from iPhone 3G to iPhone 4

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by medgirl2001, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. medgirl2001, Jun 21, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012

    medgirl2001 macrumors regular

    Jan 11, 2009
    On Thursday, hopefully if our reservations hold, my husband and I should be getting iPhone 4s. I will be upgrading from a 3GS, and don't anticipate any issues transferring everything (I use MobileMe for calendar/contacts/etc. and have pictures backed up). I prefer setting up the new phone from scratch and not trying to restore a backup - actually, I'm not sure if you even can do that when changing phones as I've never tried.

    My concern is with my husband's phone. He will be going from a 3G to an iPhone 4 and he will want to get his contacts and pictures transferred over, but currently he doesn't sync either of those things with anything. My question is - what is the best way to do this? Can he set up the new phone from a backup of his old phone? If not, I know pictures can easily be imported to the computer and then exported back to the new phone, but what about contacts if he doesn't currently sync them to anything?
  2. treyjustice macrumors 65816


    Jun 14, 2009
    He has to sync and back up or he will lose everything.
  3. -aggie- macrumors P6


    Jun 19, 2009
    Where bunnies are welcome.
    He’s going to need to restore from a backup. Uh, why doesn’t he sync his iPhone? That’s not a very good practice.

    You can also restore from a backup, but you’d be better off setting up as new and then syncing (as long as you’ve synced what can be synced). You’d lose app settings and game save data and text messages, but everything else should be fine.
  4. nparmelee macrumors 6502

    Jan 23, 2008
    Sync them to something, either Google or through iTunes. Apps will be easier to re-install if you sync those to iTunes too.
  5. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    Most people just plug their new iPhone into iTunes and let iTunes restore the last backup onto it.

    Since your PIM data is on MobileMe, you have the option of starting clean with your iPhone 4, but you're going to lost every setting in every app that you've installed. You'd just sign in with MobileMe, which will download your PIM stuff, then plug into iTunes and reinstall all of your apps.

    Your husband will probably have to go the iTunes backup/restore route. Unless you want to sign up him for a 60-day free MobileMe trial.
  6. medgirl2001 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 11, 2009
    Tell me about it. It makes me crazy, but I'm a little OCD about backing things up.

    He actually does sync his phone (or I sync it for him) from time to time, but doesn't sync the contacts to any particular program, so the only backup of that data, to my knowledge, would be in the phone backup itself.

    Yes, I think setting it up as new is better in general, despite having to set some stuff up again. That is going to be a bit of a pain, though, since our computer already has all of my stuff synced to Calendar and Address Book. I guess we will need to create a second login for his stuff.
  7. medgirl2001 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 11, 2009
    Yeah, I know it's a bit more of a pain setting up from scratch, but it may help me clean out some stuff I don't need anyway. I'm not too worried about my stuff.

    Okay, well it helps to know he can backup/restore from an older phone. That probably would be the easiest.

    I actually think we may add him on to the MobileMe account on a family plan. I'll have to figure out if that can be done in the middle of my current subscription for MobileMe.
  8. dkleeman macrumors newbie

    Aug 16, 2010
    You can transfer only your texts and favorites without bringing over the large amounts of rubbish that you have probably accumulated.

    Find your latest 3G backup (in Windows 7 it will be in your user profile in a folder similar to %USERNAME%\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup with a long hexadecimal folder name. Each phone has a unique backup folder.

    First back up this folder to a safe place.

    The text message file is called 3d0d7e5fb2ce288813306e4d4636395e047a3d28 and the favorites file is called b64e73540b6221bffc16b18f2205e1335e31d7d8. Delete all the other long file names leaving the following five short file names: info.plist, manifest.mbdb, manifest.mbdx, manifest.plist & status.plist. These five files are essential as they contain checksum information that validates the data files.

    If you then perform a restore operation in the normal way using iTunes, choosing the old phone backup from the list, it will finish very quickly and give you an error message at the end. This error is normal and is caused by the missing files.

    After your phone has rebooted you will find the favorites and text messages have transferred and nothing else.
  9. TheConfuzed1 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 4, 2003
    Why do you want to set it up as a new phone?

    There is no advantage to doing that. In fact, it's a huge disadvantage! That's why the option exists to restore from backup!

    That's what I do every time, and I've never had any problems from doing so.
  10. medgirl2001 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 11, 2009
    That's a nifty trick - thanks for posting.
  11. medgirl2001 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 11, 2009
    Okay, first of all this is an old thread. He did end up restoring from a backup and it worked fine.

    There are, however, times when setting up as a new device makes sense. Sometimes goofed-up settings and other problems can get carried over. In a related but slightly different scenario, I had an iPod touch that I updated to iOS4. After the update, the battery drained overnight everyday, even if it hadn't been used at all. After a "clean install" setting it up as a new device, that problem went away.
  12. mlts22 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2008
    If you are into jailbreaking, I wonder about a utility like AppBackup, and then grabbing the tarballs out of the /var/mobile directory, then when one gets the new phone, assuming it can be jailbroken, doing so, and restoring selective apps using that.

    That might be an idea.
  13. reanudar macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2010
    I know this is an old thread... but, thanks dkleeman, this worked very well for me on IOS 4.2. Does anyone have a list containing more than those two files? SMS and favorites came back, but I lost all my MMS. My problem to begin with was that my contact list only were able to view 30 of 300 contacts after going from 4.1 to 4.2.1. The contacts shown was the first 30, and they spread from A to Z in the contact list.
  14. crashnburn macrumors 6502

    Nov 18, 2009
    Any updates here?

    Did you lose the contacts using this Backup-Modified Restore? or Were the contacts reduced some other way. i.e. Normal iTunes Sync before this was done.
  15. bigbear27 macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2011
    I was having trouble with this for a couple of days and I had to come back here and tell everyone since what i figured out took less than 30 seconds.

    The "bump" app has an option for sending contacts from one phone to another. It actually had the option to "select all" contacts. You just have to have the app on both phones and will need wifi since your old phone is deactivated.

    I don't know if they charge for the app, it was one of the first apps i got on the 3gs, but i would say it was worth a few bucks for this process. You can also use it for pictures.

    Here is what i did to show how easy it was...

    Open "bump" app
    select "contacts"
    select "others"
    select "add contacts"
    select "select all"
    bump them together and you are done.

    again, i just had to share because it was so easy for me.
  16. quantumwq macrumors newbie

    Nov 22, 2011
    totally agree with jimmywell, as I've try on my iphone 3G to iphone 4 following apple supprt of ways to transfer info from iphone to iphone:

    Connect your current iPhone to iTunes and sync it. Verify that your original iPhone is backed up
    Connect your new iPhone to iTunes
    When your new iPhone appears again in the iTunes window, select it.
    Click the tabs (Music, Photos, and so on) and verify or change the items you want to sync.
    Click Apply to sync your new iPhone with iTunes.

    whole guides at
    or ask for 3rd part tools help like free trial but not total free
  17. cherrykate macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2011
    Best way to transfer info from iPhone 3G to iPhone 4

    In my opinion, an easy way is to transfer iPhone 3G files to iTunes (use imedia transfer for mac ), then directly sync them to your iPhone 4 via iTunes.
  18. robyn19 macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2012
    backup 3, and restore from backup onto the 4s worked perfect for me

    moved from iphone 3 to iphone 4s. made sure latest version of itunes installed. I synced the phone with itunes on a regular basis. on my device tabs, i just had “sync apps”, “sync music” and “sync tones” boxes checked, the other tabs were not checked to sync (my contacts are synced through my gmail acct). so i just right clicked on device name and selected “back up”. then i unplugged iphone 3 and plugged in iphone 4s and just right clicked on this device’s name and selected “restore from backup” (mine didn’t prompt me automatically so that’s why i had to right click for the restore). the iphone 4s brought over everything from old phone, pictures (even though this sync button was not checked), music, ringtones, etc. I was told by an IT person that if I did this, it would mess up the new phone but it looks perfectly fine to me. brought all my apps over the way i had set them up (groups of apps in the boxes even). all my settings were carried over. and the new apps from iphone 4s (game center, videos, etc) are still on the new phone (was afraid they would get deleted). i don’t understand why anyone would set this up as a new phone and manually setup up everything from scratch if they have an iphone prior to upgrading – just make sure to sync it regularly in your itunes acct and backup. I got super paranoid about my pics possibly not transferring but they are all fine (it was a “backup” in theory so I don’t know why I freaked out). I do recommend downloading Dropbox and uploading your photos there as a backup method though.
  19. swirledworld macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2012

    I tried this and it took the software feel of the 3GS. Siri is nowhere to be found.... can anyone help?
  20. Ishmumrhmn macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2012
    My best suggestion for transferring contacts would be to use something called Idrove Lite. Its 100% free from the app store And also is cross device compatible
  21. reanudar macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2010
    Just to clarify. Those of you who understand what dkleeman is talking about, just do it. Those of you who don't understand, and are able to use iTunes as mentioned by some people, just do that. The solution presented by dkleeman was for people having TROUBLE, like myself, and the advise turned out to be excellent. It will ONLY return your Favorites and your SMS's. Once you sync with iTunes later, all the other stuff are synced to. Like pictures, music, apps... This was only a solution for people with serious trouble wanting to restore the SMS dialogs (Favorites was just a bonus. That's easy to restore manually later)!

    This thread is old, and I don't think this will work on iPhone 4S with the current Itunes version. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
  22. Aurora91 macrumors newbie

    Mar 29, 2012
    Best way to transfer info from iPhone 3G to iPhone 4

    use a third party tool like imedia transfer for Mac etc.
  23. AceRimmer macrumors newbie

    Mar 29, 2012

    Read all the blurb, then used brain! Forget the mobile phone company drivel....
    1. Back up old v3 phone to iTunes
    2. While backing up, get your new sim activated, may involve phone call as my online failed!
    3. with new sim in shiny new 4s iPhone, plug into iTunes, set up as new phone, as the s/w on phone is out of date, won't let you choose other option!
    When done, install new s/w for iPhone, 20 mins approx.
    4. Restore/sync new phone, make sure has a different name to old one, remember default is 'x's' iPhone.
    5. IF using iCloud, your contacts will be updated quite soon, may take 15 mins, do not be tempted to check the 'sync contacts' box, you will et duplicates, or even triplicates!
    6. Once your new sim is active, old phone dies! You may have 5 mins without a phone!

    Mine all sorted within 40 mins, no help desk, no hassle! Good luck :D
  24. UncleheFTy macrumors member


    Aug 26, 2009
    This may sound dumb...

    ...I'm a bit of a technophobe and am about to transfer my old IP4 to my wife who has a IP3G and am concerned that the two sims are different. Can some kind soul take me through the process on a step by step basis or point me at a helpful Youtubespace that might show it?

    My concerns are:
    The sim that is in the IP4 was my old sim
    The sim that is in the 3G is hers and it is the old full size version

    Thanks ever so

    Uncle H

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