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Upgrading to the iPhone 12? Go through this checklist before setting up your new phone – CNET


The iPhone 12 is very colorful. 

James Martin/CNET

Apple’s iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are now available to order, and that means if you woke up early to ensure yours arrives on launch day, it’s nearly time to set up and transfer everything over to your new phone. If you’re holding out for the iPhone 12 Mini or iPhone 12 Pro Max, you have a couple more weeks before they’ll be available

No matter the model you plan on ordering, you can start getting your current iPhone ready for its retirement (or to sell) before your new phone gets to you. Doing this now will save you time when your new iPhone arrives, so you can start using it sooner, and with fewer setup headaches. (Here are other reasons you might want to wait.) No matter when you upgrade to a new iPhone, you’ll want to make sure you follow these steps. 


The iPhone 12 comes in blue and it looks pretty awesome. 


Triage your apps and photos — trust us

This isn’t a fun task, I admit, but it’s a necessary one. Sit down and go through all of the apps installed on your phone, deleting the apps you no longer use. Then, go through the Photos app and delete all of the random screenshots, photos and videos you don’t want to keep. 

Your iPhone will feel less cluttered and you’ll free up storage space and, in turn, reduce the amount of space you’ll need to back up your phone. Another benefit is that it will take less time to restore your new iPhone when you’re setting it up. 


There’s an extra step in iOS 14 when deleting an app. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Back up your phone now and before your new iPhone arrives

It’s easy to ignore the messages letting you know you’re out of iCloud storage space and that your phone is no longer being backed up, but you’ll wish you had a backup plan when it comes time to switch phones. 

If you’re out of iCloud storage space, you have a few options: pay for more storage, change what gets backed up or use your computer to create a backup. 

We have a guide that walks you through all of those iPhone backup options, along with the pros and cons of each option. 

Don’t wait for your new iPhone to show up before tackling backups. If you’re like me, you’ll get impatient and set up your phone without restoring it, causing headaches and costing you more time in the end. 


The iPhone 12 will surely launch with iOS 14 already installed. 

Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

Part of an upgrade program? Check your status

If you’re using an upgrade program from Apple or your carrier, it’s a good idea to check how many payments you have left before you’re eligible to upgrade your iPhone. 

I purchased an iPhone 11 Pro Max on launch day through Apple’s upgrade program, and I’m already eligible to upgrade because I’ve made the required 12 monthly device payments. With the iPhone 12 launching a few weeks later than normal, you may be in the same situation. 

If you bought your phone from a carrier on a payment plan, sign in to your account or call customer support to check your eligibility. If you bought your phone through Apple’s upgrade program, you can use the Apple Store app on your phone to check your status. 

Depending on when you upgraded to your current iPhone, you may have to make another payment (or more) before you can upgrade. Knowing what that amount is now will help you budget for the upcoming upgrade. 

The new iPhone will launch with iOS 14 There are plenty of new and exciting features in the update. My personal favorite so far? The redesigned home screen, complete with widgets.

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