Tips and tricks for setting up your new iPhone 12

Maybe it’s your first new iPhone in years, or part of an Apple upgrade plan where you change a new phone every year. Regardless of what it is, having a new iPhone in your hands is always exciting and worth the wait. Now that it has arrived and out of the box, there are a few things you need to do to make sure you enjoy your new phone safely. Apple offers several configuration options, ranging from starting from scratch to restoring your data from a previous phone using a backup. We guide you through all the options.

If you just bought a new iPhone 12, then don’t forget to check out our articles on the best iPhone 12 cases, the best iPhone 12 Mini cases, the best iPhone 12 Pro cases, and the best iPhone 12 Pro Max cases.

Backup and restore

Launch your new phone with a full backup either via iCloud or in the Finder using the latest Mac operating systems: Catalina and Big Sur. For MacOS Catalina, connect your old iPhone to your Mac, open a new one Discoverer window and select Your iPhone in the left column window.

  • At Backups section, choose Backup all your iPhone data to this Mac. Verification Encrypt local backup It means you will need a password, but it conveniently includes your sensitive health data in the backup so it is up to you.
  • Click Copy now.
  • Restore from backup to your new phone for a seamless phone transition.
  • Instead of backing up to your Mac, you can take a full backup to iCloud via Settings> iCloud> Backup.
  • For MacOS Mohave or earlier, the process is similar, except that it will use iTunes to make the backup easier.

Check out our full guide on how to back up your iPhone.

Quick start data transfer

If you don’t want to start from scratch setting up your new phone, use Apple’s Quick Start feature to transfer all your data. This operation requires iOS 11 or later and will occupy your new and old devices at the same time, so plan accordingly.

  • Put the old and new phones together and a dialog box will appear asking you to transfer data to your new device.
  • Point your current phone’s camera at the new phone with the cloud animation and then enter your password.
  • Completing this task transfers all settings, home screen layout, and photos from the old phone to the new one. It will also redownload all your current applications to the new phone. This means that you will automatically have all the latest application updates installed along with your saved data.
  • You can also use a wired connection between the two phones via a Lightning to USB 3 camera adapter and a Lightning to USB cable.


Your iPhone may already be at least half charged when you receive it, but you need to fill it 100% right away just to get started. You can use a charging cable, fast charger, MagSafe charger, or Qi wireless charging pad.

Check out our complete guide to fast charging your iPhone and our list of the best fast chargers and accessories out there.

Face ID and Apple Pay

These are two great features that you will be asked to configure, but you don’t have to do it right away. If you had Apple Pay set up on your old phone, you will still have to set it up again on the new phone as that information was erased during the transfer for security reasons. If you just use one passcode, you can get away with setting up Face ID, but you’ll need it if you want to use Apple Pay.

Synchronize Apple Watch

If you have an Apple Watch, you will want to pair it with your new phone. First, make sure your watch is running WatchOS 7. The rather lengthy process involves unpairing your watch with your old iPhone.

  • Tap Information> Unpair Apple Watch and then enter your iCloud password.
  • You can also pair your watch on your phone via Settings> General> Reset.

Check out our full guide on how to pair your iPhone with your Apple Watch using iOS 14 and WatchOS 7.

Set up medical identification

Make sure to record your emergency contacts by setting your medical ID in the Apple Health app.

  • Open the Health app on the iPhone, tap Summary at the bottom of the window and locate Set up medical identification.
  • Tap Start to record your date of birth and other medical information.
  • Scroll to the bottom to find the Add emergency contact and touch it.
  • That touch takes you to your contacts, where you can touch the Contact wants to register and designate their relationship with you. If you set up your Apple Watch, it derives that contact information from your medical ID.

Check out our full guide on how to set up fall detection and medical ID on your iPhone and Apple Watch.

The big hit

With the iPhone 12, you get a maximum screen because there is no home button. Those upgrading from older iPhones will need to learn a series of quick gestures that will become second nature in a matter of minutes. Here are some of the main ones.

  • Access apps: swipe up from the bottom bar.
  • Go home: swipe up from the bottom of any screen.
  • Switch apps: swipe up and then left or right along the bottom edge of the phone to find and view your open apps, and then swipe up on any app card you want to close.
  • Control Center: Swipe down from the top right.

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