How to transfer only Activity and Health app information to a new iPhone


Each year when a new iPhone lands on my doorstep, I am excited to carefully unpack the new device and get everything installed. Like you, I prefer to think of loading up a new iPhone as one of the best digital experiences. It is like taking a new car for its first run on the highway. To ensure the best experience, those among us with strong opinions always start from a fresh iPhone and never restore from a previous backup. By starting from scratch, you guarantee no faulty details work their way into an otherwise fresh system.

However, with the advent of Apple Watch and encrypted Health and Activity data, the only way to transfer those precious Activity rings is via an encrypted backup. If there was just some way, to only restore the Activity and Health data… 

Decipher tool

With the Decipher Activity Transfer tool, you can have your cake, and eat it too. The recently updated program will allow you to restore your iPhone or start from scratch on your new iPhone 7, while still transferring your Health and Activity app data.

The free Decipher Activity Transfer tool takes an encrypted iTunes backup of your old device, scrapes away all of the digital information other than Health and Activity data, then assists you with the new iPhone restore. Because all of the data in an iTunes backup of iOS is sandboxed, the tool simply drops all other app data containers, except for the health related information.


As the included screenshots can attest, the tool worked flawlessly when I upgraded from my iPhone 6s (iOS 10.0.1) to the new iPhone 7 (shipped with iOS 10.0). This marks the second year I utilized the tool and I appreciate the Decipher team for keeping this product free and updated for the latest iOS.

You will need an Apple Watch and your new iPhone. If you have not updated your old/current devices to watchOS 3 and iOS 10, I recommend doing so before going through the entire process. Consequently, plan on this process taking about an hour, from start to finish, simply due to the iOS and watchOS upgrade downloads and installations. If you are currently running the latest builds, the actual Decipher Tool process only takes about 15 minutes.

For a complete walkthrough, our previous article on how to only transfer Activity and Health data to a new iPhone is now updated:

The Decipher Tool team

Kelly Wilkerson, @kheffner, is my primary contact on the Decipher team, @deciphertools, which creates programs for iOS device data manipulation. Decipher also hosts additional tools for repairing corrupt iTunes backups, saving text messages/voicemails, and recovering text messages. You will see the ability to access these features in the updated Activity Transfer tool. Founders of Decipher also developed iPhone apps for Paper Magazine, R.E.M, and The Smithsonian.