How to sync your iPhone to another iPhone or iPad

When you own multiple iPhones and iPads, you may want to sync them so that they have the same contacts, reminders, photos, videos, files, and apps. Doing this ensures you can pick up any device to make FaceTime calls, check your calendar event, enjoy apps, see pictures, or start a document on the smaller iPhone screen but finish it comfortably on the large iPad.

Thanks to iCloud, you can have all your essentials sync wirelessly on your iPhones and iPads. If you wonder how to do that, here are the easy steps to sync iPhone to another iPhone or iPad.
How to sync iPhone to another iPhone or iPad

What happens when you sync two or more devices?

When your devices are in sync, data you add or edit on one device reflects on the other, and vice versa. For example, suppose you have synced contacts among your iPhones and iPads. Now, whenever you delete a contact from one iPhone, it will also be deleted from other iPhones and iPads. Similarly, changing the name of a contact on the iPad would also reflect on all other iPhones.

For synchronization to happen, make sure you use the same Apple ID on all the concerned devices. This also applies when using Google or another account inside an app or service.

Data between two or more devices can only sync when the same settings are enabled on both. So, you will have to follow the steps in this article on all iOS/iPadOS devices you want to sync. Most likely, on your primary iPhone, you have already enabled these. But still, double-check everything. And on your secondary iPhone or iPad, follow these steps carefully to ensure the devices sync correctly.

How to sync contacts from iPhone to another iPhone or iPad

Contacts are one of the most important things, and thus let us start with this. Chances are you use iCloud or Google to store your contacts. So, here are the steps to ensure all your contacts sync wirelessly from one iPhone to another iPhone or iPad.

If your contacts are stored in iCloud:

  1. Open the Settings app and tap your name from the top.
  2. Choose iCloud.
  3. Enable the switch for Contacts if it’s not already. When asked to cancel or merge, select Merge.
In iPhone Settings tap your name iCloud and enable Contacts

If your contacts are stored in Google:

  1. Open the Settings app and tap Contacts.
  2. Tap Accounts > Add Account > Google and complete the sign-in process. Make sure to use the same Google account as the main iPhone.
  3. Once it’s done, ensure the switch for Contacts is green.
In iPhone Contacts settings tap Add Account choose account and enable Contacts

If you have contacts in both iCloud and Google, follow all the above steps.

Now, keep the devices connected to the internet, and in a while, all contacts will sync and appear in the Phone and Contacts app.

How to sync notes, reminders, calendars, messages, passwords, and more from iPhone to another iPhone or iPad

Once you know how to enable iCloud sync, it becomes easy to have your notes, passwords, messages, reminders, calendar events, health data, and more on all your Apple devices. Here are the steps. These are similar to what we saw above with contacts.

Open Settings > your name > iCloud and enable the switch for all the desired options you see here.

iPhone iCloud Settings with Notes, Calendars, Reminders, Passwords, and more enabled

If you have calendars and notes in your Google account, follow the same initial steps we saw above for contacts. Once signed in, keep the Notes and Calendars toggles enabled.

After following these steps, your main iPhone and other iPhones and iPad will sync data wirelessly via iCloud.

How to sync files and documents from iPhone to another iPhone or iPad

The first question to ask is, “Where do you store your files and documents?” If it’s on Google Drive, Dropbox, One Drive, Box, Mega, or some other such service, simply download the app on your other iOS/iPadOS device and sign in with the same account. Soon, the files will be available on all your devices.

If you use iCloud Drive, open Settings > your name > iCloud and enable iCloud Drive.

Are your files not in iCloud or any third-party cloud service but locally on your iPhone (called On My iPhone)? In this case, you can AirDrop them to other devices. Or, open the Files app and move them from On My iPhone to iCloud Drive or Google Drive and have them sync everywhere.

How to sync photos and videos from iPhone to another iPhone or iPad

Pictures and videos are a valuable part of our iPhones and iPads. Having them on all devices is something several people are interested in. There are various ways to sync and transfer photos from one iPhone to another iPhone or iPad. Let us talk about a few.

iCloud Photos

This is the easiest way to sync your pictures and videos among your Apple devices. You can enable it from Settings > Photos > iCloud Photos.

Enable iCloud Photos on iPhone to sync pictures

However, with every Apple ID, you only get 5 GB of free online storage. And if you enable iCloud Photos, it will fill up in a few days or weeks. After that, you’ll have a tough time storing notes, messages, or sending emails and attachments using your @iCloud email.

To address this, you may buy an iCloud subscription. Monthly iCloud+ plan starts at $0.99 for 50 GB and goes up to $9.99 for 2 TB. Want even more? Learn about upgrading to Apple One, and you may get up to 4 TB of storage!

My Photo Stream

If you have an Apple ID created a few years back, you can use My Photo Stream to see up to 1,000 latest photos (no Live Photos or videos) from the last 30 days on all your Apple devices. These do not count against your iCloud storage.

For this, open Settings > Photos and enable My Photo Stream. Do this on all your desired Apple devices. Now, your recent photos from the last 30 days will sync among these devices.

You can save pictures from My Photo Stream locally on the device within 30 days by opening the Photos app > My Photo Stream album > select the images > share icon > Save Image. After 30, they will be removed from iCloud but still be available on the original iPhone or iPad where these photos were clicked.

If you do not see the option for My Photo Stream in the Settings app, that means this isn’t available for you. You can use iCloud Photos or one of the solutions below.

Google Photos, Amazon Photos, Drive, Dropbox

Even though in mid-2021, Google stopped offering unlimited uploads to Google Photos, it remains the best alternative to iCloud Photo. You get 15 GB of free storage with every Google account as compared to the 5 GB Apple offers. Plus, their paid plans are similar. So, if you are just starting, you may download the Google Photos app on all your iPhones and iPads, turn on backup, use it for a while, and see how it goes.

Other good alternatives you may try are Amazon Photos, Dropbox, Google Drive, and One Drive.

If you want to just transfer photos from old iPhone to new, this guide has you covered.

How to prevent some sensitive photos from syncing?

If you have some photos that you want only on your primary iPhone and not other devices, you will have to hide them. Since normal hiding in the Photos app still syncs them to iCloud, you can first use one of the third-party apps to hide photos. Next, remove them from the iOS Photos app and then enable photo sync via any method or app you prefer.

How to sync apps and updates from iPhone to another iPhone or iPad

After you follow the steps below, any free app you download or paid app you buy on one device will automatically download on your other iPhones or iPads.

  1. Open the Settings app and tap App Store.
  2. Under Automatic Downloads, turn on the switch for Apps and App Updates.

How to sync books from iPhone to another iPhone or iPad

You can choose to sync the books you get from the Apple Book Store on all your devices by following these steps.

Open Settings > your name > iCloud and enable Books.

Next, go back to the main Settings screen and tap Books. From here, enable Purchases from Other Devices. Also, under Syncing, turn on Reading Now and iCloud Drive.

Sync Apple books from iPhone to another iPhone or iPad

If you use the Kindle or some other app to read books, download that app on your other iPhone or iPad and sign in using the same account.

How to sync third-party apps from iPhone to another iPhone or iPad

Finally, if you have third-party apps (like 1Password, Canva, payment apps, etc.) that you want on your other devices, open the App Store and download them on all your devices. Next, sign in using the same app account details that you use on your primary iPhone. Everything should now be available on these signed devices.

This is how you can sync essential data from iPhone to iPhone or iPad. I hope this guide was helpful, and now you have a seamless experience using more than one Apple device.