Getting Ready for iOS 9: How to backup your device and set up the new iPhone & iPad OS

iOS 9 preview

With iOS 9 launching later today, it’s worth taking a look at how you should prepare your device for the new operating system. Before installing the update, it is recommended that you have a backup of your data. This how-to is going to walk you through backing up your iOS 8 device and transitioning it over to iOS 9:

First things first, let’s discuss the two different methods of backing up your iOS Device. You have two different options: Backing up to iCloud or Backing up to iTunes.

1. Backing up to iCloud. If you have iCloud set up, iCloud will automatically back up your data whenever your device is charging, locked and connected to Wi-Fi. To check to see if you have iCloud set up to backup, first make sure you are connected to a Wi-Fi network by opening up Settings. Then tap on Wi-Fi. Then scroll down until you see iCloud and tap on iCloud.

iOS 8 Settings iCloud

Then press on Backup. Then you want to make sure iCloud Backup is turned on by seeing the green circle. If not, press the white circle to turn it on.

iOS 8 iCloud Backup Settings

Now you have your iOS device set to backup to iCloud. For the most part, doing an iCloud backup is hassle-free. On occasions, there might be some difficulties performing an iCloud backup. Reasons that it can be difficult include: having an inactive email address as your iCloud accountusing someone else’s Apple ID for your iCloud account, or your iCloud is full and no longer has room to back up. The links will take you to articles that will walk you through how to resolve those issues that you might experience.

2. Plugging the Device into Your Computer. You can back up your iOS device by plugging it into iTunes on your computer. Just like with an iCloud backup, you want to be connected to the Internet in most cases. You can do this on a Mac or a PC. The Mac already comes with iTunes installed. The PC does not come with iTunes and you are able to able to download iTunes off of Apple’s website. Before connecting your iOS device to iTunes, you are first going to want to make sure that you have your computer authorized for your account and that you are logged into your iTunes account. To do this you are going to click on Store from the top of the drop down menu. Then click on Authorize this Computer and sign in with your Apple ID. Then again click on Store and then click on Sign In.

Authorize iTunes and sign in in iTunes 12

Once you have done that, you can plug your device into iTunes using a USB cable.

On a Mac, if you updated to Photos and are using iCloud Photo Library, Photos will not open up because the pictures are automatically uploaded and stored in the cloud. If you are using Photos and not using iCloud Photo Library, you do have to open up the Photos app for the first time to import the pictures. In the upper left hand corner you can check off Open Photos for this device, so you don’t have to do it manually. Then press Import in blue in the upper right hand corner to import the pictures. If you are not using Photos and are still using iPhoto, it starts to open because it detects the iOS device as a camera. You are able to easily import the pictures from your iOS device to your Mac by pressing the Import Photos button in Blue in the upper right hand corner.

On a PC, it will be different to import the pictures onto your computer depending on what OS you are running. For Windows 7 and Vista, follow these instructions, and for Windows 8 follow these instructions.

After you deal with your pictures, you can go back to iTunes. These instructions will be the same on both a Mac and a PC, except that the buttons might be located under a different drop down menu on the PC. In iTunes click on your iOS device. The iOS device can be found in in the upper left hand corner denoted by an icon of it.

iOS device in iTunes 12

Before backing up your device, I recommend transferring any of the purchases you made on your iOS device from the iTunes Store, App Store or iBooks Store. To do that click on File, Devices then Transfer Purchases.

After it is done transferring the purchases, you are now ready to back up. You have two different methods: The easiest one to find is directly in the center of the screen that says Back Up Now; and the second method is to click on File from the drop down menu, then Devices, and then Back Up.

Transfer purchases in iTunes 12

Up at the top in the center of the progress bar, you are able to monitor the status of your device while it is backing up.

Check status update of iOS device backing up in iTunes 12

If you see the Apple in the center of the LED status bar, that indicates that your iOS device is done backing up. However, I would recommend double checking and make sure that the backup was indeed a successful backup. To do so, click on the word iTunes in the upper left hand corner of the screen from the drop down menu. Then click on Preferences.

iTunes 12 preferences

Then click on Devices at the top. If your backup was successful, you will see the name of your device as well as the date and time the backup completed.

Checking backup in iTunes 12

Now that you have your iOS device successfully backed up you will be ready to upgrade to iOS 9. We will have a walkthrough of iOS 9 up alongside the software’s release as well as several more how-to articles in the coming days.

There are two different methods for updating your device to iOS 9. With both of these options you do have to be on a Wi-Fi network.

1. Over the Air (OTA) Update. To do an OTA update, go into Settings and then General. Then you would press on Software Update.

Software update in iOS 8

2. Plug the Device into iTunes. You can plug in your iOS device into the computer and do the update through iTunes. Above the Back Up button you used earlier to back up the iOS Device is the Check for Update button. Click that and then it will update.

You do have to be patient while your iOS Device updates.

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Once that black bar fills across two times, you are able to start using iOS 9.

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When you first turn on the iOS device with iOS 9, Apple welcomes you with a “Hello,” in a variety of different languages. Then slide from left to right to start setting up the device. It prompts you to select your language, country and to choose a Wi-Fi network.

Then iOS 9 asks you if you want to set up Location Services by either enabling them or disabling them. If you do not know what Location Services are or want to learn more about it you can tap the easy to find and see, blue About Location Services button, and it explains it simply.

With the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2 you are given the option to set up Touch ID, which is the fingerprint scanner on the Home Button used to unlock your device, to make purchases in the App Store, iTunes and iBooks, for in-app passwords and for Apple Pay. To do so, you would gently place your finger up and down on the Home Button multiple times. With Touch ID it is required to have a Passcode which would be used as a backup, or in cases where validation is needed. By pressing on Passcode Option in blue above the number pad, gives you the option to create an alphanumeric passcode or a four digit passcode.

When creating a Passcode, the system is smart and does detect if you are wanting to use a simple, easy to guess, commonly used passcode and it has you confirm whether or not you want to do it. Examples of easy to guess, commonly used passcodes are 000000, 111111, 222222, 123456, etc. Before iOS 7, if you use a simple, easy to guess, commonly used passcode it did allow you to proceed and create the passcode without questioning you. Having a passcode is not required, and you can choose to not have a passcode by tapping on the Passcode Option. However, if you want to use iCloud Keychain and Touch ID, it is required to have a passcode.

Then it asks about how you are setting up the device: whether it’s a new device, restoring from iCloud Backup, restoring from iTunes Backup or moving from Android.

iOS 9 Setting up the phone

First let’s discuss how to Restore from an iTunes Backup. Then I will discuss the process as to how to set up the device from an iCloud backup and from new.

With an iTunes backup, plug the device into the computer. iTunes will automatically choose the backup that is most recent from the most updated device. You are able to change it by pressing on the drop down menu and selecting a different one.

For those of you who do want to Restore from an iCloud Backup, it works very similar to the process in iOS 5, iOS 6, iOS 7 and iOS 8. While doing an iCloud restore you do need to be on Wi-Fi in order for it to download your apps and media. You are always able to leave the Wi-Fi area and it will automatically stop restoring. You are able to tell that you are in the middle of doing a restore from iCloud by looking at the lock screen and it says Restoring from iCloud Backup.

For those of you who do want to set it up as new, it prompts you about setting up an Apple ID on the device. If you use different Apple IDs for iCloud and iTunes press that in blue down on the bottom. If you press on Apple ID and Privacy, it explains the benefits and features of using an Apple ID.

It then asks you to agree to the Terms and Conditions. You can either read the Terms and Conditions by tapping on each heading and reading it, have it be sent to your email by tapping on the Send by Email button in blue up towards the top, or press the blue Agree button in the lower right hand corner.

iOS 9 Terms and Conditions

It may take a few minutes to set up your Apple ID on the device and it might need to update iCloud settings.

If you have an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad mini 3 or iPad Air 2, it prompts you to set up Apple Pay, which allows you to make purchases easily and securely directly from your device. Pressing on Next in blue in the upper right hand corner, either has you add the card on file with iTunes if it is compatible, or opens up the camera so you can scan in your credit card by positioning it in the frame. If for some reason the scanner can’t detect your card press Enter Card Details Manually. If you do not want to use Apple Pay, press Set Up Later in Wallet.

If you were using iCloud Keychain, there is the option to restore your passwords that are stored in iCloud. If you want to restore your passwords, tap on use iCloud Security Code and enter it in. If you decide not to restore your passwords choose Don’t Restore Passwords. If you want to learn more about iCloud Keychain, tap on About iCloud Keychain and Privacy in blue.


Then it asks if you want to use Siri. If you tap the blue About Siri button down at the bottom, it will tell you more about Siri.

It asks whether or not you want to help Apple improve its software by sending Diagnostics report to Apple.

iOS 9 Diagnostics

With the larger 4.7″ screen on the iPhone 6 and 6s, and the 5.5″ screen on the iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6s Plus, there is a lot more room on the display to make icons, controls and fonts bigger and more readable. There are two different sizes: Standard and Zoomed. Standard is what you are already used to if you didn’t change any of the accessibility settings in the iPhone 4, 4s, 5 and 5s. To choose a view press on the words in blue Choose a View.

iOS 9 Choose a View

When you select on either Standard or Zoomed there is a preview of three different images showing the difference between the views. Swipe across to see the examples, so that way you can decide which view you prefer. Once you have chosen your view, press on Next in blue in the upper right hand corner.

After choosing whether or not you want a Standard or a Zoomed view, you are now ready to use the device.

iOS 9 Welcome to iPhone

Press the blue Get Started button and it takes you to the home page where you will have iOS 9.

We will be publishing multiple how-to articles about new iOS 9 features over the course of the next several days, so stay tuned.

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  1. ahernandez76 - 8 years ago

    How do you update to public IOS 9 when you have public beta IOS 9.1?

  2. davidt4n - 8 years ago

    Just updated. Still glitchy but overall it’s more responsive than iOS 8. Still not recommending people updating if u want a more stable OS, u gonna wait.

    • mahmudf2014 - 8 years ago

      Why are you not recommending if it’s more stable than iOS 8? Have you seen any modern os that is more stable than iOS 9?

      • davidt4n - 8 years ago

        Glitchy, buggy mean they aren’t stable enough and need updates to solve that which ultimately means I recommend to update the later version like 9.X or 9.0.X. I only mean it is more responsive than iOS 8 (not equal to stable). Fast doesn’t mean steady.

      • mahmudf2014 - 8 years ago

        Hmm. I got it now. But i think, iOS 9.0 is much better than the old 8.0 or 7.0 versions. Btw, what problems did you face? I updated to iOS 9 recently and i didn’t see any problem that makes me call iOS 9 “buggy/glitchy” other than the new Spotlight search that makes my iPhone 6 unresponsive while it’s starting to search.

      • davidt4n - 8 years ago

        I updated the GM version and when the real iOS 9 is given, Apple giving another small OTA update and I found it solve many glitches. Now it’s really stable. Retracting my words now. Enjoying your new iOS 9. Cheers..

      • mahmudf2014 - 8 years ago

        You too bro 👍🏻

  3. Raphael Juaçaba - 8 years ago

    My phone running iOS 9 public beta won’t transfer purchases to iTunes. Is this a bug? Is there any way around it?

  4. Chris (@seebrock) - 8 years ago

    Body pump!

  5. onefreetrajectory - 8 years ago

    If you choose to use the backup to iTunes option, be sure to encrypt your backup. If you do not, it will not backup your passwords and health data. To downgrade from iOS 9.1 Beta, to iOS, which I intend to do today primarily because iCloud backups do not work on iOS 9 Betas, you will need to backup to iTunes, use the encrypted option, and then restore your device (once iOS 9 is released). iTunes will download iOS 9 and install it on your device. Once the install is complete, iTunes will give you the option to restore your data from the backup designated with a date and time.

    • Raphael Juaçaba - 8 years ago

      Yes, except that it’s not transferring purchases to iTunes.

      • onefreetrajectory - 8 years ago

        I cannot guarantee this, but I am quite sure that if purchased applications are not restored via iTunes that iOS will download them from the app store online directly after the iTunes restore provided your device has network access. I cannot say if this is true for music / books or other media

      • Raphael Juaçaba - 8 years ago

        That only happens when restoring from an iCloud backup.

  6. Archie Garcia - 8 years ago

    First thing on this article should have been 1. make sure you take off your jailbreak

  7. PhilBoogie - 8 years ago

    My iCloud backup is around 8GB. I’ve never been able to restore anniCloud backup. For me only iTunes backups have worked.

  8. saifrawahy - 8 years ago

    How about the applications? are you gonna manually install the apps? how do u backup & restore the apps?

    • PhilBoogie - 8 years ago

      The apps restore from iTunes as well. And for those who do not keep a copy of the apps on their Mac/PC, you can simply go to the App Store iOS app, Purchases, and re-download them all.

  9. David Quinn - 8 years ago

    So all my photos that are in Icloud Photos are not longer on my phone… Thats a bit inconvenient…..

  10. Jeff Lake - 7 years ago

    So nice to share! These will help. And I recommend another method to backup and restore data from iOS to iOS. You can use some recovery software like the FonePaw iPhone Data Recovery or the Wondershare which can recover data from iCould or iTunes, even can restore deleted data from iOS device.