How to move your data from a Windows phone to iPhone
If the latest crop of iPhones has you ditching your old Windows Phone, here's how you bring all your data with you.
If you've been using Windows Phone for a while, you no doubt have a considerable amount of data stored on your device, including contacts, calendars, email, messages, favorite apps, music, photos and more. There's no automated "Switch to iOS" app for Windows the way there is for Android, but there are cloud services like OneDrive, and Microsoft's own apps that make it easier than ever.
While Apple's iTunes — the company's all-in-one media player, manager, and sync service — may not be needed anywhere near as much as before, there might still be occasions when you want to transfer big files, make local backups, or troubleshoot problems. Then iTunes, clunky as it is, is invaluable. Mac owners will find it pre-installed, but for Windows navigate yourself to the link below to get started.
Download iTunes for Windows (opens in new tab)
Of course, in the not too distant future, all you'll need to do is head into the Windows Store to get iTunes. For now, you need to get it from Apple, and that means you also have to get the associated baggage that comes with the current Win32 app.
Contacts, calendars, and email
Our phones have quickly become our main communications tools, beyond just calling relatives. Managing both work and personal lives in our pockets is very much a thing and moving your contacts, calendars and email to your new iPhone will be a top priority.
Fortunately, Apple makes it pretty easy. Assuming you've been using your Microsoft account to keep these three entities in sync, you'll be able to import to your iPhone with ease. Before you proceed, it's a good idea to go back to your Windows phone and make sure you've backed it all up first.
On your iPhone, open up the "Settings" app and scroll down until you find the option for "Mail, Contacts, Calendars." Tap on it and then on "Add Account."
You can now add any number of accounts, including Outlook.com and Exchange. Tap on the one your personal information is stored with and follow the instructions to log in and link up your account with your phone.
Once the account has been added, tap on it and ensure the sliders for the information you wish to sync are activated.
Now, your Microsoft account will pull in your email, your contacts and your calendar to the relevant stock apps on the iPhone. And you're good to go.
You also have the option of using the Microsoft Outlook app on your iPhone to manage your Outlook email and calendars. It's considered by many to be the among the best mail client on iOS, so it's worth checking out.
Download Outlook for iOS (opens in new tab)
Your photos and videos
Our recommendation would be to avoid transferring your photo library from your old phone to your new one. Not least because on Windows you may have been using a microSD card to store them, something not possible on the iPhone. (Apple has the online iCloud Photo Library service instead — for a price.)
You can opt to start fresh, or better still, backup all your photos to your computer and your favorite online service, and then go from there.
The best option is to use the cloud. If you've been using Windows Mobile then there's a strong chance you had your phone set to auto-upload your photo library to OneDrive. If you didn't have it set this way, there's still time to do it and upload your entire photo library to Microsoft's cloud. And you can still upload your iPhone photos to OneDrive as well to keep your full back catalog rolling.
With this, you just need to install the OneDrive app from the App Store and you'll have instant access to all your photos wherever you are.
Download OneDrive for iOS (opens in new tab)
Or, if you're a user of Dropbox (the other big, cross-platform option,) the same applies. Make sure everything has uploaded, grab the Dropbox app for iPhone and you'll be set.
Download Dropbox for iOS (opens in new tab)
With no expandable storage on the iPhone, we strongly recommend the cloud route if you want to have easy access to all your old Windows-shot photos. You'll be snapping a ton with the iPhone camera so don't fill up that storage with gigabytes of old stuff.
If you can't or simply don't want to use the cloud, you can still make the transfer over a good, old-fashioned cable. If you're using a Windows 10 PC getting your photos off your phone is straight forward. You can either go through the Phone Companion app, which then imports from your phone into the Photos app, or you can just navigate to your phone in File Explorer, find the folder and drag and drop.
To move photos from your computer to your iPhone requires iTunes. With the phone connected via the USB to Lightning cable, you'll be able to select items to sync between the phone and the computer.
Microsoft is a big supporter of cross-platform apps and services. As such, all the most popular apps are available to use on iPhone. And they're pretty good too, for the most part. We've already linked up OneDrive and Outlook above, the list below will help you find some of the other big ones.
- Skype - Download now (opens in new tab)
- Word - Download now (opens in new tab)
- PowerPoint - Download now (opens in new tab)
- Excel - Download now (opens in new tab)
- OneNote - Download now (opens in new tab)
- Bing - Download now (opens in new tab)
You can find a complete list of all Microsoft apps for iPhone here:
Download Microsoft apps at the App Store (opens in new tab)
Music and video content
The iPhone and iTunes are heavily established for music, and you'll be well looked after. If you have a physical collection on your computer that you synced to your old Windows phone, simply fire up iTunes and start syncing it to your phone.
If you used Microsoft's Groove Music, or something such as Spotify or Deezer to get your aural fix, there are of course apps available for all three in the App Store.
- Download Microsoft Groove for iOS (opens in new tab)
- Download Spotify for iOS (opens in new tab)
- Download Deezer for iOS (opens in new tab)
The iOS App Store is the place to find apps. You can get almost every Google app (opens in new tab) available, for example (which were notably absent from the Windows Store...)
Equally, you'll probably be looking for these:
- Facebook - Download now (opens in new tab)
- WhatsApp - Download now (opens in new tab)
- Twitter - Download now (opens in new tab)
- Instagram - Download now (opens in new tab)
There are also hundreds of thousands of games, including all the major mobile titles, so hit the App Store and download away!
Hopefully these tips help you to get started with your new iPhone without having to start again from scratch. With the prevalence of the cloud and Microsoft's strong support for iOS, following a little work you'll be up and running in no time with all your personal communications, media and app needs!
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine
Ever notice that those two are pretty much the same looking home screens and WP is completely different?
There isn't anything wrong with being a fanboy of the platform. It's just sad to see how something that could have been such a wonderful alternative to iOS or Android slowly fade away. I think that's what has been most disappointing to us, not that most of us aren't realists. There is always that spark of hope that keeps many of us voicing what we think or feel about the platform. But, I also realize that every spark eventually dies out, if not properly encouraged to burn. As much as I love the OS, I've been considering moving to Android. However, if and when I do, will depend on how long my 950 XL continues to be useful to me.
Just speaking for myself, i didn't see that as step toward slowly killing off Windows 10 Mobile. I drank the pond water and like many if us that were, and to some extent probably still are, hopeful that something better was coming sooner than later.
However, I realize that later, if at all, will be sometime in late 2018 or early 2019. If that's the case, I'm still okay with it. The good thing about a phone is, you can switch back and forth, as devices become available that catch your attention or needs.
My biggest issue early on was the fact that I became vested in the OS. My apps, games, music and video content are all tied to the ecosystem. Knowing that MS apps are available to allow the use of most of those services, I would be a bit more comfortable using Android as a daily driver.
So, I would suggest you wait if you can. I couldn't wait because I needed certain apps right away.
But my wife and i will wait it out. Unlike when the pre died i do believe there is a plan. And the next modestly better than ly slab is really no better than the 950. That was my takeaway. So no ios or android here....well wait. And if the next device is too future forward or too far off then maybe well switch....but not yet.
Seriously, the only reason I come here its for the windows phone stuff.
NOPE. You can do this without iTunes too. Just connect your phone and File Explorer on PC recognises it. Transfer photos like any other pendrive.
If windows had 90% of applications we are lacking we would have been the best there is in the world even though we ain't 75% of all the operating computers and laptops are managed by us. Windows phone receives updates
Computers and laptops receives updates
Xbox consoles receives updates
OneDrive received updates
Come on we are trying here why can't people see that
Do you want the rest of us to move to iphone? Realy?