I recently went through an upgrade from a 3GS to the new iPhone5. Had looked in advance for what the process was but didn’t really find anything that told me what to expect. Here is a recap of what I did and went through so that you can know what to expect. Back up the phone before going to the Apple store or wherever you will purchase it from. Even if you back up every few days, go ahead and sync it to iTunes just before you go to the store. Even though I had done this earlier the morning I went to the Apple store, I connected the iPhone to my laptop and forced a manual backup just in case.
I went to the Apple store and told them I wanted to upgrade to the iPhone 5 and keep my unlimited legacy plan. Even though I am on AT&T, what I am describing here should be applicable regardless of the carrier you are using. Within just a few minutes, they had my new phone in my hands, activated and I was walking out the door. Although some would disagree with me, I always buy AppleCare with any iPhone that I purchase. Haven’t had to use it on an iPhone yet but it didn’t come in handy when the hard drive on my MacBook Pro failed unexpectedly. Within a few minutes after getting back to my office, my iPhone 3GS showed No Service and the iPhone 5 was ready to receive calls.
I next connected the iPhone to my laptop and let iTunes see it. I selected the option of restoring from the backup. This next part just about had my heart stop. It took just a few minutes to restore the iPhone backup, which I thought was unusually quick but I had nothing to base it on. After it rebooted, that is when time seemed to stand still. Almost none of my apps were on the phone. Momentarily, the iPhone started syncing with iTunes and the process began of restoring my apps back to the iPhone. With a 16MB model, it took about 2 hours to restore all of the apps using the supplied sync cable that came with the phone. Slowly but surely all of the apps that were on the iPhone 3GS began to show up on the iPhone 5.
Noticed a few things after the apps had all restored that you might want to think about when you go through this process. If you have any soft token apps such Symantec’s VIP Access for use on sites such as eBay or Paypal, you will need to register your new token and deactivate the one on your old phone. When you compare the tokens side by side, at least with the VIP Access one, you will noticed a different Credential ID, hence the need to register the new token. The process will vary for each of the other soft tokens you have but at least you know what to expect.
Any other apps that you have that have any sort of login process in order to use them will probably require that you re-enter your credentials for that particular app in order to start using them. A pain but a necessary evil when doing an upgrade. This is where keeping track of your various logins and passwords in an app such as mSecure will help hasten that process along. Apps such as mSecure that sync their databases with another system will need to have that process setup as well. Depending on how many apps that you have installed, you will need to plan on taking some time walking your way through all of them to make sure that everything checks out before you really need to use the app.
Although the phone comes with one lightning to USB cable, I picked up a second one while I was at the Apple store. I normally leave one in the truck so that I can put the phone on charge to keep from depleting the battery when turning on Bluetooth to use hands free when making calls or to feed Bluetooth Audio when using supported apps such as iHeartRadio. If you have Bluetooth in your vehicle, you will need to go through the pairing process so that your phone can “talk” to your vehicle. If you have any apps such as the Cisco Terminal App I use which has a special 30 pin to RJ45 cable, you will also need to see if the vendor has an updated cable (which they may not at this point) or get an adapter to convert the 30 pin connector to the new lightning connector on the iPhone 5.
The step was to get a new case for the iPhone 5. I wasn’t real thrilled with the available options that were available. I asked the Apple rep I was working with if they would ever stock the Otterbox line of cases like I had used on the iPhone 3GS. I was told no because it didn’t fit their design criteria. I politely informed him that for what I paid for the phone, that I cared more about protecting the iPhone that how the case fit with their design criteria specs. Here is the link to the case that I bought from Amazon – OtterBox Defender Series Case for iPhone 5 – Retail Packaging – Black. If you buy it through Amazon, your will save about $25 to $30 versus buying it directly from Otterbox. I had the case in a couple of days after getting my new iPhone.
Unless you have plans for giving your old iPhone to a family member, you can consider going through a recycler such as Gazelle or Amazon to get a little bit of money back on your previous phone. I tried the one I found on Apple’s website and didn’t have a good result from it. Several weeks later, I was greeted with a lowball offer, an inaccurate appraisal and still don’t have my old iPhone returned to me since I declined the offer from the recycler I dealt with.