Buying a New Phone or iPad? Maybe It’s Time to Dump Some Junk


Buying a New Phone or iPad? Maybe It’s Time to Dump Some Junk

No pain, no gain

Too many apps- screenshot by author

A fresh start can sometimes be just what you need. Throw out all the furniture, buy everything new. Maybe move to another country, learn a new language, get a new job, new friends, new everything.

Hold on. Maybe that’s a bit extreme. How about we just start by not transferring anything from your old iPhone or iPad to your new?

This is going to hurt a little bit

It can feel very good to clean out all the old apps and settings that you never use. Starting fresh can improve performance and sometimes eliminate nagging problems that neither you nor Apple support have been able to fix.

So instead of restoring a backup or transferring your old device to the new with Quick Start, you will just set up everything as new. Your Apple ID will bring back everything you have in iCloud storage and you won’t have to pay for any apps you have already bought, but they won’t be on the new device until you download them again.

If you choose to set up as new but have critical documents or photos not in iCloud, you’ll need to transfer them to iCloud, email them to yourself, or AirDrop them to the new device.

I hope it’s obvious that you’d need to do that before disposing of your old device.


While I prefer to use Apple methods to authenticate my identity, you may use other apps like Google Authenticator. If so, any method of transferring to a new phone can require setting all that up again. Some apps have a way to avoid that work; see for example Moving Google Authenticator to a New Phone at Apple Insider.


As noted, your apps will be ready to download. They are easy to find in the App Store by clicking on your icon picture to bring up your Account. From there, click on Purchased->My Purchases->Not On This iPhone or Not on This iPad. You can scroll through that list and download what you know you will need.

I only bring back apps as I want to use them, not just because I think I’ll want them. The list of apps I have not restored now reaches quite a few pages and would be wasting space had I restored them.

Note: in Settings->App Store you can enable Offload Unused Apps. That is a setting you may want to enable immediately on a new device if you expect to ever be tight on space.


The biggest problem with starting fresh is system and application settings. Whatever you have changed will have to be done again. You probably cannot remember ever setting change you have made, so you’ll have to change these settings as you realize that something is not working as you expect.

I start over fresh every few years and have found settings to be a very minor annoyance. I will notice anything important very quickly and the rest will turn up someday — or maybe never at all, which probably means I never needed those settings anyway!


The iMazing app truly lives up to its name. It is a backup/restore app that goes far beyond Apple’s backups.

This is NOT a referral link:

iMazing backs up to a Mac or Windows computer. It is not free software and you will need sufficient space on your computer or external drive to save the iMazing backups. You’ll also expend some learning time to understand how to use iMazing.

That said, iMazing will allow you to pick and choose what’s restored. If you found weeks later that you had missed one very important document, you could extract just that from an iMazing backup.

I do not advise relying on one backup. I do iCloud, iTunes and iMazing backups of my IOS devices and both Time Machine and BackBlaze backups of my Mac. There is no such thing as too much backup — or is there?

Fresh start on a computer

The amount of junk that accumulates on. my computer is much worse than what happens on IOS, so I almost always set a new machine up without restoring anything and browse Time Machine later to get what I need.

The caveats are the same: make sure you have multiple backups and different types of backups as well. A cloned disk copy of the old machine is very nice to have; you can hook it up to the new computer and quickly pull what you need when you realize that you need it.


Popular posts from this blog

I Owe an Apology to Anyone Using Voice Over

Apple Has Fixed More of My Gripes and One of Them is Really Funny

A Telegram From Mark Twain to My Great-Grandfather