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I am upgrading to a new iPhone 5 from an iPod touch, and I want a shiny new, fresh install.

I would rather not restore the whole shebang from my tired old, disorganized, app-laden, settings-broken iPod data to the new phone.

I'd like to re-download the dozen-or-so apps I actually use… and then restore the data for just those apps (preferably from iCloud, but iTunes would be fine).

What are my options?

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2 Answers

Indirectly this is easy by deleting the un-wanted apps and making a new backup. I prefer to be cautious so I leave the original device alone and make a final backup if needed of the full data:

  1. Restore everything to the new device.
  2. Once the data is on the device, the apps start loading.
  3. Once the apps are done loading, delete the things you don't want. It will delete both the app and all your data for the unwanted apps.
  4. If you don't trust that things are properly cleaned, at this point make a back up to iCloud (or locally) and wipe the device and repeat, dropping the thinned backup onto the new device. I've not seen this save much if any measurable space and file placement on solid-state storage isn't as important as it was on HDD for speed reasons, so this step might be totally a waste of time on iOS 6 and later.

This seems faster for me and my time than going into the iCould storage settings and deleting the app backups for each un-wanted item on the originating device. The benefit for me of pruning things on the restoring device is that I would have deleted the data already on the first device if I didn't need it anymore. It seems like extra work to temporarily stop backing up something I need just to reduce a restore and then have to re-enable backing those items up. However, if my network speed were severely constrained, I might choose to thin the backups.

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This is reasonably possible with a little configuration work on your old iPod Touch. The key will be to turn off everything except what you want on your new iPhone. Also, there is some possibility that miscellaneous settings and such will sync over. However, we should have control of basically everything.

Another important note is that the restore cannot be done after you set it up as a new device without re-wiping the device. iCloud, unfortunately, doesn't allow selective restore, but it does allow selective backup.

What you will need to do is open your Settings app on your iPod Touch and select "iCloud". Go down through that first list and disable everything there. I'd probably leave "Photostream", "Documents and Data", as well as "Find my iPhone" enabled. If you would like "Contacts", "Calendars" and such synced over, go ahead and leave those switches on as well.

Next go down and select "Storage and Backup" > "Manage Storage". Leave all the Documents and Data enabled there - those will only be referenced/downloaded if you have the applicable app. But, if you desired, you could disable some of these as well.

Now select your iPod above "Documents and Data" and start working through the list. Turn off everything you don't want, and leave on anything you want. This could take several minutes as you will have to choose to delete all the unneeded data.

If you happen to turn off a switch accidentally that you want left on, turn it back on and perform a manual backup. That should re-send the data to iCloud.

Again, while this may happen to sync things that you didn't really want restored - like settings - I can't think of anything that would do that. Either way, this is the control we have.

After all the above is complete, wipe the iPhone 5, restore it from your iPod Touch backup, and configure your iPhone 5 to backup. You can now go through and re-enable everything on your iPod Touch as it will be listed as a different backup and will no longer affect your iPhone's current data situation.

And, of course, congratulations on your new iPhone

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