I have iTunes installed on my old computer (Win XP) and all iPhone + iPad apps + all backups are done on this computer. Now I would like to use iTunes on my new computer (Win 7) and retire the old one.

My experiments so far went really bad. If I do the obvious thing and install iTunes on the new computer, then try to sync the iPhone, it completely wipes the iPhone and all app data. That happens even though the iTunes account is the same as on the old computer.

My goal is simple: I want to be able to sync/backup both iPhone and iPad on the new computer without having to completely install all apps again and loosing all the app data on the devices.

This seems to be such an obvious thing - to switch to a new computer - am I just not seeing the easy way to do this?


4 Answers 4


There's an Apple guide to this process

There's also this guide on HowToGeek.com

  • the guide only talks about transferring music. I need to transfer/keep my apps and app data.
    – Holgerwa
    Feb 13, 2011 at 19:30

From my experience, unless you use Time Machine or Migration Assistant, it's not that easy task we'd expect it to be. Here's a very complete guide, here's a very simplistic one and here's another one that envolves hacking iTunes library and isn't exactly about just copying.

iTunes is a very messy program and it can easily become hard to keep it clean on just one machine. Transferring it to another machine is adding one more layer of mess.

As last resource, try some third party tool, such as syncopation. I haven't tried any myself, but seems very promising and most of them have free trials.

  • If migration assistant will work on non-Macs than that's the way to do it, period. It's a joy to use in the Mac world, it would be wonderful to hear that it can work on non-Macs as well.
    – Richard
    Nov 23, 2011 at 22:48
  • @Richard not sure this is what you want, but it sure do something from PC to mac.
    – cregox
    Nov 24, 2011 at 12:33

Recently dealt with this problem with my parents upgrading from an iPad 2 to an iPad 3.

The iPad 2 was synced to one laptop, the iPad 3 was destined for another. We synced the iPad 3 to a backup of the iPad 2 and then went to plug it into the new laptop. (NOTE: the new laptop had all files from the old library synced via home share first.) iTunes asked whether to leave it alone or erase the iPad and sync. After playing around and much googling we went ahead and tried hitting erase and sync. When you do this, if the two iTunes libraries have the same iTunes account, it will actually make a full backup of the iPad BEFORE it "erases and syncs."

Once it was done, all files were there, even each app's files and settings. (Such as PDFs saved in good reader).


I didn't have any trouble with this when I migrated Macs I copied my iTunes library across manually (iTunes was set to manage the library, so this included everying, apps etc) making sure that the latest iPhone back up was included. I just plugged my iPhone in and it synced as normal.

Obviously make sure you have backed up your iPhone on your old system so that if it doesn't work for you, it can be fixed with a restore on your old system.

  • I had similar issue. Then i copied my old iTunes folder from Music directory and replace with iTunes folder of new Macbook...All works now.
    – Muzammil
    Jun 10, 2014 at 14:38

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