Switching to a New Mac: Transferring the iPhone

By Graham K. Rogers



I have been running my new 2.66Ghz MacBook Pro for the last couple of weeks. I will report next time on day to day use and its performance. While I took great care to transfer the data and install applications, mostly by downloading from new, it was not all plain sailing. The software I use to write the XML file for the weekly podcast let me down and I am still looking at that. As a short-term remedy I resorted to writing parts of the feed myself.

More worrying initially, however, was transferring the iPhone to the new machine. I had left this task almost to last and had read up on the process, so was not expecting too many problems. The reality was a little different as before the iPhone can be transferred to the new computer, the computer has to recognise it.

My heart sank when I connected it to the USB port and nothing appeared in iTunes. I tried another port and then another cable, also trying this in both ports. To check the ports, I inserted a flash drive and that was fine, so then connected an iPod Classic which appeared in the iTunes sidebar almost immediately.

At this stage, I wondered if there was a problem with the iPhone, so tried my iPod touch, which has the same operating system: different to the iPod. When that failed to appear, I was left with the ideas that something in the new processor was causing a recognition problem, or we had a faulty installation. Just in case, I reset the iPhone. This did not work, but left me with the task of changing my settings again later.

Apple has a trouble-shooting Support page detailing steps that should be taken if an iPhone is not recognised in iTunes. I worked my way through that bit by bit late Sunday night, including the task of reinstalling iTunes and removing its components. Failure; scratch head; go to bed.

iTunes sidebar On Monday afternoon I was in Central Pinklao buying birthday presents for a friend. I had come straight from work and had my computer, so my friend suggested the iStudio there run by Com 7. I have shopped there before but never tried any technical help. The problem was briefly explained to a young technician called Bom, who methodically set about analysis by asking questions and using his own hardware and software, including an iPhone, external hard disk, flash drive and iPod nano. As he worked, occasionally pausing for a rethink, it was clear to me how familiar he was with the machinery he was working on. In the end, he asked my permission (so polite) to reinstall iTunes.

He did the job a lot better than I had, creating a temporary Admin account for the purpose. Using some third party utilities, he cleared out all of the associated files then installed a new copy of iTunes. When the computer restarted, the iStudio iPhone was shown in the sidebar and then mine appeared when it too was connected. Something in my installation had been corrupt and I had not cleared it out properly, which also reinforces a point I made a couple of weeks back: we cannot see what is happening underneath. Despite spending over an hour on a computer that had not been bought from Com 7, there was no charge. My profuse thanks hardly seemed enough.

Later that night, I started the process of linking the iPhone to the new computer. To prepare I first turned off automatic syncing in iTunes preferences, then connected the iPhone.

iTunes menus iTunes menus

When it appeared, I accessed the Store menu and authorised the computer, then used the File menu and the "Transfer Purchases" item. I then needed to work on the iPhone in the iTunes sidebar using the menu that appears when we control click the icon.

iTunes sidebarFirst, I reset all warnings, then selected Backup. With my iPhone this took ages, while a 3Gs iPhone on my old computer was much faster. I left my iPhone connected overnight and when I woke at 5.30am it was done. I selected "Restore from Backup" and went back to sleep.

At breakfast it was apparently still busy, but once I had read the Bangkok Post, I found that I needed to click on a panel. Another appeared a short while later, so this part of the process should be monitored. The last step was to synchronise the iPhone which included checking all settings. In my case, as I had used the iPhone Restore feature, I had to make several changes on the device itself.

The same day (Tuesday) I found an update from Apple: iPhone SDK Compatibility Update. This was to make sure that the iPhone would be recognised by a Mac, so I may not have been alone here. The following day, there was also another update to iTunes (9.1.1).

iPhone syncing

See Also: Out of the Box
Next time: Some Finishing Touches



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