Swapping out iPhones. What to watch for

Sue had an ancient iPhone 3G and I had a 4. We upgraded her account. I got the 4S and she got the 4. This involved moving data around and got a bit involved. Here’s what to watch for.

The AT&T store copied my contacts from the 4 to the 4S. I synced and everything was fine until I turned on iCloud and it somehow deleted all the contacts. AT&T copied them back but they were then duplicated. So, it looked like I’d have to manually delete about 800 dupes.

Sue’s 3G refused to sync, saying “iPhone had disconnected.” I googled the error and tried the suggestions but no luck. So, AT&T copied all her contacts and photos from the 3G to the 4. This did not wipe out my existing data, so she also has some deleting to do now too, if she wants to.

Here’s where it got tricky. I synced her new iPhone 4 but it didn’t recognize it as a new iPhone. Hmm. So, I deleted all of my apps on the iPhone then synced the apps only from her iTunes. I then had to go in Settings and delete any accounts linked to me like Twitter then delete my Gmail account and enter her Gmail login info. Finally, I called 611 and reset her voicemail password.

That’s left the problem of those 800 duplicated contacts on my iPhone. A little googling found the answer! There’s a way in iTunes to force an overwrite from iTunes contacts to the contacts on the iPhone. Whew.

Now the iPhones are working fine, even if the process did get convoluted.


  1. Wow, that sounds incredibly complicated. It’s good to know though because I inherited my dad’s old 3G iPhone when he upgraded to the 4S and have spent much of the last few days setting it all up (hence the wi-fi nightmare – now thankfully sorted).

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