How to Upgrade to a New iPad

A variety of different iPad Pros

 Apple, Inc.

It is not uncommon to feel some anxiety when upgrading to a new device. After all, upgrading a PC can turn into a multi-day affair. It can take a full day to install all of the software again. The good news is that you won't need to suffer through that process again. Apple has made it quite easy to upgrade your iPad. Thanks to the multiple sizes available, the hardest part might be picking out the best iPad model to buy.

The Quickest Way to Upgrade Your iPad

While it is tempting to pull out that shiny new iPad and start playing with it, the first thing you will want to do is back up your old one. The iPad should do regular backups to iCloud any time it is left plugged in to charge, but it is a good idea to do a backup right before upgrading to a new tablet.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPad.

    Settings app on an iPad
  2. Tap your name on the left side of the screen.

    Apple ID in Settings on an iPad
  3. Tap iCloud.

    iCloud in iPad settings
  4. Tap iCloud Backup.

    iCloud Backup on iPad
  5. Tap the slider next to iCloud Backup to On (green).

    iCloud Backup on iPad
  6. With this option on, your iPad will automatically back up if it's locked, plugged in, and Wi-Fi is available. To do a manual backup, tap Back Up Now.

    Manual backup on iPad
  7. The iPad will give you an estimate of how long the backup will take.

After the backup, you can begin the setup process on the new iPad. Apple embedded this into the initial setup. 

After you log in to your Wi-Fi network, you will be asked during the initialization process if you want to restore your iPad from a backup, set it up as a new iPad or upgrade from Android. Choose Restore from backup and sign in to your Apple ID.

You'll see a list of every backup you've made, along with the date and time you created them. You can use this information to verify that you are picking the correct backup file.

Restoring from a backup is a two-part process. The iPad restores data and settings and then apps and music.

Do You Even Want to Restore Your iPad?

As you use your iPad, it might fill up with apps. If you have pages and pages of apps you no longer use, you might want to think about starting from scratch.

As long as you sign into the same Apple ID/iCloud account, you can access the information you have backed up to the cloud. You can also get at any document stored on iCloud Drive. Apps like Evernote store documents on the cloud as well, so you can get to them from any device with an internet connection.

Once you purchase an app, you can download it again on any new device. The App Store even has a "previously purchased" list that shows you everything you've installed in the past.

You can set up your iPad as a new one and then restore it from an earlier backup if you change your mind. Or, to start over later, go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings to clear everything you've installed.

Erase all settings and content on iPad

You can still restore your iPad from a cloud backup even if you delete everything.

What Should You Do With Your Old iPad?

Many people upgrade to a new device with the idea that the old hardware will split some of the costs. The easiest way to pay for part of your new iPad is to sell your old one through a trade-in program. Most trade-in programs won't get the full value for your device.

The alternatives are online marketplaces like Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace. You can also check the App Store for less popular selling platforms.