Transferring App Data to a New iPad

Transfer application data without losing your home screen layout.
... Sam Edwards/OJO Images/Getty Images

When you sync a new iPad with iTunes, your music, movies, games and applications are transferred to your new device. However, because application data files aren't stored in your iTunes library, they aren't transferred by syncing. You can copy all settings and data to a new device by restoring iOS from an iTunes or iCloud backup, but if you only want to transfer a particular application's data, you can manually copy these files to the appropriate folder on your iPad.

Install a disk-reading application such as iExplorer, iFunBox or DiskAid (links in Resources). These programs enable you to view an iOS device's files and folders in a desktop file browser the same way you browse a connected USB drive. Each program includes a similar interface and file transferring functionality.

Launch the disk-reading program and connect your old iOS device to your computer with the included USB cable. In the application sidebar, click the arrow next to your device to display its folders. If you're using iFunBox, click “Manage Files” first to switch to the file browser window. Select the “Applications” folder in the sidebar, and then choose an application from the center column. The application's files and folders are displayed in the browser window.

Drag the “Documents” folder from Applications in the browser window to your desktop or another temporary folder on your computer. The Documents folder contains most of the application's saved data, although some files may also be stored in the Libraries folder, so drag that folder to the same location as well. Both folders are copied to your computer and remain on your iOS device.

Install the application to which you are transferring files on the new iPad, if you haven't done so already. Connect the iPad to your computer with its USB cable, and then expand its directories by clicking the arrow in the application's sidebar. Navigate to the application's subdirectory inside the iPad's Applications library. It is located in the same place as the previous iOS device's Applications folder.

Double-click the “Documents” folder you copied to your computer to view its contents. Press “Ctrl-A” to select all the files, and then drag them to the new iPad's Documents folder in the disk-reading application's browser window. Double-click the “Libraries” folder you copied to your computer, select all of its files, and then drag them to the Libraries folder in the disk-reading application's browser window. The files are copied to your new iPad, and the next time you open the application on your device, it is updated with the saved data.

Close the disk-reading application to unmount the devices, and then disconnect them from your computer.

  • Information in this article applies to iPads running iOS 7. It may vary slightly or significantly with other iOS versions.
  • While the full version of DiskAid requires you to purchase an activation code, the trial version offers all the features necessary to transfer files between devices.

David Wayne has been writing since 2010, with technology columns appearing in several regional newspapers in Texas. Wayne graduated from the University of Houston in 2005, earning a Bachelor of Arts in communications.