Fix iPhone Migration Not Working Issue in 6 Solutions

Quick Start is convenient for transferring data to a new iPhone but sometimes there is problem like iPhone migration not working. When the issue occurs, you can follow this passage to easily solve it.


By Dylan / Updated on May 31, 2024

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iPhone Migration not working on iOS 17 iPhone

I’ve bought an iPhone 15 and need to transfer data from my iPhone 7. I used Quick Start to do data migration but it keeps failing. The error message is Unable to Complete Data Transfer iPhone. I would like to listen to some advice to fix this issue or other ways to transfer iPhone data.

- Question from Apple Community

It is a great pleasure for an Apple fan to unbox a brand-new iPhone. You do not want to suddenly switch to an empty iPhone, so you need to transfer data from old iPhone to new iPhone.

After iOS 12.4, users could directly import settings and data to another iPhone by Quick Start. Most of the time, this feature works perfectly, but iOS is not perfect.

Why is iPhone Quick Start not working?

You tried to force restart iPhone several times but only got stuck on “transfer directly from iPhone not working loop". If the issue has not been fixed, the loop won't end. Technically, the iPhone migration failure is often caused by poor network conditions or system glitches. You can start by checking the following main reasons to know why the new iPhone transfer is not working:

frown Bluetooth is disabled: Fast Startup doesn't work with Bluetooth disabled, turn on your Bluetooth. 
frown Outdated iOS version: Make sure both of your devices have iOS 11 and above. 
frown Devices are far apart: If the two iPhones are too far apart, and it's unable to complete data transfer of iPhone 15/14, please lean them together.
frown Low battery: An insufficient battery will cause Quick Start can't be enabled. You can connect your iPhone to a power source before you start the transfer.
frown Insufficient space: If your new iPhone doesn't have enough space, the issue will occur. Please make sure that the new iPhone free storage space is bigger than the data you need to transfer. 

Unable to Complete Data Transfer

How to fix iPhone migration not working in 6 Solutions 

You might have problems with transferring iPhone data with Quick Start. Follow this section to know how to fix it.

Before you use Quick Start to do iPhone migration, you need to do some preparation:
●Factory reset the target iPhone if it has been set up.
●Turn on Bluetooth on the source iPhone.
●Put the two iPhones close to each other.
Note: If the two iPhones get far from each other during data transfer, you would get the prompt message that Move Device Closer to Continue, and sometimes the process gets stuck.

Video tutorial:

Solution 1. Update the target iPhone system

As we mentioned above, Quick Start works on an iPhone running with iOS 12.4 or later version. If your iPhone is still running with an old iOS version and can’t see the Transfer from iPhone option, you need to update the target iPhone to iOS 12.4 or later. iOS 11 just supports migrating iPhone settings. Follow the steps to update the system.

1. Go to "Settings" on your iPhone, and tap "General".

2. Tap "Software Update". If there is any newer iOS version, follow the guide to update it.

software update

Solution 2. Reboot the source iPhone

If you could not see the prompt on the source iPhone, there might be system bugs on the source iPhone preventing it from answering the calls of iPhone migration. Restarting iPhone will refresh the system.

  • If you are using iPhone X or later models of iPhone, press and hold either the volume button or the side button until the power off slider appears.
  • For iPhone SE, 8, 7, and 6, press and hold the side button until you see the slider turn off. 

Solution 3. Insert SIM card to source iPhone

If the source iPhone is brand-new and has not been activated, you need to insert SIM card into it. iPhone cannot be activated without a SIM card. This may be able to restart the iPhone migration after setup. 

Solution 4. Plug both iPhones to charge

Why is my move to iOS transfer stuck at 1 minute? It may be because your iPhone doesn't have enough power. The power supply should be stable to do wireless data transfer. Users reported that they could complete data transfer after connecting the old iPhone and new iPhone to power.

Solution 5. Use wired iPhone migration/check the cable

The wireless connection might not be stable between the two devices and cause iPhone migration to take hours, so you need to try a wired migration. Use a Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter and a Lightning to USB Cable to connect both iPhones and then try transferring data again.

If it still does not work, please check the cable. Please make sure that the cable is working well and no physical damage to it. You can try another cable or use a cable that Apple recommends.

Solution 6. Migrate data to new iPhone on Computer

After trying all the methods above, if you are still unable to complete data transfer on iPhone 15/14/13 or you find your new iPhone data transfer cancelled, you can turn to another tool to manually transfer data to a new iPhone on computer.

 Tool 1. Powerful iOS transfer /migration tool - FoneTool

FoneTool, which is known as iOS data transferring software. With this tool, you can easily make a full iPhone migration to another iPhone on a computer within a few clicks. Before we get started, you can view the following advantages of this tool.

FoneTool transfers data only based on a USB connection. That gives you a safe and more stable transfer process.
√ There's no transfer limitation, you can easily transfer files as many as you need to your targeted iPhone.
√ You can preview and choose a part of old iPhone data like photos, videos, contacts, etc. to transfer.
√ The fast transfer speed can save lots of time and 1000 photos can be moved within minutes.
√ Various iPhone models and iOS versions are supported, including iPhone 15 and iOS 17.

> Steps to migrate iPhone with FoneTool:

Step 1. Download FoneTool and connect both iPhones to a computer.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 2. Run FoneTool on your computer, choose "Phone Transfer" and select "iPhone to iPhone" > Click "Get Started" to continue. (You can also choose iPhone to PC/PC to iPhone feature to transfer part of data between iPhones, like contacts.)

Iphone To Iphone Transfer

1. This feature will erase all current data on your target iPhone, you can go to Phone Backup > Choose Full Backup to back up important data first. 
2. If you have only one USB cable, you can also choose Full Backup to fully back up your old iPhone on your computer. Then connect the new iPhone to your computer, and go to My Backups to restore the backup. The restoration will also overwrite the current data on the target iPhone.

Step 3. Confirm your source device and target device > Click "Start Transfer" to start migrating data to the new iPhone.

Start Transfer

Tool 2. Backup and restore iPhone data with iTunes

iTunes is an official tool that helps you back up an old iPhone and restore it to a new iPhone. In this way, you can transfer data to a new iPhone when iPhone migration takes hours or failes. you can see what iTunes backup includes to know more details about it.

Then you can check the upside and downside before using iTunes to transfer.

●Transfer most of the data to a new iPhone.
●Stable data transfer between devices.

●This process is a bit complicated.
●Can’t preview data or select data to transfer.
●Can’t view iPhone backup files on computer.
●Create more than 8G backup files to boot drive every time.

> Steps to migrate iPhone with iTunes:

Step 1. Open iTunes and connect the source iPhone to computer with a USB cable. Click the device icon in the upper-left corner.

Step 2. Click Summary in the sidebar. Click Back Up Now and wait for about 15 minutes to finish backup.

Step 3. Disconnect the source iPhone and connect the target iPhone to iTunes. Enter Summary and click Restore Backup.



Saving old iPhone data and transferring old iPhone to new iPhone is necessary. When you have the problem of iPhone migration not working in iOS 17/16/15, you can follow the 6 solutions in this passage to fix it.

If new iPhone directly transfer not working, you can also turn to FoneTool or iTunes to complete the iPhone 15/14/13 data migration. But by contrast, FoneTool can be the best choice. This free iPhone data exporter supports full or partial transfer to meet different needs. 

Dylan · Editor
Dylan is an editor of mobile backup software. He likes to share the latest news about iPhone and iOS, write useful tips, and give solutions to help people solve all kinds of issues.