How to transfer all data from a broken phone to another phone?

Having a broken phone can be extremely frustrating, especially when you have important data stored on it that you need to access. When your phone won’t turn on or has a cracked screen that won’t respond to touches, you’ll need to find a way to get all that data off of it and onto a new phone.

The good news is that even if your phone is broken or unusable, you can still retrieve your data by using phone-to-phone transfer methods. With some preparation and the right tools, you can transfer your contacts, photos, videos, music, apps, messages, call logs, documents, and more to a new phone.

Here are the key things you need to do to transfer all data from a broken phone to a new phone:

1. Determine if the phone can power on and the screen works

First, see if your broken phone will turn on at all. If it powers on but has a cracked or damaged screen, you may still be able to navigate the phone to extract data from it. But if the phone won’t turn on at all, you’ll need to try other methods.

2. Back up the data on your broken phone

If you can navigate your broken phone, you should immediately back up its data before attempting any transfers. This ensures your data is saved and duplicate copies exist in case issues arise. You can backup to the phone’s internal storage, removable SD card or to the cloud.

3. Use a transfer cable

One of the quickest ways to transfer phone data is with a transfer cable or adapter. Different cables exist for different phone brands. This allows you to directly connect the broken phone and new phone to sync data between them.

4. Transfer via the cloud

If you previously backed up your broken phone to the cloud, you can simply restore that backup to your new phone. Google Drive, iCloud and other services allow you to do this seamlessly.

5. Use file transfer apps

Some apps like ShareIt or SHAREit allow you to transfer files and data between phones wirelessly using WiFi hotspot or Bluetooth. Enable the app on both phones and transfer data.

6. Transfer data via SD card

If your broken phone uses an SD card for expanded storage, remove it and insert it into your new phone. This will let you directly access and import those files.

7. Transfer via computer

You can use your desktop or laptop computer as an intermediary between your broken phone and new phone. Connect the broken phone to the computer and perform a manual file transfer, then disconnect it and connect the new phone to transfer the data over.

Those are the main methods to get your data from an unusable, damaged or broken phone onto a new replacement phone. Now let’s go into greater detail on how each transfer process works.

Transfer data from a broken Android phone

For Android users whose phone is damaged or unusable, you have several options to retrieve your data:

Back up an Android phone to Google Drive

If your Android phone can still turn on, the quickest way to secure your data is to back up the device to your Google Drive cloud storage. You can enable this in your Settings app. This will save your contacts, apps, photos, videos, SMS and call history to Google’s servers.

Once backed up, you can restore or transfer this data to any new Android phone during the setup process. Just log into the same Google Account and your backup will load onto the new device.

Use a USB transfer cable

Many modern Android phones support direct transfers to a new device using a USB-C or micro-USB transfer cable or adapter. Popular versions include:

  • LG Mobile Switch cable
  • Samsung Smart Switch cable
  • OnePlus Switch cable
  • Motorola Migrate cable

These cables allow you to directly connect your broken Android phone and new phone together via USB. You can then transfer data like contacts, photos, videos, and music.

Transfer via cloud storage apps

If you previously set up your Android phone to sync to cloud storage platforms like Google Photos, Dropbox, Box or OneDrive, you can access your files there. Install the app on your new phone, login and download the data.

Transfer via file sharing apps

You can wirelessly transfer files and data between two Android phones using apps designed for this. Popular options include ShareIt, Xender, SHAREit and Files by Google. These tools use WiFi hotspot or Bluetooth to send files.

Insert SD card into new device

Many Android phones support expandable storage using a microSD card slot. If you were using this for extra storage space, power off your broken phone, remove the SD card and insert it into your new phone. The device should read it and give you access to those files.

Connect with computer as intermediary

If the screen is broken but the phone will still power on, you can use a computer as a bridge to get your data onto the new phone. Connect your broken phone to a PC with a USB cable. Manually transfer all its files to the computer. Then connect the new phone and transfer the files over.

Transfer data from a broken iPhone

For iPhone users, you can take advantage of Apple’s ecosystem to move your data from an unusable iPhone to a replacement. Options include:

iCloud backup and restore

Apple provides robust cloud backup and syncing options via iCloud. If your iPhone is still operable, go into Settings > your name > iCloud > iCloud Backup and create a recent backup. This will save your data to Apple’s servers.

When activating a new iPhone, sign into your iCloud account during setup. On the Apps & Data screen you will have the option to restore your data and settings from your latest iCloud backup.

iTunes backup and restore

You can also backup your iPhone locally using iTunes on a Mac or Windows PC. Connect your broken iPhone to your computer with a USB cable. Open iTunes, select your iPhone, then choose Back Up Now. This will save a file to your computer as a backup.

Later, connect your new iPhone to the PC, select it in iTunes and go to Restore Backup. Pick the backup you made to transfer all data to your new device.

Apple’s Move to iOS app (from Android)

If you are switching from a broken Android phone to an iPhone, Apple provides the Move to iOS app on the Google Play Store. Download this to your Android device and it will transfer your data when setting up your new iPhone.

Use iCloud storage for photos

If you previously had iCloud Photos enabled, your photos and videos are already safely backed up and accessible from any iPhone where you sign into your iCloud account. Just enable iCloud Photo Library on your new device.

Recover data via iTunes

If your broken iPhone still sort of works but won’t fully power on, you may be able to recover data by connecting it to a computer with iTunes installed. Connect the device, then open iTunes. You may see options to recover photos or other files from the phone for export.

Tips for transferring data from a broken phone

Follow these tips to ensure you can smoothly transfer your data from a damaged, unusable phone to a new device:

  • Backup regularly – Phones can break at any time, so backup your data often.
  • Record important details – Note down things like your Apple ID or Google Account password needed during setup of a new phone.
  • Research transfer options for your models – Check if you need a special cable or app to transfer data between your exact phone models.
  • Delete less important data – Remove stuff you don’t need like cached files to make transfers faster.
  • Disable locking mechanisms – Turn off passcodes, fingerprints sensors and device locks so you can access the phone if needed.
  • Handle with care – Be very gentle with a broken phone to avoid further internal damage during data transfers.
  • Get help if needed – Phone repair shops can sometimes extract data if all self-service options fail.

Frequently asked questions

Can you recover data from a phone that won’t turn on?

It’s challenging but possible in some cases. If the motherboard isn’t too damaged, phone repair pros have tools to access storage chips directly and copy data off for transfer to a new phone.

How do I transfer everything to a new Android phone?

Use your Google account and cloud backup, a phone-to-phone transfer cable, file sharing apps or the SD card method. You can also copy data to a computer then across to the new phone.

Is it possible to transfer data from an old iPhone to a new Android?

Yes, you can move your iPhone data like contacts, messages, photos etc to a new Android phone. Backup the iPhone, then use Apple’s Move to iOS app on your Android to transfer the data.

Can I transfer data if my screen is broken and won’t respond?

With a broken screen it’s trickier, but you can use wireless file transfer apps or try to navigate the phone from a computer using USB tethering and screen mirroring.

How do I transfer data if my charging port is broken?

You will need to use wireless data transfer methods like cloud syncing or wireless file sharing apps. Repairing the charging port may be necessary for physical transfer cables.


While a broken phone presents challenges, in most cases you can successfully move your valuable data like photos, videos, contacts and messages to a new replacement phone. Rely on cloud backups, phone-to-phone transfer cables, wireless apps and SD cards to get the job done.

With some patience and the right tools, you can ensure no important files or memories are lost, even if your phone is damaged beyond repair. Just be sure to regularly backup your phone data for quicker transfers when accidents happen.

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