Having a broken phone can be extremely frustrating. Not only do you have to deal with getting a replacement phone, but you also have to figure out how to transfer all of your data from the old device to the new one. The good news is that with some preparation and the right tools, transferring your contacts, photos, apps and other information to a new phone is totally doable.
Can you transfer data from a broken phone?
Yes, it is possible to transfer data from a broken phone to a new device. Even if your old phone’s screen is cracked or completely shattered, or if it won’t turn on at all, you can still retrieve your information.
The key is to access your broken phone’s data before it is lost. As long as the phone’s internal memory is intact, you should be able to transfer everything over to the new phone.
How to transfer data from a broken Android phone
For Android devices, you have a few different options for transferring data from a broken phone:
Use ADB (Android Debug Bridge)
ADB is a command line tool that lets you communicate with your Android device through a computer. To use it to transfer data:
- Install ADB on your computer and connect your broken Android phone via USB.
- On the broken phone, enable USB debugging in Settings > Developer Options.
- On the computer, open a command prompt and type “adb devices” to ensure the phone is detected.
- Type “adb pull” commands to copy data like contacts and photos to your computer.
- Get your new Android phone and copy the data over from your computer.
Use a cloud service
If your broken Android phone can still turn on and connect to WiFi, you can backup your data to Google Drive or other cloud storage. You can then access that data from the cloud on your new device.
Use a file explorer app
An app like iExplorer lets you browse the contents of your broken Android device from a computer. You can copy files and folders over to your PC, then transfer to the new phone.
How to transfer data from a broken iPhone
For iPhones, these are your options for moving data to a new device:
Connect your broken iPhone to a computer with a USB cable. Open iTunes and make a full encrypted backup of the device. When you get your new phone, restore from this iTunes backup.
On a functional broken iPhone, go to Settings > your name > iCloud and turn on iCloud Backup. This will backup your data to the cloud. Simply restore from iCloud Backup on your new iPhone.
Use data recovery software
Programs like iMyFone D-Back and EaseUS MobiSaver can retrieve data from a broken iPhone and allow you to export it to a computer or new device.
Retrieve data from broken phone storage
If your broken phone does not turn on at all, you may be able to directly access the storage and pull data off it:
- For microSD cards – use a card reader to access the files on a computer.
- For removable internal storage – take apart the phone carefully and connect the storage module to a computer with a USB adapter.
- For fixed internal storage – a phone repair shop may be able to temporarily power on the phone and help you retrieve critical data.
Transferring data to your new phone
Once you’ve extracted the data from your damaged device, it’s time to get it onto the new phone. Here are some tips:
- For Android – Copy over any data you saved to your computer’s folders to the new device’s storage. You can also restore from a Google Drive backup.
- For iPhone – When setting up the new phone, choose to restore from either an iTunes or iCloud backup.
- Re-download any apps you need from the Play Store (Android) or App Store (iPhone). Sign in to restore your data.
- Manually add contacts, calendars, music, photos, videos and other files to your new phone.
- Sign into cloud services like Google Photos to restore your synced data.
Types of data you can transfer from an old phone
Here are some of the main data types you can move from an old broken phone to a new device:
Your contact list with names, numbers, emails and addresses can be transferred through a cloud backup or exported contacts file.
Your received, dialed and missed calls can usually be restored through a cloud backup.
MMS and SMS text conversations can be transferred via cloud backup or file export from data recovery apps.
Photos and videos
Cloud services like Google Photos or iCloud retain your media. You can also copy them off the phone storage if accessible.
Songs and playlists purchased through iTunes or Google Play Music are synced through your account. You can also transfer MP3 files.
Cloud storage like Google Drive or iCloud keep your files, which you can download on your new device. Local file transfers also work.
Signing into apps on your new phone downloads your content. Game progress, messages and more are synced through your account.
Account settings, preferences and other options are restored through cloud backup or iTunes/iCloud restore.
Tips for successful data transfer
Follow these tips to ensure you can smoothly transfer all your data over to a new phone:
- Back up your broken phone regularly so you have recent data available if it dies suddenly.
- Know your cloud and Google/Apple account details to easily sign in on the new device.
- Have the required transfer cables, adapters and computer software ready.
- If your phone is water damaged, quickly dry it out to avoid permanent storage damage.
- Don’t reset or wipe your broken phone during repairs, as this may erase your data.
- On the new phone, remember to enable sync and backup to avoid data loss.
Can you retrieve data from a phone that won’t turn on?
It is possible to retrieve data from an Android phone or iPhone that is completely dead and won’t power on. Here are some options:
- Use data recovery software to access the storage chip removed from the damaged phone.
- Engage a data recovery service that specializes in pulling data off dead phones.
- Check if you recently backed up the phone to the cloud or computer.
- On iOS devices, data is still retrievable within a month even if the phone won’t turn on.
- With extreme physical damage, the phone’s memory chip may be corrupted and unrecoverable.
If your phone stopped working before you could back it up, try disconnecting the battery for a while and reconnecting it, as this sometimes works. A repair shop may also be able to temporarily revive the phone.
Can you recover permanently deleted data from an old phone?
If you accidentally deleted important data or did a factory reset on your broken phone, recovery is still possible in many cases:
- Cloud backups and local computer backups often retain deleted data for recovery.
- Data recovery software can find deleted files on your phone’s storage and restore them.
- On both iOS and Android, some deleted data stays on the system for weeks or months before being overwritten.
- The sooner you act, the better – newly deleted data has the best chance of rescue.
- Severely damaged phones may have corrupted storage that prevents recovery.
Specialized data recovery services can work wonders, but are expensive. If your deleted data is backed up, restoring it will be much quicker and cheaper.
While a broken phone is always unwelcome, you can take steps to make sure your valuable information is not lost forever. Carefully transferring contacts, photos, apps and other key data to a new device is totally doable with the right tools and techniques. Make use of cloud backups, ADB utilities, recovery software and professional phone data services when needed. With some time and patience, you can ensure your data lives on – even when your phone does not.