How to transfer data to a new phone when old phone is broken?

Many people have experienced the frustration of needing to transfer data from an old, broken phone to a new replacement phone. Recent surveys show that smartphone damage is extremely common, with 87 million Americans reporting smartphone damage in just one year.[1] The most frequent type of damage is a cracked screen, with 29% of smartphone users reporting this issue.[2]

When your old phone is damaged or broken completely, transferring your data and accounts to a new phone presents challenges. Your contacts, photos, messages, apps, and other information may be inaccessible if the screen is cracked or the phone won’t turn on. This article provides tips for recovering data from a broken phone and successfully transferring it to your new device.

Back Up Data Beforehand

It’s crucial to regularly back up the data on your phone to prepare for potential device issues down the road. As this article points out, regular backups protect against data loss, provide peace of mind, save time and money, facilitate device upgrades, and protect against security threats.

Backing up your phone data ensures you have a copy stored securely in another location. This way, if your phone breaks or is lost/stolen, you still have access to your valuable information like contacts, photos, messages, and more. According to this source, regular backups assure customers and clients that their data is protected.

Overall, consistently backing up your phone data to the cloud or an external hard drive is one of the best things you can do to prepare for potential device issues. Taking just a few minutes each week or month to create a backup can end up saving you hours of effort if you ever need to recover or transfer data from a broken phone.

Recover Data from Broken Phone

If you backed up your phone to the cloud, you may be able to restore your data from there. Log into your accounts like Google, Apple iCloud, or Samsung account and see if your contacts, photos, and other data were saved. This is the easiest way to transfer information from a broken phone to a new one.

If no cloud backup exists, you’ll need to recover the data directly from the broken device. While challenging, specialized data recovery services can help extract data from phones that won’t turn on. Companies like Secure Data Recovery Services and DriveSavers offer professional phone data recovery, with options to recover data from broken screens, water damage, or completely dead devices. These services can be expensive but may be able to recover irreplaceable data like photos.

As a cheaper do-it-yourself option, you could try phone data recovery software to access the storage on a broken Android device connected to a computer. Apps like EaseUS MobiSaver can scan damaged phones and recover deleted files. However, DIY software is less reliable than professional services for severe hardware damage.

Transfer Contacts

If the SIM card in your old phone is still intact, you may be able to transfer your contacts by moving the SIM card to your new phone. Simply insert the SIM card into the new phone and your contacts should sync automatically in most cases. This method allows you to transfer contacts without needing access to the old phone’s software or hardware.

If you previously synced your contacts to your Google or Apple account, you can also easily transfer your contacts by logging into your account on the new phone. Go to to export Google contacts or to export Apple contacts, then import them into the new phone. Make sure to select all contacts before exporting to transfer your full contact list. This cloud-based method makes transferring contacts easy even when the old phone is broken or unusable.

Transfer Photos

Photos are one of the most precious types of data on our phones, but thankfully there are several ways to retrieve them even from a broken device. The best option is to use any cloud backup services you may have enabled, like Google Photos or iCloud Photos, which automatically sync photos from your camera roll. Simply install the app on your new phone and sign in to download your entire photo library again. Just make sure your old phone was connected to WiFi regularly to upload photos.

If you don’t have a cloud backup, your next best option is professional data recovery services. Companies like DriveSavers can attempt to recover the data directly from the internal storage or SD card in many situations, even if your screen is damaged. The process involves carefully disassembling the device and using specialized tools to read the raw storage data. However, this can be an expensive process, so only use it for irreplaceable photos.

Transfer Apps and Data

If you had Google or Apple cloud sync enabled on your old phone, transferring apps and app data to your new device will be seamless. With Google’s cloud sync, all the apps you downloaded from Google Play on your old Android device can be easily re-installed on your new phone after adding the same Google account. Similarly, iCloud syncs your apps and app data between iOS devices linked to the same Apple ID. Just make sure to turn on iCloud Backup on both devices first.

If cloud sync was not enabled before, you will need to manually reinstall apps on your new phone and log into each one to restore app data. On Android, your purchased apps on Google Play are retained in your library even if you switch phones. For iOS devices, you can see your purchased apps under the Purchased tab of the App Store and download them again without paying. Though in-app data will be lost without a cloud backup. Also, some apps support backup to external storage, so check if any critical app data can be transferred that way.


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Transfer Messages

Most messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger allow you to backup your messages to the cloud. If you had this enabled on your old phone, you can restore your message history by logging into the app on your new device. For WhatsApp, go to Settings > Chats > Chat Backup and tap “Restore” to retrieve messages from your Google Drive or iCloud backup [1].

For text messages (SMS) stored locally on your old phone, you’ll need to use third-party SMS recovery software if your old phone is broken and won’t turn on. Programs like iMyFone D-Back [2] or Tenorshare UltData [3] can extract SMS messages from a damaged Android device so you can save them and reload onto your new phone.

Calendar and Notes

When your old phone breaks, you’ll need to transfer over your calendar events and notes to ensure you don’t lose that data. The easiest way is to sync cloud services like iCloud or Google Calendar between your old phone and new phone. That way, your calendar and notes are stored in the cloud and you can access them from any device. Simply sign into your cloud account on the new phone and your calendar events and notes should sync over automatically.

If you weren’t using a cloud sync service, you will need to try to recover the data from the broken phone if possible and transfer it to the new phone manually. For iPhone users, you may be able to utilize iTunes or iCloud backups to restore calendar and notes. For Android users, Google offers a similar backup service. If the phone is damaged beyond repair, you may have to recreate all calendar events and notes manually on the new device.

Files and Media

If you synced files and media to cloud storage services before your phone broke, you can easily download those files onto your new device. Services like Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and iCloud enable you to access files from any device by logging into your account. Simply install the app on your new phone, login, and re-download files and photos that were previously backed up.

For local files stored only on your broken Android device, you may be able to recover them by connecting the phone to a computer with a USB cable. If the phone’s screen is broken but it still powers on, enable USB debugging in developer options if it’s not already on. Then use Android data recovery software on the computer to scan the device and extract recoverable files and media [1]. For an iPhone with a broken screen, recovery options are more limited, but you may be able to use trusted third-party iOS data recovery software to pull files from a connected device.

When the phone is completely dead and won’t power on at all, data recovery becomes much more difficult. Specialized data recovery services may be able to repair a phone enough to pull files and media before transferring them to a new device, but this can be expensive. Relying on cloud syncing services is the best way to prevent data loss when phones break.


When transferring data from an old broken phone to a new phone, it is important to first try and back up the data from the broken phone if possible. Some key ways to do this include using cloud backups, connecting the broken phone to a computer to transfer files, or using data recovery software to retrieve data from the broken phone. Having a current backup is the best way to ensure you can transfer all your important data like contacts, photos, messages, and app data to the new device.

If no backup is available, you may still be able to recover data directly from the broken phone depending on the type of damage. Software like Dr.Fone, PhoneRescue, and EaseUS MobiSaver can often extract data from phones with broken screens, water damage, or other hardware issues. Just connect the broken phone to a computer and scan for recoverable data.

In conclusion, regularly backing up your phone data is crucial to avoid losing important files and information if your phone breaks. But if no backup is available, specialized data recovery software provides another option to retrieve your data from a damaged device so it can be transferred to a new phone.