Transfer Content to a Galaxy S21 From an Old Phone

Your Samsung Galaxy S21 makes it pretty easy to transfer content to it from your old phone, no matter if that old phone is a Samsung, other Android or even an iPhone. The Smart Switch software, which will already be installed on the S21 and on most Samsung Galaxy devices from the last few years, handles most of the switch for you, but you still might encounter a few problems if you don't follow the steps required.

Transfer Content from Android Wirelessly

Wireless transfer is the preferred way to send content over to your new phone, as this allows both phones to be plugged in to their chargers for the process.

Step 1 – Smart Switch will almost certainly be installed on your S21 already, but it may need to be installed on your older Android device. Make sure that it is installed properly (and up to date) on both devices.

Step 2 – Place the phones next to each other (they don’t need to be touching, but should be close). Launch Smart Switch on both phones. On the old phone, choose “Send data”, and on the new phone tap “Receive data”. On both phones, select the Wireless option.

Step 3 – Follow any on-screen instructions, as some types of devices may have additional steps to complete before you can transfer the data. On the old phone, complete the connection by tapping “Allow”.

Step 4 – On your new phone, choose the content you want to move, and then tap Transfer. Once the transfer is complete, tap Done on the new phone.

transfer S21


Transfer Content from iPhone/iCloud with Wi-Fi

Because your old iPhone backs most things up to the iCloud, it is possible to transfer content from iCloud to your S21 using Smart Switch.

Step 1 – Turn off the two-step verification option for your Apple ID first. This may interrupt the process, so it is better to disable it before you start. You should also make sure that your iPhone is synced to iCloud, and that all data you want to transfer is backed up.

Step 2 – When everything is synced, start Smart Switch on your S21. Tap “Receive data”, then “iPhone/iPad”, and then tap “Get data from iCloud instead” at the bottom of the screen.

Step 3 – You will need to enter your Apple ID and password on the next screen, and then tap “Sign in to iCloud”. You can then select the data you want to transfer to the S21, and then tap “Import”.

Smart Switch will allow you to transfer, from iCloud: Contacts, Schedule, Notes, Call History, Bookmarks, Photos, Videos, Documents, Voice Memos, as well as some settings (Wi-Fi, etc.,) and alarms. iTunes Music and Videos cannot be transferred.

transfer-data-S21Your Samsung Galaxy S21 makes it pretty easy to transfer content to it from your old phone, no matter if that old phone is a Samsung, other Android or even an iPhone.


Transfer Content to Your S21 via USB Cable

If you only have a small amount of data to transfer, or if you can’t access Wi-Fi, you can use a USB cable to transfer data from both an Android and iOS phone.

Step 1 – You will need the correct cable or adaptor (USB-OTG adaptor) to transfer data in this way. You will need a USB-C to USB-C cable (android to S21), Lightning to USB-C (iPhone to S21) or a standard USB-C/Lightning charging cable with a USB-OTG adaptor (Android/iPhone to S21). A USB-OTG adaptor came with several Galaxy S10 and Note devices, so you might already have one.

Step 2 – Make sure both phones are charged before you start, since you can’t charge them during the transfer. Launch Smart Switch on the new Galaxy phone, and then tap “Receive data”.

Step 3 – Select iPhone/iPad or Android and then connect the two phones using the cable. If connecting an iPhone, you will need to tap “Trust” on your iPhone to continue. On your S21, tap Next and then select the content you want to transfer.

Step 4 – When finished, tap Done on the new phone and tap Close on the old phone. From an iPhone, you can transfer: Contacts, Schedule, Notes, Call History, Bookmarks, Photos, Videos, Documents, Voice Memos, as well as some settings (Wi-Fi, etc.,) and alarms. iTunes Music and Videos cannot be transferred.


Transfer Content with a USB Flash Drive

If you have a large enough capacity USB OTG flash drive, you can transfer your data using Smart Switch to back up your old device to the external storage.

Step 1 – Before you begin, insert the microSD card or USB OTG storage device into the old phone. Launch Smart Switch on the old phone. Tap the SD card icon in the upper right corner, and then tap “Back up”.

Step 2 – Select what you want to back up. If there’s not enough space on your external storage, you may need to deselect some items, but you can come back later to transfer anything that won’t fit. Tap Back up again, and when it’s complete, tap Done.

Step 3 – Next, insert the external storage device into Galaxy S21, and then launch Smart Switch. Tap the SD card icon, and then tap Restore. Select what you want to restore, and then tap Restore again. When it’s complete, tap Done.

Russ Ware

Russ has been testing, reviewing and writing guides for tech since the heady days of Windows 95 and the Sega Saturn. A self-confessed (and proud) geek about all things tech, if it has LED's, a screen, beeps or has source code, Russ will want to master it (and very likely take it apart to see how it works...)

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