How to sync iPhone and iPad

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Judit Llordés
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How to sync your iPhone and iPad with emails, photos, text messages and more. There are several ways to sync files and data between an iPad and an iPhone. You can sync your iPhone and iPad with iCloud and a feature called Continuity, which can sync your apps like Messages and Photos across all iOS devices.

By adding the same Gmail, Yahoo, Microsoft Exchange or IMAP email accounts on both devices, your email will also stay in sync. You can use any cloud-based productivity suite, such as iWork, Google Docs, and Microsoft Office, to sync all your documents even between iPad and iPhone.

If you own more than one iOS device, like an iPhone and an iPad, it doesn't take long to recognize the value in having access to all the same information across all of your devices. Whether you have your iPhone or iPad in your hands, for example, it's convenient to have the same email, photos, text messages, and more across all devices.

The bad news is that there isn't a single switch you can flip to keep your iOS devices in perfect sync at all times. But the good news is, you can keep a lot of your iOS information in sync between your devices using iCloud and an iOS feature called Continuity.

In fact, since documents and data stay in sync more or less continuously and immediately, you can even start working on something on one device and continue it on the other.

How to keep syncing email between iPhone and iPad

You can read and reply to the same email messages on your iPad and iPhone, using iCloud, Exchange, IMAP, or a web-based email account like Gmail. The vast majority of all email accounts fall into these categories, so don't worry too much about not having the right setup.

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, open the Settings app.
  2. Tap "Passwords & Accounts", then tap "Add Account".
  3. Add an email account and make sure it is set up correctly with your username and password.
  4. After it's set up, add the same account on the other device.

Yes, you need to add accounts manually, but once configured, these accounts will always remain perfectly in sync between the two devices. Note that this won't work for a POP account, however, because in a POP account, all messages are stored locally and iOS can't keep the two devices in sync.

How to sync photos between iPhone and iPad

If you back up your photos to iCloud, any photos taken on your iPhone will automatically appear on your iPad's camera roll (and vice versa).

  1. Open Settings on your iPad.
  2. Tap your Apple ID at the top of the screen.
  3. Tap "iCloud", then tap "Photos".
  4. On the Photos page, turn on iCloud Photos.
  5. Repeat these steps on your iPhone.

After these steps, when you take a photo with the camera on one device, it is immediately uploaded to iCloud and then downloaded to the camera roll on the other device. Warning: deleting the image on both devices deletes it on both.

How to delete all photos from iCloud

How to sync messages between iPhone and iPad

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone.
  2. Tap "Messages", then tap "Text Message Forwarding".
  3. Find your iPad in the device list (it's probably the only one) and turn it on.
  4. A verification code may appear on your iPad. If so, enter the number you see on the iPhone.

Now, all your text messages will stay in sync between the two devices.

How to keep clipboard in sync for copying and pasting between iPhone and iPad

If you've ever wished you could copy the text that appears on your iPad and paste it into an app on your iPhone, wish no more - now both of your devices can share common notes for hassle-free copying and pasting.

To enable this feature, you just need to activate a feature called Handoff. To do this, start with your iPhone and open Settings. Choose "General". Then tap "Handoff" and turn it on. Repeat it on your iPad. After activating Handoff, you can copy the text to one device and it is immediately available for pasting on the other device.

How to sync documents between iPhone and iPad

If you turn on Handoff and allow your apps to use iCloud, your iPhone and iPad will behave as if they are synced in many ways. You can also keep documents, such as text documents and spreadsheets, in sync.

If you use Apple's iWork suite (which includes Pages, Numbers and Keynote), any documents you create are automatically saved to iCloud. This means that you can access these documents on both your iPhone and iPad, regardless of the device on which you created or modified them.

If you prefer, you can use Google Docs or Microsoft Office. Both of these suites save files to the cloud (Google saves to Google Drive and Office saves to OneDrive). This means that all these files are always “in sync” between your iOS devices.

Further Reading:

  • How to disable Siri on your iPhone and iPad
  • How to upload photos to iCloud and sync your photos
  • How to turn off automatic brightness on iPhone
  • 8 Solutions for When Google Contacts Won't Sync with iPhone
  • Here are the devices that will receive iOS 13

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