iOS 13 could make upgrading from an old iPhone much faster

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iOS-13-wired-data-transfer
Yes, that’s two iPhones connected via a cable.
Photo: Apple

You may soon be able to transfer photos, videos, contacts, and more from an old iPhone to a new one using a cable.

The latest iOS 13 beta hints at the ability to connect two iOS devices for wired data transfer. The move could significantly speed up the upgrade process, which currently relies on wireless connectivity.

But it’s not exactly clear how you’ll be able to marry two iPhones with a cable.

Apple released its third iOS 13 beta to registered developers on Wednesday. In addition to the usual “bug fixes and performance improvements,” it includes a surprising number of other changes.

One of those is evidence of a new method of transferring data between two iOS devices.

Transfer data faster with a cable

Code changes in the Setup app suggest Apple will soon give us the ability to transfer data from one iPhone to another using a cable.

The feature doesn’t work yet in the iOS 13 beta, but 9to5Mac has discovered image assets and code that indicate Apple is currently laying the groundwork.

The image, seen above, clearly shows two iPhones (not an iPhone and an iPad) connected with a cable. The code reads:

PROGRESS_DETAIL_WIRED = “Keep your old iPhone connected to this iPhone and connected to power until the transfer is complete.”

Transferring data over a cable is significantly faster than transferring it wirelessly. This change could make it a lot easier to set up a brand new iPhone when bringing content from your old one.

But it poses a big question.

How do you connect two iPhones with a cable?

The iPhone obviously uses a Lightning connector — and only a Lightning connector — for wired data transfer. And as things stand, Apple doesn’t currently sell a Lightning to Lightning cable.

How you’ll connect two iPhones with a cable remains unclear for now, then. It could be that Apple introduces a Lightning to Lightning cable later (or some kind of upgrade adapter that you’ll probably use only once) — or that this feature is designed for a future iPhone.

Apple does already sell USB-C to Lightning cables. So, if it was to offer an iPhone with USB-C at some point — as some rumors have predicted — it would be possible to connect that to an older handset.

We’ll have to wait and see what the fall brings. It seems unlikely we’ll see an iPhone with USB-C this year, so it may be that wired data transfer doesn’t actually make its way into the final version of iOS 13.