How to sync your iPhone and iPad with your email, photos, text messages, and more


ipad pro iphone 6s

  • You can sync your iPhone and iPad with iCloud and a feature called Continuity, which can keep your apps like Messages and Photos synced across iOS devices. 
  • By adding the same Gmail, Yahoo, Microsoft Exchange, or IMAP email accounts to both devices, your email will stay in sync as well.
  • You can use any productivity suite with cloud storage — like iWork, Google Docs, and Microsoft Office — to keep all of your documents in sync between iPad and iPhone, too.


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

The bad news is that there’s no single switch you can throw that keeps your iOS devices perfectly in sync all the time. But the good news is that you can keep a lot of your iOS information in sync between your devices using iCloud and an iOS feature called Continuity.

In fact, because 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 email in sync between your iPhone and iPad

You can read and respond to the same email messages on your iPad and iPhone, by 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 and Accounts,” and then tap “Add Account.”

3. Add an email account and make sure it’s properly configured with your username and password.

4. After it’s configured, add the same account on your other device.

iPhone Passwords and Accounts

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

How to keep photos in sync between your iPhone and iPad

If you back up your photos to iCloud, any photo you take 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” and then tap “Photos.”

iCloud Storage Screen

4. On the Photos page, turn on iCloud Photos.

5. Repeat these steps on your iPhone.

After these steps, when you take a picture with the camera on one device, it’s immediately uploaded to iCloud and then downloaded to the camera roll on your other device. Beware: deleting the image on either device deletes it on both.

How to keep text messages in sync between your iPhone and iPad

1. Open Settings on your iPhone.

2. Tap “Messages,” and then tap “Text Message Forwarding.”

iPhone Turning On Text Message Forwarding

3. Find your iPad in the list of devices (it is probably the only one) and turn it on.

4. A verification code might appear on your iPad. If so, enter the number you see on the iPhone.

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

How to keep your clipboard in sync to copy and paste between your iPhone and iPad

If you’ve ever wished you could copy text that appears on your iPad and paste it into an app on your iPhone, wish no longer — now both of your devices can share a common clipboard for seamless copy and pasting.

To enable this feature, you only need to turn on a feature called Handoff. To do that, start with your iPhone and open Settings. Choose “General.” Then tap “Handoff” and turn it on. Repeat that on your iPad. After Handoff is turned on, you can copy text on one device and it’s immediately available to be pasted on the other device.

How to sync documents between your iPhone and iPad

If you turn on Handoff and let your apps use iCloud, your iPhone and iPad will behave as if they are in sync in many ways. You can also keep documents — like text docs and spreadsheets in sync as well.

If you use Apple’s iWork suite (which includes Pages, Numbers, and Keynote), any documents you create are automatically saved to iCloud. That means you can access these docs on both your iPhone and iPad, regardless of which device you created or edited it on.

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). That means all these files are always “in sync” between your iOS devices.

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

  • How to backup your iPhone to iCloud or a computer

  • How to backup your iPad to iCloud or a computer

  • How to hide apps on your iPhone’s home screen and search function

  • How you can easily delete all the photos on your iPhone at once

SEE ALSO: The best iPhone for every type of person and budget

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