A new iPhone –Things they don’t tell you

The Moocher finally decided to replace his iPhone 6 while keeping its little buddy. That turned out to be a frustrating evolution because Apple does not cue you to look at the checklist for this evolution. The watch has to be unpaired from the old phone before it is retired and paired to the new phone. If you do everything in order, it goes smoothly. If you try to wing it without the check list, you may end up with a useless wrist ornament as I did.

This short note guides you around the common pitfalls for swapping iPhones while retaining a current Watch. Well, it started that way until my USAA 2FA token went crazy.


This reference is the start of the migration process

  1. to migrate your Apple Watch
  2. to set up a new phone
  3. to move your data over or migrate data from Android to iPhone.
  4. about FIDO keys.

I thought I was stuck and would have to take the thing in to the Geniuses. It turned out that Apple has everything you need in the Watch support gallery.

iPhone 11 vs iPhone 6+

The two are similar in size and form factor. The iPhone 11 has a polish and sophistication that reduces friction in everyday use. The iPhone 11 has the following improvements relative to the 6+.

  • Wireless charging using a purchased charging device
  • Face recognition unlocking. Phone motion wakes the display. A swipe up opens the home display
  • Improved camera with improved detail.
  • Single global GSM phone with support for bands commonly used in North America and Europe.
  • Improved Apple designed multi-processor with low power cores handling phone control and other background activities while regular cores handle user applications.

This article reviews a Apple Watch and application friction encountered in initial setup of my new iPhone 11. To be fair, this was my first phone upgrade after adding the Apple Watch. USAA Semantic VIP Access issues resulted from security choices made by USAA that were not documented on the website and required USAA support assistance to resolve. Can you say security through obscurity.

Moving SIM from old phone to new

Apple continues to use the Nano-SIM in the iPhone 11. iPhone 6 was also a Nano-SIM device so it is possible to port the old phone’s account ID to the new one by moving the SIM. This can be done before or after setup. No carrier contact is needed and the SIM can be moved back and forth as needed.


Apple setup scripting is pretty complete. You can generally setup your phone without use of the references (unless you also have a Watch). You can also move your data without resorting to the reference (if your old phone is an iPhone. Android, check the Android data migration guide).

Ensure you have a good backup

Apple’s migration process relies on a current backup of your phone being available either on your computer or in iCloud. Verify that you have a good backup in one of these two places. If possible, backup to your local computer as restoration will be quicker at LAN speeds than at WAN speed.

Ensure iOS and watchOS are up to date

Apple has a classic question of their own, “Are you running current software?” If the answer is no, they prompt you to update iOS and Watch OS to the current versions for your device. This is important as message protocols must be consistent and using common protocol data units. If not singing from the same hymnal, the pairing will fail. With older hardware,

Prerequisites and Work Flow

  • If at all possible, keep the old phone alive. More about that below.
  • Compatible iOS and watchOS versions are running
  • App settings are correct to save health data and workout routes
  • Backups are available and current
  • Using your old phone, unpair your watch
  • Bring up new phone restoring the most recent backup
  • Pair watch with new phone
  • Sync watch with saved data on new phone
  • Pair any Bluetooth gadgets used with the new phone
  • Pair das Auto phone and audio with the new phone.

USAA Semantic VIP Access Token (USAA)

The FIDO standard allows any device to read the parametric data and compute a compatible sequence of 6 digit authenticators. This allows password managers like 1Password and LastPass to store your FIDO credential and generate FIDO tokens for authentication.

The Symantic application appears to be able to support multiple sites by scanning the site’s FIDO QR code. There is no advantage to using the Symantic app over using your regular password manager.

USAA has chosen not to make the QR code available. Rather, the iPhone application is initialized with the USAA credential as received from the Symantic site.

The Symantic VIP Access Token application will migrate with the other apps. The token “credential” does not migrate. On first launch, the migrated app makes up a new credential (their jargon) and will generate a different pseudo-random sequence than the original instance. This is USAA’s preference and they don’t tell you that in the login security options documentation.

The biggest problem with all this is that there is no easy way to get out of the USAA.COM login loop to recover the token. Lots of yelling at the auto-attendant and hang-up calls and they finally passed me to online support. The old escape to login support has been removed from the phone menus. Once you manage to contact a support person, the problem is easily resolved. The problem is getting out of the maddening call in tree.

If you have your old phone, you can authenticate by giving a token from it. That spares you the voice authentication process.

Once logged in, follow the support person’s instructions. We’ll let USAA keep their secrets.

By davehamby

A modern Merlin, hell bent for glory, he shot the works and nothing worked.