One of the issues with WordPress is that when you activate a new theme, WordPress thinks it’s just a new theme, and therefore, many settings might not be inherited, even if the settings are the same.
However, things like pages, posts, categories, menus, etc., will stay put.
There are times though that a free version of a theme does get inherited with its settings. Free themes from Rough Pixels share the same settings as does the premium theme version. Basically, when we create a new theme, we build the premium first, then the free one is built off of that. This means that settings that are common between the two versions should be inherited.
However, I like to tell people to always make a backup of your website first before updating plugins, themes, and especially WordPress. I would recommend making sure you have a backup plugin installed and then make a backup before you do anything.
The other option is to make note of all your settings that you changed in the customizer for the theme before you install and activate the new theme (and/or version).
I took a chance and updated to premium (fingers crossed), thankfully it went well with just a couple of changes needed, no prob.
That being said, thank you for designing such a robust, beautifully functional and simplisted design. Couldn’t have asked for more!