With the release of Android 5.0 Lollipop and Apple iOS 8, the two mobile phone ecosystems have never been more similar. Google and Apple tend to copy and integrate the best features of each others’ operating systems, with the end result meaning the consumer (you) comes out as a winner. What this also means is, as you will soon see, is that it has never been easier to make the switch from an iPhone to an Android-powered one. Let’s dive in and see how simple it is to move your entire mobile life over to the green robot.
For starters, why would you want to make the switch?
- More phone options from multiple manufacturers, as opposed to just Google-made devices
- Expectedly, a wider range of more affordable phones
- Cheaper paid apps
- Integration with Google’s extensive ecosystem, from Gmail to Google Maps to Google Pay
- Ability to install 3rd-party apps, not limited to Google Play app store
- Higher degree of user interface customization
- Better cross-platform support gives users easier access to Windows or Linux apps
That being said, the operating systems are very similar now, so temper your expectations when making a switch from one to the other. Still have those rose-tinted glasses on? Here’s some reasons you might not want to swap systems.
- Getting frustrated if everything doesn’t work exactly the same as your old phone
- Possible scams on the Google Play store
- You just don’t much care for Google
- Google’s up front app permissions scare you away from downloading new apps
With all of the mental gymnastics out of the way, the actual process of switching is easy as pie. Let’s get started.
Getting Your Hands Dirty
Android Device Basic Setup
First, you’ll have to go through basic setup on your new Android phone. Once connected to the Internet, login to your Gmail account and use Google Play to download whatever apps you’re used to using on the iPhone. Unfortunately, most paid apps will need to be purchased again. C’est la vie.
Make sure your phone is updated to the newest version of Android (5.0 at the time of writing), although your device should prompt you whenever updates are available. Unlike Apple, who rolls out iOS updates to all users simultaneously, Android is less structured when it comes to certain updates reaching certain phone models. Simply put, old handsets are likely running on older versions of Android, and Google-made devices typically get updated faster than third-party phones like Samsung’s Galaxy S5.
At any rate, you should now have access to all of your old favorite apps and your usual email account. Next, you’ll need to fiddle with your iPhone or iPad. Again, login to Gmail and make sure the phone is updated to the latest OS version. If you aren’t currently using iCloud to back up your phone contacts, head to your settings and turn it on—or sign up for it if you are really out of the loop. Then, look at your Gmail settings. Make sure contact sync is enabled. This will allow your phone’s contacts to be shared with Gmail via iCloud.
Go into settings once again, this time in the “message” category, and disable iMessage. That way, messages sent to your new phone won’t be redirected to your old iPhone. If you still need to use your iPhone to send messages, fret not—it can send them using SMS. Next up, double check to make sure your iPhone is fully synced to iTunes, backing up your music to your computer. Verify this before moving forward.
Manually Adding Contacts
If, for whatever reason, at this point you do not see your Gmail account, contacts, and apps on your Android phone, you will have to manually add the contacts. Simply go to apple.com/icloud and click on “Contacts.” Hit “Select all” on the following screen, and “Export” the vCard file as a download. In the same browser, head back to your Gmail account, click “Contacts,” and then “Import contacts” using the vCard file. If you somehow get doubles of every contact and don’t like having two “Moms” in your address book, use Gmail’s “Find and Merge Duplicates” function to get rid of them.
Merging Your Music And Photos
To merge your music from iTunes to your Android phone, download Google Music Manager on your computer—the free version is more than enough for most iTunes libraries. In the settings menu, make sure the manager is synced with your Gmail account. For pictures, download and sign in to Google+ on your iPhone. Tap the menu icon, go to “Camera and Photos,” then touch “Auto Backup” to turn it on. After waiting for a bit, all of your pictures will be synced to the cloud and accessible using your Android’s Photos app.
Once all that’s taken care of, check your Android device one last time to verify that you have access to your Gmail, music, apps, photos, and contacts. Make sure to pop out the old SIM card from the iPhone and slide it into your Android, too.
Congrats, you’ve successfully moved from iOS to Android!