Goodbye iPhone, Hello Android: How to Switch

Tips on moving between mobile platforms

Nexus 5X
An Android phone.


Switching from iPhone to Android doesn't have to be a scary or even extremely tedious process. You can usually get most of the same apps you had before, set up your same email accounts, transfer your photos, and lose next to nothing important.

Before getting started, you should be aware of what you for sure want to move over to your Android phone but also be cognizant of the fact that you can't move everything. Not every single iPhone app is available on an Android, nor is every menu or setting that you're used to seeing.

The directions below should apply no matter who made your Android phone: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.

Move Email From iPhone to Android

Since all email accounts use SMTP and POP3/IMAP servers, you can easily move your email over to an Android phone by just setting up the account again. By "moving" your mail, we aren't talking about copying iPhone emails to an Android, but instead just rebuilding the email account on the Android.

Moving your email from an iPhone to an Android can be done a number of ways depending on how your email is set up on the iPhone and how you want it to be set up on the Android.

For instance, if you're using the default Mail app on the iPhone, go to Settings > Mail > Accounts to find the email account you've been using and to copy down any relevant information you may find. The same goes for any settings you may have in third-party mail apps like Gmail or Outlook.

Once your email is set up on your Android phone, everything stored on the email's servers will download to your phone. If you have, say, a Gmail account on your iPhone that you want on your Android, just log in to Gmail on the Android and all the emails you had will download to your Android.

Move Contacts From iPhone to Android

If you've backed up your contacts to your iCloud account, you can log in to your account on a computer and export all the contacts with the Export vCard... option (from the settings menu on the bottom left of the iCloud Contacts screen), save the file to your computer, and then copy the VCF file to your Android.

Another option is to use an app that can back up contacts, like My Contacts Backup. Install the app on the iPhone, back up the contacts and email the list to yourself. Then, from your Android phone, open the email and import the contacts directly into your list of contacts.

Move Music From iPhone to Android

Switching your phone doesn't mean you need to give up your extensive music and video library.

If your music is already backed up with iTunes, you can transfer your iTunes music collection directly to your new Android phone. This can be done by just copying and pasting the iTunes music files directly onto the plugged-in Android.

You can also use doubleTwist to sync your iTunes library with your Android phone. Once the program is installed to your computer, connect your Android phone (making sure USB Mass Storage mode is enabled) and open the program to the Music tab to sync all your iTunes music with your Android.

If your music collection isn't stored in iTunes, you can still copy the music from your iPhone to your computer with a program like Syncios, and then move the music to your Android.

Yet another way to move music from an iPhone to an Android is to copy the songs off of the phone using one of the methods just mentioned, and then upload all the music to your Google account. Once there, you can listen to your collection from your Android without actually having to copy over any of the songs. Free users can store up to 50,000 songs.

Move Photos From iPhone to Android

Much like music, your photos can be easily copied from your iPhone to your computer, and then copied from your computer to your Android phone. This is one of the simplest ways to move your iPhone pictures and videos to your Android.

The doubleTwist program mentioned above can be used for moving images to your Android too, not just music and videos.

You can also install Google Photos on your iPhone and use it to back your photos up to the cloud, stored in your Google account. They'll be available on your Android when you get there.

Move Apps From iPhone to Android

Transferring your apps from iPhone to Android isn't as smooth as the other processes outlined above. iPhone apps are in the IPA format and Android apps use APK. You can't convert IPA to APK nor can you just copy/paste your apps between the devices.

Instead, you have to re-download each and every app. However, it's only possible to do so if the app developer has made your iPhone app available on the Android. Even if it is available, it's not necessarily true that the apps even work the exact same way - they probably do but the developer is under no obligation to make that happen.

So, as an example, if you're using the Life360 family locator app on your iPhone, you can install it on Android too but that's only because the developer has released an Android version. If you have lots of iPhone apps, chances are some of them can't be downloaded on your Android.

It's also possible for the app to be free on iPhone but cost for Android devices. There really isn't a smooth, black and white answer for whether or not all your apps can work on your Android; you just have to do the research yourself.

Check Google Play to see if your iPhone apps are available there.

What's Different Between iPhone and Android?

It's pretty easy to transfer all your photos, contacts, email, music, and videos to your Android from your iPhone, but there are some things you should be aware of that aren't transferrable.

Google Now Is Your New Siri

You can still talk to your phone as a virtual assistant but instead of asking Siri questions, you can ask "Ok Google" and get answers from Google Now. Sometimes Google Now even gives you answers to questions you haven't asked, like how long it will take to get home and when the next bus is leaving.

Home Screen Widgets

Both Androids and iPhones have app icons but Androids also have home screen widgets. These are mini apps that are often interactive and make it easier to check the status of things like your email or Facebook feed.

Widgets also let you do things like check the weather without launching your full-blown weather app. Toggling widgets are especially useful since they'll let you toggle your Wi-Fi or background data sync on and off in a hurry.

Widgets on iOS are stored in the lock screen, so it's quite a change to see them extended out to the home screen on Android.

Google Play Is Used for Apps, Not App Store

Google Play is the default app store for Android. With that being said, Google Play is only the default app store - you can get apps other ways too, like through the web.

This is something new that doesn't exist on the iPhone, which only lets you download apps through the built-in App Store app.