How to Switch From iOS to Android

Easily transfer contacts, photos, and more to your new device

Android and iPhone
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While the Android OS and Apple's iOS each have fiercely loyal users who would never imagine switching to the other platform, it does happen. In fact, many people switch more than once before choosing a winner. An Android user might get fed up with the operating system's fragmentation or an Apple user may tire of the walled garden and take the plunge.

With that switch comes a learning curve and the daunting task of transferring important data, including contacts and photos and setting up apps. Switching from iOS to Android doesn't have to be difficult, especially since many Google-centric apps are available on iOS, making it easier to back up certain data. Just be prepared to spend some time getting used to the new interface.

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

Set Up Gmail and Sync Contacts

The first thing you need to do when you set up an Android smartphone is to set up a Gmail account or log into it if you already use it. Aside from email, your Gmail address serves as a login for all Google services, including the Google Play Store. If you already use Gmail and have synced your contacts to it, then you can simply log in and your contacts will transfer to your new device. You can also transfer your contacts from iCloud by exporting them as a vCard and then importing them into Gmail; you can also sync your contacts from iTunes. Not sure where your contacts are saved? Go into settings, then contacts, and tap default account to see which is selected. Finally, you can import your contacts using your SIM card or a third-party app, such as Copy My Data, Phone Copier, or SHAREit.

Google Drive for iOS now has a feature that lets you back up your contacts, calendar, and camera roll. It may take a few hours the first time you do it, but it'll save a lot of time when you switch over to Android.

If you have email on other platforms, such as Yahoo or Outlook, you can set up those accounts, too, using the Android Email app.

Next, you'll want to sync your calendar with Gmail, if you haven't already, so you don't lose any appointments. You can do this easily in your iPhone settings. Google Calendar is also compatible with iOS devices, so you can still coordinate with other iOS users and access your calendar on an iPad. 

Backing Up Your Photos

The easiest way to move your photos from your iPhone to Android is to download the Google Photos app for iOS, sign in with your Gmail, and selecting the back up & sync option from the menu. Then download Google Photos on your Android, sign in, and you're done. You can also use a third-party app, such as Send Anywhere, or your preferred cloud storage software, such as Dropbox or Google Drive. 

Transferring Your Music

You can also move your music using cloud storage or you can transfer up to 50,000 of the songs from your iTunes library to Google Play Music for free. Then you can access your music from any web browser and all of your Android devices. First, make sure your iPhone or iPad is synced with iTunes, then install the Google Play Music Manager on your computer, which will upload your iTunes music to the cloud. Even though Google Play Music is free, you'll have to set up payment information for future purchases.

Alternatively, you can import your music into another service such as Spotify or Amazon Prime Music. In any case, it's always a good idea to regularly back up your music and other digital data.

Bye Bye iMessage

If you've been using iMessage to communicate with friends and family, you'll have to find a replacement as it's not available on Android devices. Before you get rid of your iPhone or iPad, be sure to turn it off so that your messages don't continue getting redirected there, for example, if another iOS user texts you using your email address. Just go into settings, select messages, and turn iMessage off. If you've already ditched your iPhone, you can contact Apple and ask them to deregister your phone number with iMessage.

Android-compatible replacements for iMessage include Pushbullet, which also lets you send texts from your smartphone, tablet, and desktop as long as you're online. You can also use it to send web pages from one device to another, so you can finish an article you started on your desktop on your smartphone, for example, or vice versa. Other alternatives include WhatsApp and Google Hangouts, which use data rather than counting against your text messaging plan.

What to Do With Your Old iPhone

Once you have all of your personal data on your Android device and have reset your iPhone to its factory settings, don't just stick it in a drawer. There are many things you can do with your old mobile devices, including selling them online for money or gift cards, trading them into retailers for new ones, recycling defunct ones, or donating those that still function. You can also repurpose old devices as standalone GPS units or for kids to use for playing games. 

Getting Used to Android

Obviously Android and iOS are very different and there will be a learning curve when switching between the two operating systems. iPhone users will have to get used to the back button and the "all apps" button, which are on either side of the home button and are either real hardware buttons or more commonly soft keys. The first thing you'll probably notice is how few limitations there are in the Android OS in terms of customization. Play around with widgets for weather, fitness, news, and other apps, customize your interface with an Android launcher, and protect your new device with and protect your new device with a robust security app.