Switching From iPhone to Android: What You Should Know

Switching from iPhone to Android isn't so difficult

Switching from iPhone to Android is relatively simple. 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. 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 data. One way that helps with the transition is that iCloud is available on Android, though with limited functionality.

Just be prepared to spend some time getting used to the new interface. And once you’re up and running, you can sell or repurpose your old iPhone.

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

Set up Gmail and Sync Contacts and Calendar

Android smartphones require you to have a Gmail address. Aside from email, your Gmail address serves as a login for all Google services, including the Google Play Store. If you already have a Google account and have your Gmail contacts synced with your iPhone, then you can 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, then importing them into Gmail, or sync your contacts from iTunes. 

Not sure where you saved your contacts? Go to Settings and tap your name up top, then tap iCloud and toggle Contacts to the on position.

Screenshots of iOS settings with 'iCloud' highlighted

Google Drive for iOS 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 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 or the Gmail app.

Next, you 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.

Back up Photos to Ease the iPhone to Android Transfer

The easiest way to move your photos from your iPhone to Android is to use the Google Photos app for iOS.

An Android user turns on backup & sync for Google Photos

Sign in with your Gmail, tap the back up & sync option from the menu, then download Google Photos on your Android, and sign in.

Transfer Your Music From iPhone to Android

If you’re an Apple Music user, you don’t have to quit—it’s available on Android (Apple’s first Android app). Sign in with your Apple ID, and you’re good to go. 

A person signs up for Apple Music using an existing Apple ID

If you don't use Apple Music, you can import your music into another service such as Spotify or Amazon Music. In any case, it's always a good idea to regularly back up your music and other digital data.

Bye Bye iMessage, Hello Google Messages

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.

If you can’t cope with the green bubble effect when texting with iMessage users, there is a complicated workaround to get the app on your Android.

Before you get rid of your iPhone or iPad, be sure to turn iMessage off so your messages don't continue getting redirected there, in case another iOS user texts you using your email address.

Go to Settings > Messages, and toggle iMessage off. If you've already ditched your iPhone, you can contact Apple and ask them to deregister your phone number with iMessage.

An iOS user turns off iMessage in the settings

Google Messages is a good replacement for iMessage since it’s available on your smartphone and computer. It also incorporates Google Pay, so you can send and receive money right from the messaging app.

Other 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, as well as WhatsApp and Google Hangouts.

Getting Used to Android After Your Switch

Android and iOS are very different, and there is a learning curve when switching between the two operating systems. You have to trade Siri for Google Assistant, but the virtual assistants work rather similarly. Plus, you may already use Google Assistant with a Google Home or other smart speaker.

Take some time to set up your new Android, play around with the phone’s settings, and be sure to back up your data regularly.

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, and consider personalizing your interface with an Android launcher.

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