The Complete Guide to Switching From iPhone to Android

Going from iOS to Android isn't that difficult

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. 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. 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.

Before You Switch: Set up Gmail and Sync Contacts & 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.

Apple's iCloud settings on iPhone.

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'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 Eases 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.

Google Photos setup screens on iOS.

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

iPhone to Android: Transferring Your Music

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. 

Apple Music setup screens on Android.

For everyone else, you can move your music using cloud storage, or you can transfer up to 20,000 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, Hello Android 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.

Messages settings on iPhone.

Android 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 will be a learning curve when switching between the two operating systems. You'll 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.