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15 Tips for Moving From iPhone to Android

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  April 17th, 2019  By Joe Supan

In a recent survey from PC Mag, respondents cited better user experience, prices, and features (camera, design, etc.) as the top three reasons they made the move from iPhone to Android. Whatever your reason for switching, setting up your new Android will be a little more complicated than simply logging in to your Apple account. That said, many Androids come with tools that walk you through the process of transferring files. Unfortunately, this won’t work if you plan on trading in your phone. In this guide, we’ll take a look at how you can transfer your contacts, photos, and calendars, integrate into Google’s ecosystem, and take advantage of your new phone’s features.

Before You Trade in Your iPhone

1. Back up your phone using Google Drive

Even though Apple and Google are fierce competitors in the phone world, switching from one to the other is actually pretty simple. You can back up your iPhone contacts, calendar, and photos using the Google Drive iOS app. All it takes is a Google account.

First, sign in to your Google account in the Google Drive app. If you don’t have one already, you can create one in the app. Once you’re signed in, you can back up your phone by going to Menu > Settings > Backup. Google lets you back up your contacts, calendar events, and photos and videos right from this page. Just make sure you set aside a few hours where your phone can be connected to a charger and reliable WiFi.

Google Drive allows for 15 GB of space for free (compared to 5 GB for iCloud), but if your files exceed that amount, you might need to purchase more storage before you back up your iPhone. Here are Google’s upgrade prices for U.S. customers:

2. Make a list of the apps you want bring over

Unfortunately, there’s still no way to automate this process. You’ll have to open up a document — or pull out a pen and paper — and make a list of all of the apps you have on your iPhone that you want to re-download on your Android. Even though you can’t transfer them directly, any app that requires an account will carry over your info. In other words, you will have to re-add bus stops and routes on an app like One Bus Away (no account required), but you won’t have to make all new playlists in Spotify.

There’s no guarantee that the apps you had on your iPhone will be available on Android — and you might even have to purchase some again — but this step will ensure that you don’t leave any essential apps behind.

3. Transfer iTunes content

Like with your contacts, photos, and calendar, the simplest way to transfer your iTunes music is by using Google. Sign in to Google Play Music from the computer that also has your iTunes, install the Music Manager, and choose iTunes as the source of your music collection. You can then upload all of your songs and playlists at once, or pick and choose specific ones. Google Play Music also allows you to automatically add new music whenever it’s uploaded, so you can keep using iTunes as your primary music storage hub.

If you’re using Chrome, you can also use the Upload Music option in the Google Play menu instead of downloading Music Manager. That said, Music Manager holds your hand through the process a bit more. It gives you step-by-step instructions for uploading your entire library at once, whereas the Google Play Upload Music function simply has you drag and drop everything you want transferred.

Unfortunately, transferring any movies or TV shows you’ve downloaded through iTunes is a little trickier. These are DRM (digital rights management) protected through Apple’s FairPlay technology. That means you won’t be able to watch them on a non-Apple device. To remove FairPlay from videos, you’ll need to download DRM removal software like TunesKit, which costs about $45.

Removing DRM protections is legal in the U.S. In the 2014 case of Abbey House Media v. Apple Inc., Judge Denise Cote ruled, “The act of infringement underlying the inducement claim, however, is not the removal of DRM protection. Rather, it is the copying and distribution of ebooks to others after such protection has been removed.” Essentially, you can remove DRM protections, but you can’t copy or distribute the media after you’ve done so.

4. Turn off iMessage and FaceTime

Even though your iPhone will soon be disconnected from cell service, it will still be able to send and receive iMessages and FaceTimes when connected to the internet. To make sure this doesn’t happen, disable iMessage and Facetime before you trade in or deactivate your phone. It’s as simple as going into settings, then choosing Messages or FaceTime (conveniently located next to each other) and toggling the switches from on to off.

If you’ve already traded in your iPhone or lost it, you can also deregister your device using this Apple page. Just enter the phone number you want to take off iMessage, and Apple will send you a confirmation code to complete the process.

5. Transfer your texts

We’ll be honest: This is kind of a gnarly process. First, you’ll need to connect your iPhone to your computer and back up your files. Then, once you find your text message files in your computer, move them over to your Android phone using a cloud service like Google Drive or Dropbox. Finally, download an app on your Android that will convert that raw data into text messages on your new phone. The most popular of these apps is iSMS2droid, but it’s currently unavailable on the Play Store. TechRepublic has a great guide that walks you through this process in more detail.

Setting up Your New Android

6. Sign in to your Google account

As soon as you power up your new Android phone, you’ll be asked to log in to your Google account. Make sure you’re using the same email account that you used to back up your iPhone. Once you’re logged in, you should see all of your contacts, photos, and calendars already in place.

7. Download your old apps and log in

Remember that list you made in step two? Pull it out and start downloading. The Play Store currently has more total apps than the App Store — 100,000 more, according to Statista — as well as a higher percentage of free apps. Unfortunately, if you paid for an app on your iPhone, you’ll probably have to buy it again on your Android. However, if you pay for a subscription service like Spotify, you’ll simply be able to log into the new app to continue using it.

8. Set up email

Configuring your email on a new Android is usually simple, but it all depends on what provider you use. Here are the steps you’ll need to take for most email accounts:

  • Gmail: Just open the app and sign in. That’s it.
  • Webmail provider like Outlook, Exchange, or Yahoo: Download the provider’s app from the Google Play Store and log in.
  • Apple Mail/iCloud: This is the only type of email account that will be mildly tricky to set up. First, open Gmail’s app settings, choose “Add account,” and select “Other” from the options. From there, type in your email address, then select “Personal (IMAP)” on the following screen. You’ll then need to put in the mail server settings, which Apple provides on its site. You can also download an Android app like “Sync for iCloud Mail,” which is built specifically for this purpose.

There are also a litany of email apps for Android that allow you to log in to multiple accounts from one app, and many Androids even come pre-loaded with one.

9. Learn how to ‘Find My Device’

You probably had “Find My iPhone” enabled on your last phone; now’s a good time to set up Android’s version. “Find My Device” is turned on by default on Android phones once you log in to your Google Account, but it will only work if you have your Location settings and Google Play visibility turned on.

To turn on location settings, go to Apps > Settings > Google (Google Services) > Location, then make sure the location switch in the upper right is set to “on.” To turn on Google Play visibility, open Google Play’s Settings on a web browser that’s logged in to your Google account and click “Visibility.” Make sure your device is listed here and checked.

Now, if you ever lose your device, you can log in to Google’s Find My Device page to find, erase, or lock your phone.

Getting to Know Your New Android

Switching from an iPhone to an Android can feel a bit like learning to write with your weaker hand. Nothing is where you intuitively feel it should be, and actions you’ve committed to muscle memory are suddenly useless. Never fear: It’ll probably only take you a few days to get used to your new phone. Until then, here are some tips for making the transition a little smoother.

10. Swipe down to see notifications and settings

This step should be familiar from your iPhone days. To see notifications like messages or emails, swipe down from the top of the screen no matter where you are in your phone. If you swipe down with two fingers, you’ll be able to see a handful of settings like WiFi, Bluetooth, and Cast.

11. Take a screenshot

For iPhone users accustomed to the home/power button combo for screenshots, Android’s system won’t come as much of a shock. On almost every Android phone, you just hold down the power and volume-down buttons for a couple of seconds to take a screenshot.

12. Use your widgets

One of the biggest differences between the Android and iPhone interfaces is Android’s use of widgets. Think of these like mini-apps that let you glean key information at a glance. You can check the weather, see a Facebook comment, or search Google — all without opening an app. To add a widget to your home screen, press and hold down on a blank space and click “widgets”; any available widgets will show up here.

13. Experiment with Google Assistant

Android phones come pre-set with “OK, Google” as their wakeup command, but you can also touch and hold the home button to bring up Google Assistant. If it’s having trouble recognizing your voice, you can train Google Assistant by opening its settings and choosing “Voice model” and then “Retrain voice model.”

14. Quickly open your camera

Kodak moments happen in a flash. Like the iPhone, Android gives you a helpful shortcut to your camera. Whether your phone’s display is on or not, just double-tap the power button to jump straight to the camera.

15. Activate split-screen mode

This is one feature that has no analogue on the iPhone. Android phones now let you view two apps simultaneously. To do this, open the apps you want to see side by side, click the app-switcher button (the square on the right side of the navigation bar), and move the app to the top of the screen. Once it’s there, you can tap the second app to move it to the bottom half of the screen. You can also long-tap the app-switcher button when you’re already in an app to open another one without leaving the first.

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