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Gulp down the Apple Kool-Aid with our guide to switching from Android to iOS

How to Switch to iPhone from Android

So you’ve grown tired of the Android wilds and bought your ticket to the land of Apple. In this guide, we’ll help you pack for the trip and serve up a few tips to help the transition go smoothly. Breaking free of Google’s ecosystem and its team of manufacturers will present a few difficulties, but we can find solutions.

We’ll run through how to transfer your contacts, move your precious music, videos, photos, and find equivalent services on iOS to replace what you’re leaving behind. We’ll also help you find your feet with some tips, and show you how to get the best out of your shiny new iPhone.

(Does this guide seem backward to you? We also have an in-depth iOS to Android guide.)

What you’re leaving behind

As you prepare to abandon Android, it’s worth considering what you can’t take with you. Your phone case is not going to be compatible with your new iPhone, and your dock might not be either, but there’s a good chance that any other Android accessories you bought will be. If they rely on Bluetooth to connect, then they’ll work just fine with the iPhone. Most speaker accessories and docks have iPhone compatibility as standard.

You obviously can’t take your Android apps with you, but there are lots of great options on iOS, so you’ll be able to replace the vast majority. Wave goodbye to widgets, you won’t find them on iOS. Last, but not least, there’s the question of what to do with your old phone. Your best bet might be to wipe it and sell it, because you’ll need some cash for that new iPhone.

Transferring contacts

Naturally you’ll want to take your contacts with you and there are various ways you can do that. Start with this guide on how to transfer your contacts between iPhone and Android and you’ll find it’s easy to handle the process using Gmail and iTunes.

How to transfer your contacts between iPhone and Android

You can also use your Google account. On your Android phone, tap Menu > Settings > Accounts & sync and find Google (it may be just listed under Accounts). Tap on it and choose your Google account name at the top to see a complete list of Sync settings. Make sure that Sync Contacts is ticked. Now on your iPhone go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Add Account > Other > Add CardDav Account and enter google.com as the server and then fill in your Google account email address and password, then click Next and your contacts should sync.

Why not use the switch as an excuse to review your contacts and ditch the old and obsolete? You could send them one by one by entering the contact and tapping Menu and then choosing the Share option and sending it by email or text. You could also use a free app like Bump (Android) to send contacts across to your iPhone.

Syncing your calendar

It’s easy to take your calendar with you. Go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars on your iPhone and add your Gmail account or select it, then turn on syncing for Calendars. We also have a guide on how to sync multiple Google calendars to your iPhone or iPad in case you need to do that.

Switching from Google to Apple services

When we covered how to switch from iPhone to Android we discussed all the Google services that you might consider using in order to replace Apple’s offerings, but going the other way is a lot easier because the Google services you’ve been using on Android are all available on iOS as well. You can find a complete list on this Google page.

Google Maps, Chrome, Google Play Music, Google Drive, and even Google Now (available through the Google Search app), among other things, can all be enjoyed on iOS. They might work a little differently from their Android counterparts, but if you’re heavily invested in using any of them, then their presence on iOS should certainly help you feel at home.

Of course, there are still many Apple alternatives and they’ll be set as the default options on your new iPhone. You’ll want to try out:

iOS 6 iCloud backup
  • iTunes is good for buying and organizing your music, movies, TV shows, apps, audiobooks, and more
  • Safari Web browser can sync bookmarks across all your Apple devices
  • iCloud can back up your files, contacts, calendars, and photos

There’s also the Maps app for turn-by-turn directions, and a lot of premium optional extras. Creative people will want to try iMovie, iPhoto, and GarageBand ($5 apiece). Workaholics will love Keynote, Pages, and Numbers ($10 apiece). There’s also iBooks for reading, and then there’s the largest collection of free education content available through iTunes U.

Moving photos, videos, and music

Backing up your precious memories is vital. We recently took a look at how to back up, speed up, and clean up your iPhone or Android device, so you might want to start there.

If you’d like to copy files over a wired connection then plug your Android phone into your computer using your Micro USB to USB cable. Pull down the Notification shade on your Android phone and make sure it’s connected in USB storage mode (you may have to tap USB Connected and select Mount). You should get a pop-up on your PC which will give various options including Open device to view files. Alternatively you can go to Start > Computer and you should find it listed. Navigate to the files you want and drag and drop them onto your computer. Here’s how to transfer files from an Android phone to a Mac.

To get files from your computer to your iPhone you can plug your iPhone in and fire up iTunes. Select your device in the left panel in iTunes and click the Applications tab up top and then scroll down to find File Transfer with a list of apps. Choose the app you want to transfer the file to and then drag and drop the file from your computer into iTunes onto the space on the right.

photostream devices

If you want to transfer all your photos, first make sure that any new photos you have on your iPhone are backed up, then go select your device in iTunes again and select the Photos tab up top. Make sure the Sync photos from box is ticked and tap on the drop down menu to Choose folder. Now pick the folder of photos you want to transfer. Be warned you may lose any photos you have on the iPhone when you do this, so back up first.

Going wireless and using the cloud to transfer files can prove a whole lot easier. Here’s our guide to how to install and use iCloud with Windows, but remember you only get 5GB for free. You can always bolster it with Google Drive, DropBox, or another cloud service.

You can access any movies, music, or books that you bought through Google Play through the browser on your iPhone, or by downloading the right Google iOS app. For example, if you’ve been using Google Play Books on Android, you just download the Google Play Books app for iOS and your collection is instantly accessible. If you’ve been backing up files on Google Drive or uploading photos to Google+ then you can do the same thing – snag the iOS apps and you have instant easy access to sync them across.

It’s easy to transfer files using other cloud solutions. Most of the big names, like Dropbox, have Android and iOS apps, so simply download the iOS app, enter your account details, and copy across whatever you need.

iTunes 11 apple ios ipod

It makes sense to import your music into iTunes, and it’s easily done. Make sure you have the Music Manager for Google Play Music installed on your computer and select Download my library from the Download tab. Choose the folder you want to download to and then fire up iTunes and go to File > Add Folder to Library, choose the same folder, and it will all be copied across. Once you have all your music in iTunes check out our guide on how to download music to your iPod or iPhone.

Moving your text messages

It’s often a wrench to leave behind your old text messages when you switch to a new phone. Most of them won’t be missed, but sometimes you’ll have a special goodbye or a romantic message that you want to keep. Unfortunately there’s no easy way to transfer SMS to your new iPhone. You might consider using a free app like Super Backup : SMS & Contacts to create XML file backups of your old texts, just make sure you copy them onto your computer.

There are a few premium software options out there which claim to allow you to transfer SMS from Android to iPhone, but they tend to be expensive. We would advise caution and proper research before you splash out on one of them.

On the next page of our Android to iPhone guide we’ll help you get your feet under the table on iOS.