Plenty of iOS users were dissatisfied with the launch of the iPhone 7 and were looking for Android alternatives. If you’re holding out for the holidays in hopes of a new device under the tree now is the time to start thinking about migrating.
It’s incredibly simple to migrate from Android to iOS–Apple has published its own app on Google Play that automates almost the entire process. Unfortunately things aren’t so clear cut for iOS users wishing to escape the Applesphere. Roll up your sleeves–we’ve got work to do.
Square one: You need a Google account
Chances are good you already have a Google account. Whether it’s a Gmail, Google Plus, or YouTube login, most of us are connected to Google in some way. If you don’t have an account with Google you’ll need to create one.
Using Google apps to migrate media
Pictures and music: Two of the most important things on the modern smartphone, and two things that have to be manually migrated from iOS/iTunes to Android/Google Music. You’re going to need two applications to do this: The Google Photos iOS app and Google Music Manager for macOS or Windows.
Let’s start with Google Photos. Just like Photos on iOS stores pictures in iCloud, Google backs up all photos to Google Drive. Setting up Google Photos is as simple as signing into your Google account and telling it to upload them.
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Once you sign in you’ll see an option to Back Up And Sync your photos. Make sure the slider is to the right and tap Continue–that’s it!
Music is a bit more complicated but it’s still fairly easy. Once you’ve installed Google Music Manager open it up and sign into your Google account.
As soon as you sign in you’ll be prompted to choose either uploading songs to Google Play or downloading them–you’re going to choose the former.
The next screen will prompt you to specify the location of your music files. If you use iTunes all you have to do is choose that option. Hit continue and the app will tell you how many songs it found. You can upload them all or choose certain playlists, then hit continue, and it’ll work its magic!
Keeping your contacts
Plenty of people use Google accounts on iPhones, myself included. If you’re in the same boat you don’t really need to do anything–contacts from your Google account are stored in the cloud and will make the transition to Android automatically. Contacts in iCloud or stored locally on your iPhone are a different story.
For simplicity’s sake we’ll assume all your contacts are stored locally and they need to be synced with iCloud.
Start by opening Settings on your iPhone. Swipe down until you find iCloud and tap it. Make sure your Apple ID is associated with iCloud and that the Contacts button is turned on. If you have to change it you might have to wait a bit for your contacts to sync.
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Now you have to export those contacts from iCloud. Open a web browser on your desktop or laptop and navigate to iCloud.com, where you’ll log in with your Apple ID. Once logged in click on the Contacts button and you’ll see a view similar to the Contacts app on your iPhone.
Click on the gear icon on the bottom left to open the options menu. Don’t export yet–make sure you click on Select All first. Then click Export vCard and be sure to save it somewhere obvious.
The last thing to do is import your contacts into Google. Open Gmail and look for Mail on the upper left of the screen. Click on it and then click Contacts. Once the contacts screen loads click on Import Contacts, then choose the file you just downloaded from iCloud. Click import and you’re all set!
If you want to merge duplicates you can do that as soon as the upload is complete. Click on the More button from the Gmail contacts screen and select Find & Merge Duplicates.
One last setting to change
iMessage is likely familiar to anyone who uses an iPhone or iPad, and if you switch to Android without turning it off you might lose text messages from other iMessage users, as they’re directed to your iPhone and lost in the iMessage ether.
Open the Settings app on your iPhone one last time and swipe until you find Messages. Tap that and make sure you turn iMessage off. Once you’ve done that you’ve successfully removed yourself from the Apple ecosystem and are ready to start experiencing everything Android has to offer.
It’s unfortunate that Google hasn’t created an app that works like Move to iOS–it greatly simplifies the process for those who want to give the iPhone a try. Just consider the work you have to do to get Android going the price for having greater customization options on your new device.
For a more visual look at these steps be sure to check out the gallery version of this article.
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