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The iPhone switcher's guide: Move from iOS to Android and keep all your stuff

Michael Simon | Dec. 16, 2016
We can help move your photos, contacts, calendars, mail, music, and messages over to their new home.

So you’ve decided to switch to Android. We can’t say we blame you—as you’ll soon see, the grass over here is as green as our bots—but we know that starting from scratch can be a scary experience. There’s all sorts of information on your old iPhone that you’re going to want to transfer to your new one, and let’s face it, Apple isn’t exactly going out of its way to help. But we are!

Whatever your reason for getting your head out of the iClouds, we’re here to support you through this difficult break-up. And before you can say “no headphone jack” we’ll have your new phone up, running, and packed with all the stuff you were afraid you’d have to leave behind.

Getting ready

google account
Before you even turn on your new phone, make sure you have a Google account.

Before your new phone even arrives, there are things you can do to prepare. Just as your iTunes and iCloud accounts are the keys to keeping of your iOS devices humming in unison, a Google account is necessary on your new Android phone. You probably already have a Gmail account, but if you don’t, go get one. While you’re at it, you should enable 2-step verification. Your Google account will hold all your personal information, including contacts, calendars, and Chrome passwords, so the more protection you can add to it the better off you’ll be. 

And we’re sorry to say but you’re going to need to turn off iMessage. If your contacts send you an iMessage instead of an SMS text, and you don’t have an iPhone to receive it, it will get lost in the ether. So you’re going to want to tell Apple to stop trying to send them. (You can find the toggle inside the Messages tab in the Settings app on your iPhone.) And besides, you don’t want people to think you’re ignoring them when their lonely message is really just sitting unread on Apple’s servers.

And finally, it’ll also be helpful to sign up for a Dropbox account, if you don’t already have one. There are a number of cross-platform apps that use Dropbox rather than Google Drive as their syncing engine, and one of your old apps will likely need it to transfer your data.

Use your Google Drive

While your iCloud Drive will pretty much be useless the minute you turn off your iPhone, Google Drive can actually help with the transition process. Not only will it be useful in storing and transferring documents, but while we were preparing this guide, Google unveiled a simple backup system right inside its Google Drive iOS app. It won’t bring over everything (and we still recommend following the steps in this guide to ensure a seamless transfer), but if you’re happy with just grabbing contacts, calendar entries, and photos, it’s worth a try.


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