How to switch from iPhone to Android – the Eric Schmidt guide

by: Chris SmithNovember 24, 2013

Android Apple

In a rare Google+ post, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt offered his followers a very detailed how-to guide on switching from iPhone to Android.

Schmidt said that many of his iPhone friends are moving to Android and reminded buyers that some of the most recent Android handsets out there including the Galaxy S4, the Motorola Droid Ultra or the Nexus 5 may be “great Christmas” presents to an iPhone user. Interestingly though, he compared the people moving from iPhone to Android to those PC users that have switched to Mac “and never switched back,” strangely placing Apple products on different tips of the scales.

In his detailed and aptly titled “Eric’s Guide: Converting to Android from iPhone” guide, the exec guides iPhone users through several steps needed to be performed in order to make the transition. Here it is, in its full length:

Eric’s Guide: Converting to Android from iPhone

Many of my iPhone friends are converting to Android. The latest high-end phones from Samsung (Galaxy S4), Motorola (Verizon Droid Ultra) and the Nexus 5 (for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile) have better screens, are faster, and have a much more intuitive interface. They are a great Christmas present to an iPhone user!

Here are the steps I recommend to make this switch. Like the people who moved from PCs to Macs and never switched back, you will switch from iPhone to Android and never switch back as everything will be in the cloud, backed up, and there are so many choices for you. 80% of the world, in the latest surveys, agrees on Android.

1. Set up the Android phone
a) Power on, connect to WiFi, login with your personal Gmail account, and download in the Google Play Store all the applications you normally use (for example, Instagram).
b) Make sure the software on the Android phone is updated to the latest version (i.e. 4.3 or 4.4). You should get a notification if there are software updates.
c) If you are using AT&T, download the Visual Voicemail app from the Play Store.
d) You can add additional Gmail accounts now or later.

At this point, you should see all your Gmail, and be able to use any apps and they should work well. Be sure to verify this.

2. Update your iPhone or iPad
a) Power on, connect to WiFi, make sure your Gmail is logged in, and upgrade all of the iPhone software to the latest iPhone software release (typically iOS 7+).
b) Check that you are using iCloud to back up contacts. Go to iCloud (in Settings) and enable that for contacts (“on”). If not using iCloud, go ahead and sign up for it. (The latest Mavericks requires the use of iCloud for Mac users if you want to transfer contacts.)
c) For your personal Gmail account, in Settings/Mail, turn on sync for contacts. In the latest iOS, this should sync your Gmail contacts and iPhone contacts.
d) In Settings/Messages, turn “off” iMessage, as that messenger is an iPhone-to-iPhone messenger and if its on your iPhone friends texts won’t make it to Android. Your iPhone will still use SMS messaging to reach your friends if you use the iPhone after this change.
e) Make sure your iPhone is fully synced to the Mac iTunes. Your photos and music should all be backed up on your Mac when this is done. Go ahead and verify that on the Mac and the iPhone.

At this point you should see all your Gmail, have your apps, and have your contacts in the Android phone. If the contacts are not in the Android phone, manually download the contacts as follows on your Mac:
a) Go to, login with your Apple ID, and click on contacts
b) In the lower-left corner, click on the wheel, and “select all” the contacts and “export” the vCard into a vCard file (in Downloads).
c) In a browser, go to, click on the Mail button and select “Contacts”. You should see a list of your Gmail contacts. Import the vCard file into Gmail/contacts using the “Import contacts” command and it should have manually added your contacts. Delete any duplicates or use the “More / Find & merge duplicates” function.

At this point you have your Gmail, apps and contacts on the new phone. Also verify this.

3. On your Mac, connect your music to Google:
Download Google Music Manager onto the Mac, and run it. Music Manager will upload your iTunes music to the cloud. The standard version is free and handles most iTunes libraries. You will need to sign up for Google Wallet and give your credit card information, but it’s free. Be sure the music is going to your personal Gmail account above. See

With the above complete, you should have your Gmail, apps, contacts, and music all moved over. Verify this on the Android phone :-)

4. Take the SIM out of the iPhone and insert it into Android. You may need an adapter (from nano-SIM to micro-SIM), but then reboot the Android and you are all set ! For texting either use the Messenger app in earlier releases or the “Hangouts” app in Android 4.4.

Comments and additions welcome ! Eric

PS. Photos on your iPhone
If you have pictures on your iPhone, you will have to first copy them over to the Mac and then sync the iPhone with iTunes. See

It’s probably easiest to backup your iPhone photos to the Mac, but not copy the old photos to the Android phone. New photos you take on the Android phone will automatically be backed up to your photos in the Gmail account (iAuto-Upload is normally enabled) so no action is required. If the old photos are important, send them to Gmail and download into the Android phone or upload them to Google+.

PPS. Some general advice

Be sure to use Chrome, not Safari; its safer and better in so many ways. And it’s free.

Be sure to use two-factor authentication for your Gmail and Google accounts. Makes it very hard for someone to break into your Gmail. Also free.

As you can see, this isn’t your average Eric Schmidt Google+ post, as the former CEO certainly took his time writing this guide, which will certainly go viral.

In case you need more help moving from iPhone to Android, be sure to check our own guide, as well as this post on how to transfer music from iTunes to Android.

  • Shark Bait

    Strange, he seems to have missed the bit about the hammer, and smashing the shit out of your iPhone!

  • wiz_kid

    He really doesn’t like the iPhone..

    • AbbyZFresh

      according to his massive intellectual mind , iPhones are nothing but mere train toys. lol.

    • Nick V

      He was actually a huge Blackberry fan for many years.

  • icyrock1

    I like how this guide was written for Macs.

  • Groud Frank

    Apple and Microsoft dissed simultaneously? Niiiiiiice :-)

    • mikegonzalez2k

      There was a 2 for 1 Black Friday special ;)

    • He was saying to all the new mac users that you don’t have to switch your computer back to get out of the ios-sphere.

      Good subtle marketing.

  • Lost_Fan
    • mikegonzalez2k

      Try adding up all the Android phones sold in Japan and comparing them to the number of iOS phones sold. I think the results will be obvious as to who is winning.

      While Samsung is a major player,

      • abazigal

        HTC’s not winning, for one.

        Nor are the other OEMs who are barely breaking even with the razor thin margins their phones bring.

        Apple’s iPhone division alone brings in more revenue than Microsoft.

        If that is losing, then I would rather lose big than win small. ;)

        • Peder Thorsø Lauridsen

          Why would you wan’t to be robbed by Apple? The reason they’re shoveling in money is the fact that they sell overpriced products wrapped in hype?

          • abazigal

            I don’t see it so much as Apple earning a small fortune from my purchase of an iPhone, but rather, more of me getting value for my money, in that I am buying a device which I feel best suits my needs.

            Android’s simply not for me (not least because I own numerous other Apple devices and appreciate the integration of services amongst them). So if I were to get a cheaper Nexus phone, it doesn’t mean I am saving more money. It just means I waste less.

            That’s really all it boils down to at the end of the day. Getting the best device for your needs.

          • mikegonzalez2k

            The Galaxy S4 costs just as much as the iPhone, but instead you get NFC to make electronic purchases, expandable memory for your pictures and other media, a much faster processor for application performance, a much more powerful GPU for gaming, microUSB for device connectivity to game controllers, a 1″ larger screen to help you see what you are doing, a customizable keyboard so you don’t have to be careful with pushed together keys.

            Please explain to me where the value in what you are getting is when you go with an iPhone?
            You are just buying it because of a brand name like Nike.
            Does having a flashy gold back really make you think you are getting a better quality product?

            Let’s also discuss the lie of integration. APPLE ONLY WORKS WITH APPLE PRODUCTS.
            Android on the other hand is compatible with multiple Operating Systems.
            Dropbox can sync you pics whether you are on an Android phone, a Windows PC, a Mac, or even an iPhone.
            Google’s gmail syncs contacts for you and backs them up just as easily.
            Google’s calendar syncs across devices, and even syncs with Outlook, which Apple’s does not.

          • abazigal

            Find me a single Android smartphone which contains all those features in a form factor with a 4″ screen. It doesn’t exist. The issue here is that most of the things you listed, are not giving me more of what I want, so it’s not exactly providing me value for my money.

            For one, I am currently satisfied with a 4″ screen, because to me, larger screens is simply a personal preference, not a definitive advantage. I like how compact, slim and light my iPhone 5s feels.

            I can’t customise my phone, true, but I don’t really place a premium on that feature either, so it is hardly enough to convince me to switch.

            NFC still has virtually zero presence in my country, and if I want to share photos, IOS offers features like shared photostream which I find way more convenient.

            Storage – I got myself a 64-gb iPhone and stopped worrying about fiddling with external storage or running out of space. You may laugh at me for spending so much, but since this is going to my daily driver for the next 2 years, it makes sense to also think of what potential problems I get to avoid for this amount of time as well.

            Charging port – Apple changed its port just once in 10 years (hardly every generation), and this hasn’t impeded the proliferation of accessories which complement Apple products. Likewise, with features like airplay, I haven’t found the need to buy extra cables either.

            I am surprised we are still mocking Apple’s A7 chip for being “only” dual-core when blogs like Anandtech have already proven that the A7 chip is faster than competing quad-core processors with faster clock speeds. So what if Android phones have a theoretically more capable processor, when mobile apps don’t even tap on that much horsepower?

            You are right in that Apple products typically work better with other Apple products, and that is reason enough for me to immerse myself in the Apple ecosystem entirely. For example, I am using airplay mirroring to teach with my iPad in the classroom. I can use my iPad or iPhone to manipulate the whiteboard from anywhere in the room. I am using IOS-only apps like fantastical, mailbox, notability and educreations in my workflow. I was using iMessage long before Google integrated hangouts into the calling function (that and Nexus phones aren’t available in my country anyways).

            Likewise, those google services you mentioned are also available on IOS as well. I am using youtube, Google calendar, gmail, google drive and google contacts, and they work great on my iPhone and iPad (shame about lack of exchange though). I am okay with Apple Maps. I hardly see this as a compelling reason to switch to Android.

            That’s what Apple devices have come to mean for me (and I own quite a couple of them). Integrated solutions that work right out of the box with minimal fuss. A seamless and intuitive user experience. Fewer issues to contend with overall, leading to lesser headaches.

            Complexity is not a feature here (or at least not one that I appreciate). Simplicity is.

    • AdamLisboa
  • John Bailey

    iPhone? Isn’t that the phone Fisher-Price makes for little kids?

    • mustbepbs

      It goes well with the Leap Frog iPad.

  • aniceDevil

    I switched to android. But I’ll switch back to iPhone soon.

    • jbox

      no problem mate. to each his own :)

    • Ivan Myring

      Out of interest, why? Do you not like the software in general, or the hardware or what?
      By the way, if this sounds sarcastic, it isn’t.

      • aniceDevil

        No worries, Ivan. I appreciate the question, actually. Most ppl will just blast me to smithreens for even thinking it.

        The reason is, I’m too deeply entrenched into the iOS ecosystem. I use a Mac, an iPad, an Apple tv.

        Nothing is wrong with android. I quite like it. But I still prefer iOS’s interface and how all the Apple devices connects to each other.

        I think this might be one of the major points that Mr Schmidt didn’t quite adequately address.

        • NeedName

          While I don’t use any apple devices, nor plan to. . . and honestly haven’t really liked any of their products for some time, and give ifans a really hard time, just because it’s so much fun to watch them go crazy. I think if a person likes apple’s devices that it’s only logical to go full hog into the ecosystem if you can afford it. Seems almost insane to make it difficult on yourself by having multiple apple products except for your phone. . .

  • jbox

    Expect a “Tim’s Guide: Converting to iPhone from Android” soon, lol :D
    Microsoft, take hint!

  • Valtheus

    They should add a “PayPal Donate” button in G+, so we can support poor guys like Schmidt who spend the time to share their guides with us… *roll eyes*

  • Hugo Oskarsson

    One thing that is so annoying with apple products is that they are so exclusive with EVERYTHING. Instead of being able to stream music to bluetooth speakers, you need “airplay”-speakers. Same thing with printing. Also, their imessage. Of course it is exclusive to apple products while google happily releases the hangouts app on the appstore.

    • NeedName


      That’s why I stopped using apple products in the late 90’s. . . . became such a pain to use a Mac with anything else, and I haven’t seen them change that mentality. So, no thank you!

    • abazigal

      I am not sure about the bluetooth bit. My iPhone streams music to run-of-the-mill bluetooth speakers just fine.

      That said, Apple’s decisions make sense when you realise that their business model is in the sales of hardware, and their software exists to encourage people to stay within their ecosystem and buy more of their hardware.

      Conversely, hangouts, as with any Google App or service, exists to collect your data, all the better for Google to serve you ads. So there’s incentive to make it as accessible on as many platforms as possible.

      I don’t say one is definitively better than the other.

  • Jusephe

    Switching from iPhone to iPhone:
    1. Buy new iPhone
    2. Power it on
    3. Connect to wi-fi, insert SIM (if your phone is locked)
    4. Sign in your Apple ID
    5. Configure some new functions on your new phone (Siri, touch ID) and settings.
    6. Start using your phone (apps photos, contacts, settings, everything will download automatically)

    What you say on that Eric ?

    • Nick V

      You forgot to hook it up to iTunes

      • Sonny Banks

        You don’t need to hook up to iTunes anymore, Nick.

    • NeedName

      Switch from Android to new Android. . .
      1. Buy phone
      2. Insert sim, if necessary.
      3. turn phone on
      4. log into account. . . everything downloaded automatically. . .
      enjoy. . .

      What’s your point?

      • districtjack

        Exactly right. All you have to do is log into gmail and everything you had on your old android phone is automatically downloaded into your new phone. So easy, a grandmother could do it without assistance.

    • Brian Shieh

      it’s obviously easier if you remain on the same platform

    • Or just stay with old iPhone because its the same?

      • GregSki86

        iMorons will keep buying the same crap iPhone (slightly different iteration each time). It’s almost like hammering your balls over and over thinking that something different will happen each time….smh

  • Perhaps I missed it but I didn’t see a link to the original post. Here it is.

  • Phill

    So for us Canadians, using Google Music Manager isn’t really an option? =(

  • R4

    Guys I switched from a HTC One to an iPhone 5 and here is the reason: iPhones have better apps, iOS 7 is smooth and clean, I get all the updates on time.

  • Dave West

    Thanks Chris for the iPhone to Android transfer guide.