Moving from iOS to Android: your guide

January 13, 2013

    Android Apple

    Someday, you’ll look back and tell the grandkids about it. The happiest day of your life. The day everything started to make sense in the world. You were happy. You felt alive and grounded for the first time… maybe ever. Life was worth experiencing, and Sunday mornings seemed surreal.

    No, not marriage or kids… not even those pesky grandkids. I’m talking about the day you switched from an iPhone to Android! That day will live in infamy for the rest of your life. You will look back on it with reverence and delight as you gaze off into the distance at the dinner table. Everyone will say “oh, there you go again… dreaming about Android.”

    All joking aside (for now), you’ve made a big change in life and it’s time to get you up and going. This article will serve as your reference point to get set-up, answer questions, and dispel myths. Before we go further, your first step will be to sign up for a Gmail account (if you haven’t already). It all starts from there.

    What are the differences?

    The differences you’ll see between the two will be the interface, mostly. Each has their own OS that operate similarly, but not the same. Things like where buttons are on the screen and such will take a little time to get used to. It’s a layout issue that may be shocking at first, but not for long. The differences here are minimal, so don’t concern yourself with it too much. If you’re considering Android, or have already switched, it’s safe to assume none of it is foreign to you. Manufacturers like HTC or Samsung have their own version of the Android interface, so make sure you know which flavor is right for you before you get involved.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that Android is open source, while Apple is not. As you get more involved with Android, you may see some cool screenshots of app icons and widgets you don’t have. That is probably a result of rooting, which is like jailbreaking for Android. While Apple made jailbreaking nearly impossible, Android embraces and encourages it. There are tons of developers and forums available to give you info about it, and I’ll give you some links a little later.

    I probably don’t need to tell you this, but variety is a major difference. With the iPhone, you basically get the same phone over and over. One company making one phone. With Android, the OS is free for everyone, so anyone can make an Android phone. You’ll get all types of screen sizes, hardware specs, etc., so finding a phone for you is easy. If you’re wondering about the transition being difficult, just know that some very prominent Apple fans have switched to Android completely. If you need  a quick guide before actually making the jump, check out our helpful tips here.

    android_vs_apple

    Let’s talk about apps, baby

    So, in all my iPhone bashing, there is one thing I concede fully: the App Store is better than the Play Store. The reason for that is Apple had the jump on everyone. When the original iPhone came out, it blew everyone away. There was nothing like it, and no other viable digital market for apps, music, movies, etc. Everyone wanted to be part of it, so it grew really quickly and had a ton of content in no time.

    Things are not so good for Google. As Android is so very different from iOS, many studios and record companies were cautiously waiting to see what Android would be. Now that Android is taking off and surpassing iOS in many respects, content is increasing. We’re getting more and more media content all the time for Android, so don’t fret. If you have something like Netflix or Amazon MP3, you can download those apps and view your content right on your Android device.

    Android makes me app-y

    So many apps in this world, so little time. The good news for apps is that many developers are developing apps for both platforms now, or porting their iOS apps to Android. All those apps you love on iOS are probably on Android now. If they aren’t, there is probably one very similar or that accomplishes the same thing.

    If I’m recommending apps, I will start with Google. Once you get your phone set-up, check out the Play Store. Run a search for “Google, Inc.” and download as many of those as you don’t have. Another favorite of mine is Field Trip, which is a Google product but falls under Niantic Labs. Field Trip will show you all kinds of cool stuff in the area you’re in, as well as send you notifications on Google Offers in your area.

    If games are your thing, Android has you covered. Tons of games in all kinds of genres compose the Android gaming landscape. If you want it, there’s an excellent chance you’ll find it on the Play Store. One thing you now have access to is the very popular game Ingress. If you’re not familiar, Ingress is an augmented reality game that gets you out and about in your city rather than sitting at home. The game is a huge cult hit already, and it’s only in beta testing. Once it is available to the public, look out!

    samsung-galaxy-s3-vs-iphone-5-display

    How can I get my stuff onto Android?

    This could be tough, or even impossible. With the two being so different, some content simply will not transfer. We’ll go over each major area to give you a better understanding of your options. Before you switch, I would strongly suggest you back up anything you have. Losing any content or info in the transition would just plain suck.

    Contacts

    There are quite a few ways to move contacts onto your new Android device. The most obvious way is to sync your contacts in iTunes to your computer. From there you can use the USB cable that came with your Android device to link to the computer, find the file your contacts are in, and load it onto your phone.

    That’s all kind of old school, though. There are easier ways… ways that won’t tether you to a computer. If you use Mac Address Book, you can export the file as a vCard. Once you do that, you can import them into your Gmail account. Of course, if you already use Gmail, life is easy. Once you get your Android phone, you log in with your Gmail account info, and your contacts sync automatically.

    There is one last way for those who either can’t or aren’t interested in the first two methods. There is a nice little app called My Contacts Backup that will export your contacts from your iPhone. It acts like the vCard option, so you simply email the file to your Gmail account and import from there. There is a YouTube video for those that need a quick walk-through, also.

    Music

    Music makes your world go round, doesn’t it? Yeah, me too. Like everyone did a few years ago, I was an iTunes user (let’s keep that on the down-low, ya?). When Google Music came out, I was excited to be fully vested in the Android spectrum. No more iTunes, no more wrangling with multiple devices and cables. I could go all-in with Android, and did so willingly.

    But how to transfer it all… that is the quandary. In the beginning, the Music Match system was a simple upload system. It took forever, and I mean that sincerely. It took about 5 full days to upload my library of 5,000 songs. Those were the old days, and now there are new ways.

    Since iTunes keeps your music stored locally on your computer, Music Match now has a scan-and-match feature that simply checks out your music collection and gives you the matching Play Music track. If it can’t be found, the upload option is there as well. It may take a while, but the small investment of time now is worth it long term.

    Some music is protected by a digital rights copyright, or DRM. Some iTunes music simply won’t load or transfer, so you may have to re-purchase some stuff. For my library, I had to purchase one full album, and it was $10. Not bad, really.

    Movies

    Well, this will be quick. You’re kinda screwed here. These is currently no way to transfer iTunes movies to your Google Play account. Just about all iTunes movies are DRM protected, so they are just unavailable for transfer. There is conversion software out there, but those often can’t perform the task.

    Google Play movies is the slowest to round into shape. The rental aspect of it is nearly nonexistent, and it lacks a lot of content. If renting movies via iTunes is your thing, it simply won’t happen on Android like you want it to right now. Again, content is growing daily, but it just isn’t there yet.

    Which Android is right for me?

    Click on the image to check out the full version.

    From Cupcake to Jelly Bean, Android has come a long way. Key Lime Pie is next!

    In our little Android world, there have been many iterations. Originally, they were named after robots (Astro and Bender). Those were alpha testing models which were, let’s say, slimmed down versions of what you see now. Since those two, Android has been named after delicious treats: Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, FroYo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Jelly Bean. If you’re considering Android, you’re probably looking at Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean. Those two are the latest and, being blunt, first to really challenge iOS for overall smoothness and dominance.

    In coming from iOS, you’ll probably want an Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean Android phone, which are both version 4.0 and higher. Finding a newer phone without either of those two is tough, assuming you’re looking at high-end phones. All newer phones run on either of those two, and they are very similar. Jelly Bean has a few minor tweaks, but ICS was a major step forward. Either of those two iterations present the easiest transition for you in terms of layout and appearance. Keep in mind that some manufacturers alter the appearance and interface a bit, so always try before you buy.

    Two major aspects of Android

    You are an Android user now, so let’s go over a few things to know about the Android world. there is a lot of things to know and educate yourself about, but two major things within our spectrum dominate the landscape. They are both vital to Android, so we should discuss them a bit more.

    Rooting

    We touched on rooting before, but just know that rooting is a world within the Android world. Rooting is very popular, and has a really great community of people who are there to help. Get involved, learn as much as you like, and if you feel confident about it… go ahead and root your device. Like anything tech related, there will be a ton of differing opinions.

    Some think rooting is the only way to go. Quite a few people buy a phone and root it straight away, no fussing with anything else. They do what is called “flashing” a custom ROM, which is like saying they load a specially built version of Android. If you root and flash, you can also load custom themes, which is a custom interface for the phone. Rooting gives you access to change and manipulate your device as you see fit, so make sure you understand what you’re doing before you get into trouble.

    Think you want to root your device? Check out CyanogenMod for a new ROM and theme. CyanogenMod is a great place to start, and has a theme builder so you can personalize your rooted device!

    cyanogenmod 10

    Nexus

    The Nexus line is Google’s answer to iStuff. It’s meant to give a little balance to the Android world by providing really great hardware at some great price points. The Nexus is also a pure Android experience, which means you won’t get anything other than Android as Google meant it to be. No manufacturer tweaks or modifications, no apps you don’t want from carriers. It’s Android, pure and simple.

    The Nexus line, however, has been mired in availability issues. The recent Nexus 4 launch was an unmitigated disaster, and the Nexus 7 before it was equally as tough to get. Both amazing devices, and both underestimated in terms of demand. Google is fairly new to this eCommerce game, so once they take it seriously there will be no issues. I think after a rough 2012 in terms of selling devices via the Play Store, they’ve learned their lesson.

    nexus devices line

    Conclusion

    The world is now free and open to you, my Android friend. With so much variety and freedom to do as you please, I’d challenge you to find a reason Android isn’t better than iOS. Let me also say that there is room for both operating systems in this world, and I really hope Apple fans are as passionate as Android fans. It’s that passion that really drives each company to succeed.

    If you’re looking for a way to get acquainted with Android further, check out the various communities on Google+. It’s a great way to get feedback on any subject. Feel free to pop in and say “Hey, I’m new to Android.” and ask away. This was a primer for getting started, sure, but not the whole story. Android has a lot to offer, and you should definitely take advantage as much as possible.

    Comments

    • SonyFan

      very good article

    • Gaja

      You couldn’t find another way to transfer your music to an Android but to spend 10$ on an album you already own? Ever heard of copy/paste?

      • IncCo

        “Some music is protected by a digital rights copyright, or DRM. Some
        iTunes music simply won’t load or transfer, so you may have to
        re-purchase some stuff.” stuff is never simple with crapple

        • Bill Carroll

          download the free program called Copy Trans Manager, here is the link;

          http://www.copytrans.net/download.php

          it is the 4th one down the list, you will never need itunes again ;)

        • Jesse Deane

          Which is one of the marketing scams,….once you’ve invested in overpriced electronics equipment, your basically sucked in. Its like going for a sports team, and going all gung ho, buying all the flags and stuff and then realizing your team sucks. Only to find out you have to repurchase new stuff.

          • Craig

            If you’re from Kentucky, yeah.

    • Miles Gilhuly

      I’ve made the switch! But I live in Japan :/ Is there a ROM for my LG Optimus G LGL21 from AU??

      • IncCo

        its possible, you should check xda..

    • khalid

      any articles on the other way around?

      • talim

        well perhaps you should explain your reason first, why any sane person would switch from android to ios :)

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E26SRY4NWIQM7UDGDFUH25QLXM johnl

          Why? Most Android devices are garbage, apart from the Nexus branded and Samsung ones.

    • RarestName

      “With so much variety and freedom to do as you please, I’d challenge you to find a reason Android isn’t better than iOS.”

      I am a current iOS user and my devices are all jailbroken. It’s a no brainer that the current version is better than iOS, but I do like the little things that manages to keep me on the iOS side. I don’t have to pretend that I hate iOS and you guys don’t have to pretend too!

      Here are few things that would make me switch:

      1. A full fledged Activator alternative. I know that there are things like GMD Gestures, but it’s so limited and have no third party app support. I want to be able to download a profiles app and be able to activate it anywhere in the system.

      2. Arrangeable notification cells. Need I say more? I don’t want my toggles to be at the bottom and my messages stuck under my RSS feeds.

      3. Invoke the Notification Shade anywhere. Pretty much self explanatory.

      4. Ad-Hoc Wi-Fi network integration with Bluetooth. Want to send a file from an Android phone to another Android phone? Use Bluetooth to find each other and automatically create a Wi-Fi network to do transfers with Wi-Fi speeds! Good for devices without NFC.

      5. Native multitasking. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t true backgrounding one of Android strengths? True, but it’s also one of weaknesses of Android. I want to be able to choose which applications should run in the background, and which applications should run in the paused state. I am currently able to do this on both of my iOS devices.

      6. Answer and make calls without leaving the application that you are in.

      7. Adding functionality to applications and stock launcher without custom ROMs or flashing. Want a full screen web browser with on screen gestures that can be invoked? Install and restart the web browser. Want to add a download button to the stock YouTube app? Install and restart YouTube. Want to add more page transitions? Install and restart launcher. Want to integrate TwitLonger with the Twitter app? Install and restart Twitter. I shouldn’t have to flash a custom ROM or change a launcher just to get a feature.

      8. Confirmation message asking you whether you want to open the link or not. Accidental taps on links are annoying!

      9. Move around multiple icons at the same time.

      10. Don’t like that yellowish tint on your sparkling new phone? Adjust your own screen colour!

      11. Custom notification icons for all apps. Apps not specified will not have icons cluttered in the status bar.

      That’s just a few and it would definitely improve the Android user experience as even someone who dislikes flashing custom ROMs and stuff can easily mod his/her phone.

      • melody

        good points,

        I agree completely with your point #5, ability to choose which app that can or cannot run in background. although I don’t know if this will only affect android Activity or also include Service. as I recall some app might have separate background service. perhaps someone more knowledgeable in android can give insight about this.

        to be honest I always dreamed this feature on android. I think WP already has similar feature. it’s good when you have fully multitasking environment, but it’s useless if you can’t have control of it.

        .
        as for other points, it’s not that important to me so I can’t comment. but others might appreciate.

        • Sabhe Sandhu

          isn’t deep sleep app (available in Pstore) and that new battery saver feature in Xperia Z do the same?….hope KLP has improved multitasking

      • carlisimo

        One more: iOS is better at handling multiple input languages. Android has the potential to be better, but I haven’t found a single keyboard that does English, Spanish, and Chinese well. Granted, that’s a niche use case.

    • http://cheapea.com/ Cheapea

      I’d like move from Android to IOS, IOS’s apps are more beautiful thant Androids’

      • Amit Apollo Barman

        iOS users pay a premium for their apps. As an indie developer i don’t make hardly any money off of Android Apps. My iOS gets almost 2000% more sales. iOS users are more willing to pay a premium, Android users want everything for free. At first I was reluctant to believe this, until I started pushing the same app in both stores. The only app that does well in the Android store is my one free one. The paid ones are very sparse. Because of the lower standards in the Android market, and less barriers to entry, more developers, on more platforms get access to push and develop for androids. Android apps encourage hobbyists and enthusiasts. iOS apps draw small corporations, and more corporations, although there are a few indies out there.

        • Adam Eldin

          that’s the thing, iOS is for snotty rich kids that don’t know what android is, and old people that have a lot of money to blow :)

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E26SRY4NWIQM7UDGDFUH25QLXM johnl

            Or people who don’t have time to tinker with their phones, want better App experiences, and better support from 3rd party accessories?

            Generalizing makes you sound stupid.

            • Craig

              Wait. Was that the sound of Apples plummeting stock prices?

            • chickkeeeeeen

              ohh suck my balls

        • David Loman

          You’re wrong. When I switched from iOS, one of the reasons was that Angry Birds was free… but with ads. I don’t know when was the last time you checked out the Play Store… take a look around and find paid apps and you will notice lots of them have millions of downloads. Don’t get offended but I’m guessing you’re not a Gameloft developer or Google or something big are you? For example, search for launchers like Nova Launcher (free) and Nova Launcher Prime and check the difference in downloads. And well… iOS users, in my opinion, are short minded. Ask them what RAM and ROM is, ask them what is a CPU, simple computing terms. I have an analogy for this… iOS is for the guys who want breakfast in bed, Android is for the guys who get up and fix themselves theirbreakfast

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E26SRY4NWIQM7UDGDFUH25QLXM johnl

            Not knowing what RAM and CPU is doesn’t make a person “short minded”

            If everyone was a tech geek, what a boring world it would be.

            I can guarantee you more professionals like doctors, engineers and lawyers use iPhones than Android phones. These are highly intelligent people who aren’t tech savvy. Being tech savvy doesn’t make you intelligent, either.

            • Craig

              I find it’s mostly the non-professional, air-head types who buy iPhones. Smart people appreciate not being told how to think by Apple.

            • visualescapist

              I am an academic at a highly ranked university, and quite a lot of my colleagues with international top publications, both here and at other institutions, are iPhone users. All of them are highly intelligent, many of them do sophisticated programming, some of them are tech savy, some are not. What makes iPhone attractive is how user friendly it is. Also, the app store works really well, and there is some quality checks before apps are released, which can save you from trouble. That might be worth paying for. However, there are surely many very good Android phones out there, and there are signs that the iPhone dominance is ending.

          • superyking

            But the fact is that everyone who is getting up and fixing their own breakfast every morning, secretly dreams and hopes to get their breakfast in bed someday :)

        • Craig

          Or another explanation is that Android users have better taste and don’t want you crappy app. Food for thought.

          • AmitApollo

            Nope, they do. Just for free…

      • Adam Eldin

        The ones on the 4.0 API are as good as iOS, and the ones of the 4.1/4.2 API are better than iOS

        • http://cheapea.com/ Cheapea

          it’s a great news

        • Craig

          4.0 isn’t an “API”, dumbass. They don’t even use the Android version to refer to the API either — 4.1 was “API Level 16″.

          Also, every version of Android is better than iOS, since iOS is cancerware.

    • http://www.medicalentrytest.com/ Basit

      Very nice article

    • Wesley Leong

      using Lion on my macbook pro doesnt work with android file transfer..and ideas

      • Carl Parrish

        I have lion on my macbook pro and while I had to install android file transfer on my Mac it works find now.

    • Eric Fletcher

      Everything seemed reasonable in the article until the “Which Android is right for me?” part. My hesitation with Android is that it is a moving target. While I can certainly cope with upgrading and “rooting”, I’m just not interested in doing so: I just want a device that is stable and works. I’m not fixed on iOS, but so far see little to convince me that the alternative is worth the hassle.

      • Sam Hollis

        Nexus is the way to go then. If you can’t get your hands on a Nexus 4, the Galaxy Nexus is still a solid competitor. Specs are on par with the iPhone 4 and 4S.

        • Ambarish Malpani

          Just on par? I know of quite a few iPhone 5 users who look with envy at the huge screens (on Nexus 4 and Galaxy Nexus) :-). [downside of large screen is shorter battery life, by the way]

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E26SRY4NWIQM7UDGDFUH25QLXM johnl

        I agree with Sam Hollis… Nexus phones are the way to go if you want to be able to update your phone from day 1.

        I have an iPhone 4 that runs iOS 6 flawlessly. However, my Samsung Galaxy S2 can’t even update to Jelly Bean (yet), and it’s NEWER than my iPhone. What’s the deal?

        Stick with Nexus branded phones.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ichuck7 Charles Chambers

      Used to be a diehard iPhone fan since 07. Switched to android in 11 and I love it.
      The difference between android and iOS: iOS is like living in a nice hotel. You don’t have a lot of choice but it looks nice and easy to use.
      Android is like buyingg your own home. Buy an really nice home (android device) and you will probably love it. You can change and customize it however you want. It’s yours! You can also buy cheap.

      • Markus Ressel

        Free Choice is the key here :D

      • Craig

        Nah iOS is more like living in the run-down mansion of a soon-to-be-bankrupt, eccentric old man.

    • HARLEM HEFNER

      When I left apple it was the best move I made I love android jail breaking doesn’t compare to android freedom at all love android customization I stream my itune list with android as for movies I like the play store but It’s other ways to get movies on your device I don’t depend on the play store for music and movies I luv the play store apps iPhones ipads are boring to me because it doesn’t fit my needs android is for people who like to fully customize their device

      • http://twitter.com/balducien Balduin

        Android also has a point on its software keyboard.

    • Jake

      Number 1 reason to have an android over iOS, you can’t download Smoking Buddy. The App that shows your where to find the cheapest cigarette prices locally. Love that app.

    • http://www.facebook.com/domagoj.tokic Domagoj Tokić
    • Sonia1125

      Moving music and video from iOS to Android is quite easy with this converter

      http://drmremoval.allvideoconvert.com/

      When the conversion is complete, just connect the microUSB to transfer the output files. Quite easy to get it done.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lee.shirley.35977 Lee Shirley

      since i’ve never tried iphone , and never used ios, i’ve only tiried android.i can just say android is fine. http://www.compex.com.sg/forum/default.asp

    • http://twitter.com/azurthmus Cody G

      I was forced to switch my old iPhone 4 to a shiny new HTC at the end of last year. The only thing I regret about is the huge trouble in finding an easy way to transfer my iPhone contacts and other data to my Android. This utility helped in part:

      http://www.copytrans.net/support/how-to-transfer-contacts-from-iphone-to-android/

      However, I was only able to transfer my iphone contacts to my android. Try doing so with your Safari bookmarks and if they were as important as they were for me, you would simply give up. Integration between iOS and Anroid is apalling – for obvious reasons. :)

      • Jesse Deane

        Consider returning to the store you purchased it from and asking if they can transfer it using a special machine. We use one at our kiosk and it helps with happy experiences.

    • Ringostarrpower

      After 5 years with the iPhone, how I moved to Android:
      Had a few drinks, went shopping on Amazon, obtained a Nexus 7 16GB
      Weeks later I realized that I also owned an iPhone, and people had been trying to contact me
      Returned phone calls and apologized for going MIA, claimed that my phone had died.

      • http://www.noypigeeks.com/ NoypiGeeks

        That’s cool.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Ladygagalover2693 Christian Harris

      I’m an iOS user, and I could really care which device I have, I got iPod back in ’11 and I fell in love with it. It could do all those cool things iPhone could do! But, it didn’t have internet. Internet is the main thing people use their phones for, so it was a major slap in the face to only be able to use my iPod like an iPhone if I only had WiFi.

      The first phone my mom got me was a Java phone in ’12. Now, if you’re an iOS user, that’s a HUGE step down from what you’re used to. I mean, everything was so slow. Looking up the bus schedule took more time than it did for the bus to come! I eventually learned to stop using the internet to tweet and receive messages, because everything was just so god damn SLOW.

      Now fast forward, and I’ve broken my Java phone. What do I want know? iPhone, of course. I’ve learned my lesson about cheep phones: They never work! So now, I’m stuck in a state of holy-crap-which-one-is-best.

      Android phones are cheaper, but then again, the cheaper ones tend to run really crappy versions of Android. My Grandma got one of those free Google Nexus phones, and dear lord, I would not want that over iOS.

      However, I’m stuck b/c the higher Android phones have the same plans iOS phones have, and my mom is going to be pissed if she has to pay $20 bucks for my phone every month from my previous plan of $50 per month.

      If it comes down to it, I wouldn’t mind using a cheaper Android phone w/ 4G. However, I wouldn’t have a nearly as great experience with an iPhone. I also wouldn’t mind a higher Android phone w/ 4G LTE. But then again, I really like the iPhone 5 and I’ve actually had a hands on experience with it (VS Tech reviews).
      OR, my mom could buy me a shitty Trac phone, but that wouldn’t be fun, now would it?

    • Androidbeats

      The IPhone is the training wheels for Android ;)

    • muhammad ilham

      how to moving App in Phone memory to SD Card in my Android (Galaxy Young).

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