Find out how to move from an iPhone to Android, including how to transfer contacts, calendar, photos, video and music, and all the things you should consider before you make the switch from iOS to an Android phone. See all Android tips.
Since it launched in 2007 the iPhone has been a hugely popular smartphone platform. In the past Android and BlackBerry were cheaper alternatives, but if you had the cash you went for an iPhone. Not any more.
Android's app store Google Play now has more apps than the iTunes App Store, and its Music, Books, Movies & TV and Magazines apps rival their Apple equivalents. And you can choose from multiple music stores if you use an Android phone. See also: Best Android apps and Best iPhone apps.
Now high end Windows and Android phones are true rivals to the iPhone, and top Android phones such as those found in our best Android phones are better and often cheaper than the Apple iPhone 6s. No wonder many people consider switching.
In our complete guide to moving from iPhone to Android we explain how to:
- Use email, iCloud or Gmail to transfer contacts
- Use Google or SmoothSync to transfer calendars
- Move your videos and photos from iPhone to Android
- Move eBooks and magazines from iPhone to Android
But first, should you switch from iPhone to Android? Read on for things you might not have considered that could change your mind - it's not as straightforward as it seems.
How to move from iPhone to Android: first things to consider
The top Android phones match the iPhone's build, features and performance, but not all Androids are equal. There are myriad Android operating systems, and iPhone users need a recent version of Android in order to replicate the iPhone experience on their new handset. Remember that unlike the iPhone, there's no guarantee your phone maker will upgrade Android when a new OS comes out.
The good news is that on any Android handset email, Twitter and Facebook work much as they do on an iPhone - moving email and social accounts is not a consideration here.
Do consider accessories, speakers, adaptors and cases you have amassed for your iPhone, however. You will of course get a charging cable with your new Android, but don't assume that any speaker docs will work without an adaptor. The good news here is that most Androids (and Windows Phones, and BlackBerries) use microUSB to connect, charge and share, so you will find plenty of accessories for your new Android phone.
Apps are also a factor. Your favourite iOS apps should be on Google Play, but check before you commit to Android. Factor in the cost of replacing your apps: app makers charge separately for each platform on which you install their wares. Not all Android phones can install all Android apps, either, so check your favourites are available on your chosen handset. If you are fishing in the top end of the Android pool it is likely all the apps will be present and capable. Indeed, there may be more choice than on iOS.
Bear in mind that some features native to iOS require you to install third-party apps on Android. The open nature of Android means have options when hunting down features, which can be a good and bad thing.
There's no native Android equivalent of Find My iPhone, for instance, but you will need security software anyway. Not for the antivirus - the threat comes from rogue apps you install from outside of Google Play. But the best Android security apps let you track, wipe and brick your handset in the event of theft. They are usually free, either as standalone products or as part of your PC security software. (See also: How to remove a virus from Android phone or tablet.)
Android has no equivalent of the iPhone's Facetime video-calling, although you can use Google Hangouts to video call other Android users (and iPhone users). You can also install Skype and video call anyone for free. There's no Android iMessage, but the rest of the world is already using Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger for free mobile messaging.
There's no iCloud, but plenty of cloud storage providers are available. (You will lose what you have spent on iCloud for the forthcoming year and should go into your iPhone's Settings, then iCloud, Account, Storage plan and Downgrade options to ensure you don't pay again next year.) Google's own storage system is Google Drive - again, arguably superior to iCloud. And accessible on all of your devices.
One last cost to consider: music and videos you have purchased from iTunes. Almost all iTunes music files are DRM free, and Android handsets will store and play them. But TV shows and movies you have purchased from Apple are a very different story. There is no legitimate way of viewing iTunes video on an Android phone - the same is true of Newsstand magazines and iBooks. If you have a large library of both, this could be a deal breaker. We explain how to transfer music, movies and books below.
How to move from iPhone to Android: move contacts from iPhone to Android
Arguably the most important part of moving from iPhone to Android is transferring contacts, and there are several ways to do so. The method you choose will probably depend on how many contacts you wish to move.
If you're only looking to transfer, say, 10 contacts, you can do so by emailing the contacts to yourself:
1. Go to Phone > Contacts > Share Contact.
2. Choose Mail and email the address you'll be using on your Android device.
3. On your Android phone, open the email and then open the contact attachment to add it to your phonebook.
That method certainly isn't going to suit everyone, but there are a few more options to choose from. The first is to use iCloud, and this one's pretty simple:
1. Go to iCloud.com on your computer.
2. You'll need to sign in using your Apple ID, which is the email address and password you use to download apps from the iOS App Store.
3. From there, click Contacts.
4. You should now be able to see all of the contacts you've synced via iCloud.
5. If you don't see any contacts there, go to Settings > iCloud and turn on Contacts to sync them.
6. From iCloud.com, click on the the cog in the bottom left corner and choose select all.
7. Click the cog again and choose Export vCard.
8. You'll now be downloading a VCF file with all of the contact information stored within it.
9. Now connect your Android phone to your computer.
10. Copy the VCF file to your Android phone.
11. Open your Phone app on the Android phone and go to People.
12. There, go to the app settings and choose Manage contacts.
13. You should now have the option to import contacts, choose that and click 'Import from phone storage'
14. Your vCard should import to your phonebook - if you can't see them try tapping Phonebook at the top of the app to see if any of your lists are hidden. If they are, unhide them by tapping on them.
Similarly, you can use your Google Account to sync contacts using a method much like above. Follow the above steps up to step 8, and from there log in to your Google Account on your computer and go to Gmail. From there, select Mail in the top left corner and choose Contacts. Then choose More and click Import. You should then get the option to import the vCard.
Now, when you're using your Android phone you can simply import your Gmail contacts.
If all else fails, there are apps that will do this for you. The My Contacts Backup app is one. You install it first on your iPhone, and it will prompt you to backup your contacts. Then when you install the app on your Android, and log in, it will let you install all of those contacts on to your Android. (See also: Cheapest 4G smartphones of 2015: The 14 best budget 4G phones.)
How to move from iPhone to Android: Move calender from iPhone to Android
Moving the calendar is also easy. How easy depends on how synced your existing iPhone calendar is. If you sync to your iPhone a Google Calendar, you're in clover. The same is true if you use a calendar from another webmail provider such as Hotmail - sync that account to your new phone and away you go.
It gets more tricky if you created your calendar on an iPhone and it is stored locally or in iCloud.
If it is stored locally, grab your iPhone. Go to Settings, then Mail, Contacts, Calendars. If you have an existing Google account with which you are going to sync your Android phone it may be listed there already, if not hit Add Account and add it in. Once you can see the relevant Google account, tap to go into it and ensure the 'Calendars' slider is moved across to 'On'. When you sign into Google on your Android phone your calendar will sync.
If your calendar is created on your iPhone and stored in iCloud you may need to purchase an Android app to help with the transition. SmoothSync for Cloud Calendar costs a couple of quid and will sync your calendar from iCloud.
How to move from iPhone to Android: Move music from iPhone to Android
Simply make sure the music on your iPhone is backed up to your PC or laptop. Your Android device will be able to play them. One of the great things about Android is that your phone appears on your PC like a storage device or memory stick. Drag and drop music files on to it and Android will do the rest. This is the same for ripped CDs and music purchased from myriad stores, and you can purchase music on your Android device from whichever download or streaming store you choose - not just iTunes.
You can also sign up for and use Google Music to transfer your files.
If for some reason you don't have your music on a PC or laptop (or Mac), you will have to do that first. On an old iPod of ours we used TouchCopy from WideAngle Software to do this, but it cost around £25. Once your music is on your computer, you can simply attach your Android via USB and drag-and-drop the music files.
How to move from iPhone to Android: Move photos and videos from iPhone to Android
It's a similar story to that of moving music files, but with one significant difference. Back up your video and photo files from your iPhone to your PC and you can drag and drop them to your Android phone. Photos will be viewed in much the same way as on your iPhone. Videos you have ripped from DVDs or captured yourself will also play, although you may have to install a third-party media player app.
But videos purchased from iTunes are unlikely to play nicely due to digital rights issues.
Android is host to multiple video services, including Google Play Movies & TV, Netflix and BBC iPlayer. But Google's own media store is nowhere near as well packed as is iTunes in the UK at this stage. Check that your particular handset can install all these apps if you need them.
How to move from iPhone to Android: Move eBooks and magazines from iPhone to Android
eBooks in all formats for which there is no DRM will transfer across easily. Simply back them up to your PC, attach the Android phone and drag and drop them across.
Most of us read digital books and magazines on our phones and tablets via apps such as Kindle, iBooks, Zinio and Newsstand, however. The availability on Android of your preferred service dictates whether or not you will be able to move across books and magazines.
On Android the Kindle works perfectly. Install the app, sign in and your books are there to read. On recent Android OSes you can also install Google Play Books - this is similar to Kindle, so you can check both for the best price. Any books you purchased through iBooks are gone, though. You need an iPhone or iPad to read them.
It's the same story with magazines - you can read PC Advisor on Zinio and Magster as before, but issues of PCA you bought on Newsstand aren't available on your Android phone. Instead you can subscribe to our magazine via Google Play Magazines.
If you have an existing subscription check with the individual publisher to find out what your rights are. Because Google, Apple, Zinio and the others all have fingers in this particular pie we suspect you are unlikely to be able to port a subscription from one device to the other. The best-case scenario is a refund. (See also: Best budget smartphones of 2015: 23 best cheap phones you can buy in UK.)