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Guide: Switching from iPhone to Android

Make The Switch

Are you an iPhone user, ready to take the plunge into Android, but don’t know where to begin? Well, folks, put your minds at ease… we’re here to help. Let’s take a look at some steps that you will want to know during your transition.

First suggestion: if you’re not using Gmail as your default email client… start. This, of course, doesn’t go for things like Exchange, but your webmail client should be Gmail. Android phones, by default, require you to either sign in with a Gmail address or set one up on the spot during the initial phone setup. So, as long as you’re using their email services, you may as well be familiar with it and plan on utilizing all the dynamic features it offers. The Android OS is made by Google, so it should come as no surprise that they want you to use their email client. Remember, though, your Gmail account will also be synced with other Google services, such as contacts and calendars.

This tutorial will assume a couple of things:

  • You have iTunes installed and synced with your iPhone
  • You’re using the computer you sync your iPhone with
  • The computer you are using is running Windows XP SP3, Vista or 7
  • You have your Android phone with a MicroSD card and know how to access the files on it

If these parameters are met, then let’s get started.



We’ll begin by syncing your iPhone contacts over to Gmail. First off, it will be good for you to know that only the following information will move over:

  • People’s names and job titles
  • Company names
  • Email and postal addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • IM names, including the type of service
  • Notes

That being said, the instructions are quite simple. According to Google:

  1. Connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to your computer using the USB cable.
  2. Open the iTunes application.
  3. Select your iPhone and click the Info tab.
  4. Check the Sync Contacts with option and select Google Contacts from the drop-down menu.
  5. Click Configure and enter your Google username and password.
  6. iTunes Contact Migration

This will move all of your iPhone contacts over to your Google account, which will be synced to your new Android device during it’s initial setup.



This is where it gets a little tricky, and also begins to cost a little bit of money. Since Apple isn’t big on allowing access to the file structure of the iPhone, we’re going to have to rely on some third-party software. First off, download this software (free) and install it onto your PC. Then, click here to open up iTunes and download SMS Export to your iPhone ($4.99) and get it rolling. Make sure to export it in text format.

Once you have the exported text file and your new Android device in hand (already setup), move the file onto the root of the MicroSD card. Now you’ll need to download an app from the Android Market, called “SMS Migrator”. it costs about $2.20. Make sure that USB Storage is turned off on the phone (this option will be in the slide down menu from the top of your screen when the phone is plugged into your PC), run SMS Migrator and choose the text file you put on the MicroSD, and let the app do the rest.


You may have heard it around the rumor mill that Android and Exchange don’t get along. While Android may not handle Exchange as well as the iPhone does, it still does a good job. This step is as simple as opening up your email app on your Android phone and setting up your Exchange account. This will sync up your Exchange email, but not your calendar. In order to get that running, you’ll need to sync up your Exchange calendar with your Google calendar. Unless you’re running HTC Sense, which integrates your Exchange calendar into the phone’s calendar, you’ll need to install some software on the computer that has your outlook client connected to Exchange. Instructions can be found here (free) or here ($14.99, more features), and make sure you utilize the 2-way sync option.


Because things like photos, music, movies, etc are all stored locally, they’re quite simple to move over to your new device. It’s as simple as locating them on your computer and moving them over to your Android phone’s MicroSD.


Things To Get Used To

Remember, guys… these types of transition have a learning curve associated. It took me about a week to get used to the fact that my homescreen was more than just shortcuts to apps, and that all that stuff was in the pull up menu. It took me awhile to find widgets I liked and would use to put onto my homescreens. It took me a long time to get used to the slide down notifications menu at the top. The interface is way different, but in my opinion, more intuitive.

Buttons. Oh lord, did I ever have to get used to buttons. The iPhone has two buttons, one of which you only really ever use for lock and power. My Hero has 6, plus a trackball with a clicker. This also took me a long time to get used to, and I honestly never thought I would use them… but I do now, all the time. Your first instinct, when finished with something, will be to hit that all powerful home button… it’s a habit you’ll have to break. And remember, with Android, apps run in the background, so even when you press the home button, that app you were just in is more than likely still running in the background, taking up memory. You should also look into a task killer, so that you can fully close apps that you know are safe.

Another large difference is manually handling your music. It’s really just as simple as moving all of the music you want on your Android device over to a folder on your MicroSD card, and whatever music app (yes, you have choices!) you have will likely just search through your card and display the metadata (Artist, album, song name, etc.), so there’s usually not a need to rename that music you may or may not have gotten from a legitimate source. Of course, if you would like auto-sync features for your music, pictures and movies, give doubleTwist a try. For those of you coming from the iPhone, the interface will look very familiar. It looks and functions a lot like iTunes.

Also, all your “app” purchases will now be handled through the Android Market. It comes preinstalled, and is basically the App Store for Android. The checkout process is a little different, in so much as it uses Google’s checkout service instead of iTunes account integration.

I hope these guidelines will help any of you heading from Apple’s platform to Google’s, and make sure that you read this article over carefully before venturing into the world of mobile data migration. Take some time, get to know your phone. Read the manual, check out the settings in the menu, become familiar with what you’re jumping into. While it can seem overwhelming at first, just keep in mind that, like most other things, it’s not as hard as you think it is once you dive in.

An original article by Dustin Karnes

6 Responses to “Guide: Switching from iPhone to Android”

  1. I have Mac OsX… Can you give instructions for migration for that as well? Thx!

  2. I also have Mac OSX. I would really like to find out more about the SMS integration on a Mac…Thanks!

  3. Use Wine.

  4. I had issues with iTunes sync-ing to any of the available options. Ended up using an app called Bump available on both market places – managed to copy all contacts across at once! :)

  5. Is there a way to transfer apps
    Iv sunk lots of money into the AppStore and I don’t want to do it again

  6. I synced iTunes/iPhone with my gmail but only my email addresses appear on gmail account, not my phone numbers.
    The apps I paid for on the advice of the link above only give me the option of moving sms from my phone to PC which serves little to no purpose.
    So I still face the problem of how am I going to move my iPhone contacts to my Android???

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