How to move from iPhone to Android

For the past three years – since the launch of the iPhone 3GS – I’ve been firmly in the iOS camp. For the past week, however, I’ve been testing the HTC One (you can read my verdict on the device in our HTC One review).

Making the move from iOS to Android was a damned-sight less painful than I anticipated. Within a matter of minutes, I had all of my contacts, music and other data transferred or accessible from the HTC One.

If you’re thinking about making the move from iPhone to Android, here’s how to make the transition as easy as possible.

Contacts

I thought shifting contacts from one OS to the other was going to be tedious, but it turns out HTC was one step ahead of me. The HTC One comes with a proprietary transfer wizard that connects to your old phone via Bluetooth and (theoretically, at least) sucks up all your contacts, photos and other data. All too predictably with Bluetooth, the phones didn’t really rub along, and the only data it would accept from my iPhone was the contacts – which were imported perfectly. The HTC also has an effective deduplication tool, which merged contacts appearing in both my iPhone and Google address books.

There are alternative methods of transferring contacts from iPhone to Android. iTunes allows you to synchronise your iPhone contacts data with a Google account (which you’ll need for the Android phone, anyway), although this means you’ll need to synchronise your iPhone with your PC/Mac first. Once you’ve connected the iPhone via USB, click on your iPhone’s name in the left-hand panel and then click on the Info tab. Check “Sync Address Book Contacts” and select “All contacts” and then select “Sync Google Contacts”. Pop in your Google login and password and your contacts should then synchronise, ready for downloading to your Android phone when you enter your Google account credentials.

Apple also details a method of synchronising contacts directly from iOS, using CardDav syncing, although I haven’t tried that myself.

Music

My iPhone contained about 10GB of music that had either been ripped from CDs in iTunes or bought directly from the iTunes/Amazon MP3 stores. Initially, I was intent on transferring all these files to the HTC One, but soon decided it wasn’t worth the hassle, for two reasons.

A few months ago I had backed up my entire iTunes collection to Google Music. That meant I could stream all my ripped and purchased albums using the Music app that comes pre-installed on the HTC One and other Android phones. The other reason I decided not to bother was my Spotify subscription, which gives me access to pretty much any album under the sun. I actually prefer the layout of the Android Spotify app to the iOS version, too.

Obviously, I sacrifice the convenience of having a locally stored music collection when I’m stuck on the Tube or a nine-hour flight across the Atlantic, but Google Music and Spotify allow you to download a selection of albums/playlists to your device, so with a little forward planning that can be mitigated against.

Photos

The HTC One transfer wizard failed to suck up my iPhone photos because of the Bluetooth language barrier, but there are several other effortless ways to move a photo collection from one device to another.

The HTC One comes pre-equipped with a Dropbox app, and since that was already installed on my iPhone, I simply created a folder for all the iPhone photos I wanted to keep and uploaded them to the cloud. It would be equally painless to do likewise with Google Drive or SkyDrive.

Bookmarks and other settings

Google Chrome has been my browser of choice on both desktop and mobile for some time, largely because of the way it seamlessly synchronises bookmarks, saved passwords and other settings across devices. The Chrome browser that came pre-installed on the HTC One had already latched onto my Google account, so everything was transferred without me having to lift a finger.

If your iPhone bookmarks are trapped in Safari, you can sync them via iTunes to a desktop version of Safari and export them to Chrome from there.

Apps

In short, shifting from iPhone to Android was an entirely stress-free operation. Within 20 minutes, I had transferred everything I wanted from my iPhone 4S onto the HTC One, and could begin on the process of downloading apps.

I’ve said before on the PC Pro Podcast that one of the factors holding me back from moving to Android was the investment I’d already made in iOS apps, but after I’d shifted across there was only one app that I really missed: TomTom satnav. TomTom does have an Android app, but having already paid £30 for the app itself, and another £25 for the annual traffic subscription, the thought of paying for both again did stick in the craw.

Yet, even after factoring in the cost of repurchasing TomTom (Google Navigation is not up to snuff, in my opinion), I’m still going to jump ship. Now for some hard negotiations with my phone network…

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