How to Switch From Android to iPhone

A woman holding an iPhone and an Android phone.
Hadrian / Shutterstock

Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android are two mobile platforms with very different approaches to security, privacy, and software selection. Migration from one to the other can be an adjustment.

If you’re moving from the Android ship to an iPhone, here are a few things to keep in mind.

There is an official “Move to iOS” support service

When you set up your new iPhone for the first time, you will be asked if you want to set it up as a new phone, transfer content from an old iPhone, or migrate from Android. The last option should get you started quickly.

To migrate, download the Switch to iOS the Google Play app on your Android device. This application allows you to transfer data wirelessly to your new iPhone. The data you can transfer includes contacts, messages, photos and videos, bookmarks, email accounts, calendars, and some free apps.

Data from an Android phone is transferred to an iPhone.

The service is useful because it places this data in the corresponding iOS applications, such as the Phone application (contacts), Safari (bookmarks) and Photos (media). Free apps like WhatsApp, Slack or Facebook can also be downloaded and ready to use.

You will need to validate your passwords and account credentials on your new device (including transferred email accounts).

Control your new iPhone

On the iPhone iOS operating system, there are no “back” or “multitasking” buttons that remain on the screen as on Android. Instead, you access these functions via gestures or button presses (depending on the iPhone model you have).

If your iPhone doesn’t have a physical home button (like iPhone X, 11 or later), swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access the Home screen. To access the application switching menu, swipe up and hold. To go back, you can swipe left to right from the edge of the screen. You can quickly switch between apps by swiping left and right on the virtual home button bar at the bottom of the screen.

If your iPhone has a physical home button with Touch ID (like iPhone 8 or the new SE) tap it to access the home screen. Press the Home button twice to display the application selector and browse the applications. Swiping from the left edge of the screen will take you back one step in most menus and applications.

IPhone 11 Pro and iPhone SE 2.

The control center is a useful feature that provides quick access to airplane mode, multimedia controls, Bluetooth devices and system shortcuts. On an iPhone without a physical home button, swipe down from the upper-right corner (where the clock is located). On other iPhone models, swipe up from the bottom of the screen.

You can customize Control Center to display the shortcuts that are most useful to you. This provides convenient access to features such as the flashlight, calculator, wallet and accessibility enhancements. You can also use this menu to adjust the screen brightness and volume, or activate portrait lock to prevent the screen from rotating.

Many iPhone functions can be done with voice commands and Siri. To access Siri, press and hold the side (power) button on newer Face ID iPhones. Press and hold the physical Touch ID button if your iPhone has one.

Siri results showing what time it is in San Francisco.

Finally, it is also easy to take screenshots. On an iPhone without a physical home button, simply press the side (power) and volume up buttons simultaneously. If your iPhone has a physical home button, press it and the power button simultaneously. Screenshots are sent to your Photos app, but you can also tap the overlay to edit and share one instantly.

Most of the controls you are used to on your old device, such as pinching to zoom, are the same. You can also long press an item to display a context menu for functions such as opening a link in a new tab or deleting an application. If you want to go to the top of a list or web page, just tap the top of the screen.

Understand Apple’s limitations (and benefits)

iOS is a fairly locked-in operating system due to Apple’s “walled garden” approach to mobile devices. The company maintains a high degree of control over what people can do with its products and what type of software is allowed.

The most obvious difference is that you can’t install apps from anywhere on an iPhone. The vast majority are limited to the App Store, the software catalog organized by Apple, which has all been checked and approved. These apps are also subject to Apple’s strict rules.

However, there are certainly advantages to Apple’s cautious approach. Due to the rigorously enforced policies of the App Store, you don’t have to worry too much about malware infiltrating your device.

On iOS, apps are also sandboxed to prevent them from accessing your data unnecessarily or damaging your device. Applications must request permission to access items such as your location or your contact list. You must also allow apps to access the camera or microphone.

A request for authorization from the Yelp app to access the owner’s location on an iPhone.

At any time, you can check your application permissions and remove anything that bothers you. This is one of the best aspects of Apple’s approach to third-party software. You have granular control over which applications have access to what. You also don’t have to accept all requests from an app to use it.

The flip side is that all the apps that Apple doesn’t want in its storefront are banned. This is why you will not find a BitTorrent client in the App Store. There is Ways to Work Around This, however, for the more dedicated, but most people learn to live with it.

Apple restrictions are a theme throughout the operating system, although the grip has loosened in recent years. You cannot change your default browser from Safari, but you can install custom keyboards. The home screen and launcher have not changed since the first iPhone launch in 2007, but at least you can use dark mode now.

One last thing you might miss from your old Android device is the removable microSD card for backing up and transferring data. There is no such expandable storage on an iPhone. You will need to transfer files via Finder on macOS Catalina, iTunes on Windows, AirDropor iCloud.

Familiarize yourself with Apple services

Now that you have an iPhone, you have access to many services reserved for Apple customers, including FaceTime, Apple’s voice and video chat service. FaceTime works between Apple devices, so anyone with an Apple ID and a device can chat for free. You can use the dedicated FaceTime app or, in the Phone app, find the contact you want to talk to, then tap the FaceTime icon.

Likewise, iMessage is Apple’s device-to-device instant messaging protocol. The service integrates perfectly with the Messages application. If you chat with someone and see blue chat bubbles, you’re communicating via iMessage. Green bubbles indicate the messages received by SMS. iMessage is free and works wherever you have an Internet connection.

iCloud is Apple’s cloud storage service. You can use it to back up your device to the cloud, store files, or sync data between devices. You can access many of these features via the web at You will probably have to pay for additional storage if you want to use iCloud to back up your device regularly. You only have 5 GB of free space.

To upgrade, go to Settings> [Your Name] > iCloud. There you can see how your iCloud storage is being used. Tap “Manage storage” to get more space, or turn on or off iCloud syncing for apps and services.

We recommend that you leave everything on and purchase a small amount of storage. for backups. That way, if you lose or break your iPhone, you can restore all of your data from the cloud.

One last thing you may want to configure is Apple Pay. It allows you to make contactless payments via your iPhone (and Apple Watch, if you have one). You can do this under Settings> Wallet and Apple Pay.

After adding your credit card, you can access your wallet by double-pressing the side button on iPhone X or later. On iPhone SE or iPhone 8, simply place your finger on the Touch ID sensor and hold it near the payment device.

Home screen, search and widgets

Since you can’t replace or customize the iOS “launcher” like you do on Android, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the few options you have.

You can move an application by long pressing on its icon and waiting for it to flicker. When the application icons flicker, you can rearrange them as you see fit. Use the Home gesture or press the Home button to save your changes. If you drag one icon over another, it creates a folder. It’s about as deep as organizing apps on iOS.

This is why the search bar is a boon. You don’t have to remember where you stored an application or what folder it is in. Just swipe up to display the search bar and start typing. You can search for apps, people, preference panels, or items in apps (like notes in Evernote or documents in Google Drive). You can even make sums and start conversations.

It’s the ultimate way to interact with your iPhone. When you scroll down the search bar, you should see “Siri Suggestions”. If you are a habitual creature, Siri will probably correctly predict the application you want. For example, if you launch the Podcast application every morning at 8 a.m., it will be listed under “Siri Suggestions” once the wizard has learned your routine.

The iPhone also has widgets, although they are not very useful. The Apple version of the widgets displays information and not much else. To see the widgets, swipe left to right on the home screen. At the bottom you will see an Edit button; tap it to rearrange, hide, or add different widgets.

Pressing a widget will generally launch the corresponding application. Widgets are great for checking headlines and sports scores, or for looking at information like exchange rates and stock prices, don’t expect the Android level widget feature.

Continue to use Google services through apps

Just because you gave up on Android doesn’t mean you left Google. In fact, Google’s iOS apps are some of the best third-party services the platform has to offer.

the Gmail the app is, by far, the best way to use your Gmail account. It is also the only app Google considers worthy of push notifications. Unlike third-party email applications that spoil your labels, Gmail for iPhone works perfectly because it is an extension of the main service.

Google Drive is another stellar app that works perfectly on iOS. It is arguably more useful than the Apple Files app, which is how you interact with your iCloud storage. Google also offers separate apps for Documents, Leaves, and Slides if you need to work on the go.

The icons of all Google apps for iOS.

You can also download Google Chrome for iphone. In terms of performance, it’s little more than a shell for Safari, but it lets you sync your tabs, bookmarks, and history with any other version of Chrome that shares your login information. There is also a base Google application for search, navigation and Google Goggles.

However, these are just the main Google services; do not forget Youtube, Google Maps, Hangouts, Google Home, or Google Calendar, just for just name a few.

Even if you use the Gmail app for email, you can also link your Google Account under Settings> Passwords and accounts. This will allow you to synchronize additional data, such as your Google contacts, Google Calendar and your notes.

IPhone privacy and security

The way Apple designed and controlled the iOS ecosystem has earned it a reputation for security and privacy. While no platform is bulletproof, iOS has proven over the years that it isn’t as susceptible to malware and outside interference as Google’s laissez-faire alternative.

You no need for antivirus or anti-malware software for iOS. Either way, they wouldn’t be allowed to run continuously or comb your device against potential threats, given Apple’s sandboxing and the way the iPhone handles multitasking. The best thing you can do to protect your iPhone is to keep it up to date.

Apple frequently releases updates for its devices, including older models. Each year, iOS receives a major upgrade in the form of a new version. It is generally announced in June and available in October. The upgrade usually updates the core applications and adds new features and performance improvements. For example, iOS 13 added dark mode, better editing and media privacy controls, and much more.

WhatsApp notification with hidden preview on iPhone.
Tim Brookes

The platform intrinsically protects your privacy. This is because Apple is a hardware company, not an information company. IMessage and FaceTime use end-to-end encryption by default.

Apple has also repeatedly refused to provide “back” access to iPhones to governments and law enforcement. The facial recognition fingerprint used by Face ID never leaves your iPhone and is never accessible to third-party applications or services.

You can also now “Connect with Apple”, which creates an anonymous user token to connect to services without giving up your Facebook or Google credentials. The company has demonstrated its commitment to confidentiality.

With that in mind, it’s always healthy to question the motivations of billion dollar companies like Apple.

Master your new iPhone

The iPhone is an incredibly easy to use device. You really can’t spoil anything by playing with it. So browse the menus and options and get to know iOS better.

When you’re ready, check out some tips for keep your iPhone safe. You can also learn how to take better iPhone photos and that privacy settings you may want to change. You can even use your iPhone as a webcam for better video calls on your Mac or PC.

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