Q: I’m fed up with Apple and ready to switch to an Android phone. But before I do, what do I need to know?
Our smartphones have become such a vital part of our daily lives, which can make switching platforms a bit of a challenge. Simple differences in how certain functions are displayed or accessed can be disorienting at first, so make sure you’re up for the challenge.
The good news is that the learning curve going from iOS to Android is not nearly as dramatic as switching from Mac to Windows, or vice versa.
Before you switch
The more time you spend preparing for the transition before you take the plunge, the fewer “surprises” you’ll likely encounter.
The first thing you need to do is review your critical apps in two ways: Are they available on the Android platform? And will you have to repurchase any of them?
If you’ve amassed a large collection of apps that you’ve paid for in Apple’s App Store, you’ll either need to go without them or budget for the cost of repurchasing them in Google’s Play Store.
iPhone users can text each other without having a cell signal because Apple’s iMessage works over Wi-Fi. You won’t have this capability when you switch to an Android phone.
As a precaution, you should let Apple’s servers know that you are no longer able to receive iMessages so you don’t miss messages from your friends with iPhones.
Back up to Google Drive
Since your “ecosystem” will change, you’ll want to transfer your contacts, calendars, photos and videos to Google’s platform using Google Drive before you get rid of your iPhone.
If you’re already using Gmail or other Google services, the transition will be very simple as you’ll just need to sign into your Google account when you get your new Android phone. Some Android manufacturers also offer apps to help with the transition, such as Samsung’s Smart Switch, Sony’s Xperia Transfer or Google Pixel’s direct connect.
If your email address doesn’t end with @iCloud.com, @Me.com or @Mac.com, the transition to either Gmail or the built-in mail app on your Android phone should be pretty simple.
But, if you want to continue to use an Apple email account on your Android device, then you’ll need to configure one of the Android mail apps to continue to retrieve your mail from Apple’s servers.
Apple Music and iTunes
If you’re a subscriber of the Apple Music streaming service and want to continue using it, there’s an Android app for that. Your downloaded music should transfer over fine, unless your music collection includes really old songs. Older music you downloaded through iTunes (pre-2009 protected AAC audio files) won’t play until you remove the copy protection on them.
Possible pain points
You’re not going to see a numeric badge for unread messages unless you dig through various third-party mail apps that are less than desirable; visual voicemail requires you to download your carrier’s voicemail app; and those alert sounds that you’re used to are going to be different — so be prepared to change!