Setting up a new smartphone can be a pain, but switching from one platform to another is downright intimidating, especially if you have a lot of apps and photos. Many people switch from Android to iPhone, but some do the opposite, moving from iPhone to Android in search of more hardware and customization options. If you’re a longtime iPhone owner who wants to explore Android, here’s how to become a green bubble (without losing your stuff in the process).
What you’ll need
How long it will take
The length of the transfer depends on how many apps and how much data you need to move. For example, I moved a total of 56 GB across four different email accounts, and it took about 30 minutes from start to finish. If you’re transferring 200 GB of data or more, it could take an hour or longer.
Before you begin
To get started, back up all of your iPhone’s data. You can use iCloud, use the Google One storage app, or store everything on a computer.
Next, turn off and deregister iMessage in order to properly send and receive text messages on your new Android smartphone. Go to your iPhone’s Settings menu, tap Messages, and turn off iMessage. In addition, while you’re in your iPhone’s Settings menu, tap FaceTime and turn off FaceTime. Then, to deregister iMessage, visit Apple’s support page for iMessage and scroll down to the “No longer have your iPhone?” section. Enter your phone number, click the confirmation link, and enter the code that Apple sends to your phone to complete the process.
Once you’ve disabled iMessage on your iPhone, you can start transferring your information and app settings to your new Android phone. You can do this in a few different ways, namely by using a direct connection over a USB-C–to–Lightning cable such as the one your iPhone probably came with, using an app over Wi-Fi, or using Google One to transfer your photos, contacts, and calendars.
How to transfer your apps and data with a USB-C cable
First, power on your new Android phone and tap Start. Connect the phone to your Wi-Fi network, and then choose to copy apps and data from your old device. When prompted to use your old device, tap Next and connect your iPhone to your Android phone with a USB-C–to–Lightning cable. Select the data (apps, contacts, messages, photos) that you want to transfer.
How to transfer your apps and data over Wi-Fi
If you don’t have a USB-C–to–Lightning cable, you can transfer your data over a Wi-Fi connection using your Google account. During the initial setup process with your new Android phone, start the transfer by selecting Next when prompted to use your old device. Select the No cable? option and then tap Copy without cable. Choose Switching from iPhone device? and from there sign in to your Google account. Install the Switch To Android app from Apple’s App Store on your iPhone to transfer your contacts, calendar events, photos, and videos over Wi-Fi.
If you’re switching from an iPhone to a Samsung smartphone
If you bought a Samsung phone, you can use the dedicated Smart Switch app for the Samsung transfer process. You can either use a USB-to-Lightning cable to connect your old iPhone to your new Samsung phone or transfer data wirelessly.
To transfer data via cable, connect the two phones. Your iPhone will prompt you to tap Trust and enter your iPhone passcode (if you have one). Then tap Next on your iPhone. When prompted, select the apps and data you want to transfer; Samsung then gives you the option to skip or install its own apps on your new device. Complete the transfer.
To transfer data wirelessly, open the Smart Switch app. Tap Receive data, select iPhone/iPad, and select Get data from iCloud instead at the bottom of the screen. Next, enter your Apple ID and password and tap Sign in to iCloud; when you receive a prompt on your iPhone, tap Allow to see the verification code. Enter that verification code on your Samsung device, tap Connect, and on your iPhone tap OK to clear the code pop-up. Select the apps and data you want to transfer, and then tap Transfer to start the process.
How to move your iCloud data
To access your iCloud media on your Android device, you need to take a few additional steps. First, go to Apple’s Data and Privacy page and log in using your Apple ID and password. Select Request to transfer a copy of your data. You’ll see the number of photos and videos, with the option to choose the transfer destination. Select whether you want to bring your photos and videos over to Google Photos and click Continue. You’ll see a prompt to sign in to Google; do so, check the box to Add to your Google Photos library, and continue. Once your data transfers to your new phone, you can move your iCloud photos and videos to Google Photos. This entire process ensures that your data remains encrypted.
Data from your iPhone’s Notes and Reminders apps will not automatically transfer as part of the iCloud process. To retain that information, you have to copy and paste your notes to a note-taking app such as Google Keep and do the same for your reminder info, putting it in an app such as Tasks.
This article was edited by Arthur Gies and Caitlin McGarry.