Jumping ship: how to go from iPhone to Android

One of the things we’ve heard from readers lately is that they’re ready to make a switch from their iPhones, with many citing the big screens of the Samsung Galaxy Note, Samsung Galaxy S3, and HTC One XL handsets as reasons.

“I want a big screen,” they tell us, “with more room to browse the web and watch movies on the go,” highlighting one of the most noticeable factors that Android handsets are leading with.

But how do you go about doing this? Is it easy to move your contacts, emails, and apps? What do you need to do if you want to jump ship from Apple to any of the number of Android phones out there?

Thinking of switching from Apple to Android? You're not the only one.

Before we start

Phones with Android mostly rely on one thing: access to Google.

If you’re opposed to having a Google account because you don’t like Google, you’re going to need to get over that really quickly, because the fact of the matter is, an Android phone is pretty useless without a Google account.

Google Drive requires it. Buying apps from the Play Store needs it. Google Plus relies on it.

Given that Android is a Google technology, you can expect that you need a Google account in order to make an Android phone a worthy purchase. It’s no different to Apple needing your details for the iTunes Store when you had to buy apps and games there, or connecting to the iCloud.

So if you’re considering heading to Android and don’t have an account yet, head to Google and get one. It’s free, and it will let you connect up to Google’s free mail service, calendar, and document editing services, as well as let you download apps, games, books, and films from Google’s Play store.

A different world, a different ecosystem

It’s probably not hard to figure out that Google and Apple are two very different companies, but did you know that the operating systems running on the iPhone (iOS) and Android handsets are very different?

They’re not even remotely the same, which is why Apple is the only manufacturer with iOS, while Google allows lots of manufacturers to use Android on mobile devices.

So if you’re considering switching, you need to know first and foremost that any apps you’ve purchased on iPhone will not work on an Android phone.

Games and apps purchased between these two marketplaces are completely incompatible.

That means if you’ve spent hundreds of dollars on games and apps on iOS, they won’t work on your new Android phone. If you’re going the opposite way – Android to iPhone – the same thing applies to you, too.

There are, however, Android versions of apps you find on iOS, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TripView, Dropbox, Chrome, Angry Birds, and many others, as well as the countless apps that are now pre-installed to pretty much every handset under the sun.

For instance, you still get a calculator on Android, it’s just not made by Apple. You still get a native web browser, it’s just not Safari. You still have access to mail accounts, Google Maps, and YouTube, they’re just different apps.

But any app you’ve purchased from the Apple AppStore cannot come with you when you jump ship, as the operating systems are completely different.