Google Makes It (a Bit) Easier for iPhone Users to Switch to Android

Posted on December 15, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Android, iOS, Mobile with 5 Comments

Google Makes It (a Bit) Easier for iPhone Users to Switch to Android

A new update to the Google Drive app for iPhone makes it easier to switch to Android. But this method is readily available elsewhere too.

This is a topic I’ve not written about that much before, at least not directly. But I’ve been pushing a cloud services-based data storage strategy for years. And anyone who uses broadly-supported email/contacts/calendar services like those provided by Microsoft or Google, and broadly-supported photo backup services, like those provided, again, by Microsoft or Google, should have little issue moving between any phone ecosystems.

There are of course exceptions.

For starters, many iPhone users are non-technical. And like PC users before them, they often don’t think in terms of data portability and simply keep everything on that one device. That’s a mistake. A huge mistake. And that’s true even if you have no plans to move to a new kind of phone. After all, what happens if that phone is lost or stolen?

And there are some forms of data that are not easily moved between phone platforms (or even phones on the same platform in some cases). For example, standard SMS/MMS messages. I don’t personally care if I lose text messages, but I know this is a big deal for some people. (I suppose this could be solved by sticking with app-based messaging solutions that are available on both iOS and Android, but I don’t do that either. And I know some carriers offer their own cloud backup and restore for SMS/MMS too.)

I glossed over this when I wrote about the Pixel XL a few months back, but Google’s new handsets come with a nice hardware/software solution for moving off of iPhone. You can find out more from Google’s Switch to Pixel website, but the basic gist is that is that Google provides a cable in the box and software that lets you pull “contacts, calendar events, photos, videos, music, SMS messages, iMessages and more” from your iPhone to your new Pixel.

That’s neat if you fall into that non-technical category and/or want your text messages … assuming of course you bought a Pixel.

But if you’re making the move from iPhone to another Android handset, Google now has another solution: Thanks to a new update to its Google Drive app—Drive being Google’s cloud storage solution, something akin to OneDrive or Dropbox—you can now use that app to help make the move.

Google discusses this process on its Switch to Android website. The short version: You backup your contacts, calendar, and photos and videos to Drive on your iPhone, and then you can access that information to your new Android handset. Because it’s in the cloud. In other words, Google is simply implementing my general advice to use the cloud to make your data—and thus you—more platform portable.

And as Google notes, don’t forget to turn off iMessage when making the switch. Apple’s proprietary service is like a cancer that makes switching artificially more difficult. Note, however, that this method won’t help bring your text messages to the new phone.

Note, too, you could use many other cloud services to get to the same place. And while Google Photos is the ideal way to backup photos and videos from your phone, I also use OneDrive everywhere.


Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Comments (5)

5 responses to “Google Makes It (a Bit) Easier for iPhone Users to Switch to Android”

  1. 548

    Thank you very much for this!  Transferring my texts from my Windows Phone to my Pixel XL was a royal pain (especially with no SD card on either phone).  Glad to see iOS users can have it a bit easier.

  2. 9077

    Great news, finally switching my g/f from an iPhone that keeps freezing, over to a Nexus 6P. 

  3. 5553

    And Hillary made it easy to vote Trump.