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How to Switch From iPhone to Android

Not feeling it with your iPhone? Here's a guide on how to switch to an Android device.

Photo Illustration by Tyler Pina

Sometimes things just don’t work out. You invest a lot of time and energy (and money) into the relationship, but you’re not getting what you need. Or you fight constantly about everything, even though you’ve created some wonderful memories together. So, you decide it’s time to break up … with your phone.

But making the switch from the iPhone to Android or vice versa might give you pause. You’ve got all your personal data on one platform, and transferring it to the other seems like a lot of hassle.

I won’t lie. It does require some work on your part, but it’s not as daunting as you might think.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through how to transfer your contacts, calendar, music and photos from your iPhone to your Android device. For several categories, I’ve outlined a couple of different methods to get the job done. I should also note that some carriers and Android phone manufacturers (HTC and Motorola, for example) offer all-in-one migration software, so you may want to give those a try if you’ve purchased one of their handsets.

Tomorrow, we’ll run a similar guide for those wanting to move from Android to iPhone.


If you don’t already have a Google account, you’ll need to sign up for one, since it’s required to do various things on Android devices, including purchasing apps and music from the Google Play Store. (You can still use your email provider of choice, though, whether it’s Yahoo, Hotmail or Outlook, via apps.)

The good news is that if you have a Google account and have your contacts synced to Gmail, all you have to do is enter your account information during the set-up process on your Android phone, and they will automatically transfer to your new device. But if not, here are some other options:

Method 1: Use iCloud

  • On your iPhone, go to Settings > iCloud, and turn on Contacts, if not already enabled. This will sync your address book to Apple’s cloud service.
  • On your computer, go to and enter your Apple ID and password, and select Contacts from the main page.
  • In the lower left-hand corner, click on the wheel icon and choose “Select All.” Click on the wheel again and select “Export vCard.”
  • Screenshot by Bonnie Cha
  • Next, go to on your Web browser, or log in to your Gmail account, and select Contacts from the Gmail drop-down menu in the upper left-hand corner. Select More > Import.

You may get a message, as I did, that reads, “This preview version of Google Contacts doesn’t support importing yet. To import your contacts now: Go to Old Contacts.” Select that option, and then click on Import Contacts from the menu on the left.

    Screenshot by Bonnie Cha
  • Choose where you saved the VCF file from step 3, and Gmail will then import your contacts.
  • To merge any duplicate entries, choose More at the top of the Google Contacts page and select “Find & merge duplicates.”

Method 2: Use a third-party app

There are many third-party apps that can help you sync your contacts from the iPhone to Android. I tried a free one called My Contacts Backup for iOS and Android, and it worked well, with one caveat*.

    Screenshot by Bonnie Cha
  • Once installed on your iPhone, the app will ask for access to your Contacts. Once you agree, tap Backup. The app then creates a VCF file of all your contacts.
  • Enter your email address when prompted and then open that message on your Android phone to automatically import your contacts from the attached VCF card.
  • Tip: If you had iMessage (Apple’s messaging service for iPhones) enabled on your iPhone, be sure to turn it off before switching to your Android phone. Otherwise, messages sent from other iOS devices may not be delivered to your Android handset. To do this, on your iPhone, go to Settings > Messages and disable iMessage.

* Depending on how many contacts you have, the app may have to strip contact photos due to an email provider’s attachment-size limitations.


Screenshot by Bonnie Cha

There are a couple of different ways to sync your iPhone’s calendar with your Android device, but the easiest method I tried was with a third-party app called SmoothSync for Cloud Calendar by Marten Gajda. It’s available from the Google Play Store and costs $2.86, but I think it’s worth it.

  • Make sure your iPhone calendar is synced to iCloud by going to Settings > iCloud > Calendar on your iPhone.
  • Install the app on your Android device, and enter your Apple ID login and password.
  • Select which calendars you’d like to sync with your new device, and tap Finish. That’s it!


Method 1: Use Google Music Manager

  • Download and install Google Music Manager on your computer. You’ll have to enter a credit card number during the set-up process, but you won’t be charged anything for the standard service.
  • After launching the app, a pop-up window will ask what you would like to do. Select “Upload songs to Google Play.” Another prompt will ask, “Where do you keep your music collection?” Select iTunes or another folder if you keep your files elsewhere.
  • Google Music Manager will then show you how many songs and playlists it found, and ask whether you want to upload them all or manually select them yourself. You’ll also have the option to set up the software so that it automatically uploads songs that you add to iTunes in the future.
  • Screenshot by Bonnie Cha
  • Sit back and let Google Music Manager take care of the rest. Depending on how much music you have in your iTunes library, it might take a while. For example, it took about four hours to transfer 2,500-plus songs from my iTunes library.

Method 2: Drag-and-drop

If you don’t want to use Google’s software, or don’t feel comfortable having a credit card on file, you can manually transfer your songs from iTunes to your new Android phone. It requires a little more work, though.

  • Connect your Android phone to your computer via USB cable. If you’re using a Mac, you’ll also need to install the free Android File Transfer app.
  • If you’re on a Windows PC, locate your Android device and your music files (most likely under Music > iTunes > iTunes Media > Music). Then drag the desired files from one folder to the other.
Screenshot by Bonnie Cha

On the Mac, drag music from your My Music library in iTunes into the Music folder on the Android File Transfer app.


Again, there are multiple ways to migrate your photos from iPhone to Android, including the drag-and-drop method and third-party apps. But chances are you’re going to be taking a lot of photos and video with your Android device, so it’s a good idea to keep some of your phone’s storage free for all the new memories.

Screenshot by Bonnie Cha

Using a cloud service will allow you to do that and still view your old photos. Google has a guide on how to do that with its Google+ service here. Another option is Dropbox.

  • Install Dropbox on both your iPhone and Android device. Sign up for an account if you don’t already have one. The free basic subscription has a two gigabyte limit, though there are ways to upgrade that.
  • On your iPhone, go to the Files tab and tap on the three circles in the upper right-hand corner. Select Upload File > Photos and select the images from your iPhone’s camera roll. Actually, before doing that, you might want to create a new folder where you want to store your iPhone photos.
  • Go to the Dropbox app on your Android phone, log in to your account and navigate to where you saved the images. You can then view them from the cloud, download to the Photos app, and more.


Unfortunately, there’s no way to transfer apps from one platform to the other, so you’ll need to download — and in some cases, buy — your favorite apps all over again. The good news is that with many apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Kindle, you just need to enter your account information into the Android version and all of your data will be there.

The Google Play Store currently offers more than 1.3 million apps, so it’s likely you’ll find what you need. But some Apple-specific features, like Apple Pay, won’t work on Android.

One other thing to keep in mind: If you work in any Apple iWork apps like Pages or Numbers, save the documents in Office format so you can work and edit them on your Android device using apps like DataViz’s Docs to Go or Microsoft Office Mobile.

It’s easy to stick with what’s comfortable, but what’s comfortable isn’t always what’s best for you. Switching smartphone platforms will take some time and effort, but it could be the beginning of a beautiful new relationship.

Check back on Friday for our guide on switching from Android to iPhone.

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