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How to Switch From Android to iPhone

Not sweet on Google's candy-themed Android mobile operating system? Here's how to switch to the iPhone.

Photo Illustration by Tyler Pina

Welcome to the second episode of “S/He’s Just Not That Into You: Smartphone Edition.”

As I noted yesterday, there may come a point where you realize that you and your smartphone’s operating system might not be the best match. It may be that you’re not getting what you need from the platform’s features, or maybe you’re tempted by the offerings of another. Hey, it’s okay — we’re in a judgment-free zone here.

In Part 1, I showed you how to make the switch from iPhone to Android. And, as promised, here is its companion — a step-by-step tutorial on how to move from Android to the iPhone. Again, making the switch requires some work, but it’s completely doable without expert assistance. And if you run into any problems or are at a complete loss, remember that Apple offers free in-store help at its retail locations for transferring data to your new iPhone.

Contacts and calendar

Method 1: Migrate from your email account and social networks

    If you’ve been using an Android device, it’s very likely that you have a Google account. If so, this will make moving your information to the iPhone easy.

    Screenshot by Bonnie Cha
  • First, make sure you have Sync enabled on your Google account. On your Android device, go to Settings > Accounts (or Accounts & Sync, or something similar). Select Google and turn on Sync if it isn’t already on.
  • Next, on the iPhone, go to Settings > Mails, Contacts, Calendars > Add Account.
  • From the list, choose Google, and enter your account information.
  • On the next screen, choose what information you want to sync — Mail, Contacts, Calendars or Notes. Obviously, you’ll need to have contacts and calendar enabled to port that information to the iPhone. Tap Save in the upper right-hand corner, and iOS will import the data.

You can repeat this process for any other email accounts you have, including Yahoo or Outlook.

You may have contacts and calendar appointments associated with various social networks like Facebook and Twitter. To sync those, simply download the apps from the iTunes store and then enter your account information.

Method 2: Use a third-party app

If you find that all of your contacts didn’t copy over using Method 1, you can also try using a third-party app. Previously, I highlighted using My Contacts Backup to sync your iPhone’s address book to Android, but it also works in reverse. I used it to migrate contacts from my Nexus 5 to the iPhone 5 with no problems.

Screenshot by Bonnie Cha

Another solution that worked well and is recommended by Apple on its support site is an app called Copy My Data by Media Mushroom. It’s a free app for iOS and Android, and can wirelessly transfer data between two devices.

  • Install and open Copy My Data on both your iPhone and Android phone. On the iPhone, you’ll need to give the app permission to access your contacts, calendar, photos and reminders, if you so wish. Also make sure both devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
  • On your Android phone, choose whether you want to sync over Wi-Fi or from a backup stored on Google Drive. (I tested the former.)
  • The app will then search for other devices connected on the same Wi-Fi network. When your iPhone appears, tap on it and select “Copy data to selected device.”
  • Enter the PIN number displayed on the Android app into the iPhone app (this is for security). Select what you want synced — contacts, calendar, photos, video — and tap Next to begin the sync process. Depending on how much data needs to be transferred, it can take a few minutes.


Method 1: Use Google Play Music

If you bought music through the Google Play Store, or you subscribe to the company’s monthly music service, you can continue to enjoy the tunes on your iPhone by downloading the free Google Play Music iOS app. Just sign in to your Google account after launching the app, and you should have full access to your music library.

Method 2: Drag-and-drop

If you’d rather use the iPhone’s native music player, or you have music stored locally on your Android phone, you can transfer them over using your computer and iTunes.

  • Create a folder on your desktop to temporarily transfer the music from your Android phone to your computer.
  • Connect your Android device to your computer via USB cable. If you’re using a Mac, you will need to download the free Android File Transfer app.
  • From your computer, navigate to where you have your music stored on your Android device.

On the Windows 8.1-based HP Spectre x360 I used, it was under This PC > Nexus 5 > Internal storage > Music.

On a Mac, go to Android File Transfer > Music.

    Screenshot by Bonnie Cha
  • Select the songs that you want to transfer and then drag them over to the folder you created in the first step of this section.
  • Open iTunes, click on the Music tab in the upper left-hand corner, and then drag the music files from the folder into iTunes.
  • Connect your iPhone to your computer. Then, in iTunes, click on the iPhone icon in the top toolbar, go to Music and press Sync.


Method 1: Use iTunes

This option is very similar to the steps outlined above for Music.

  • Connect your Android phone to your computer via USB cable.
  • Find where you have photos and video stored on your Android device.

On a Windows PC, it will likely be found under This PC > Phone name > Internal Storage > DCIM > Camera.

On the Mac, go to Android File Transfer > DCIM > Camera. Also, check the Pictures folder.

  • Select the photos and videos you want to transfer and drag them to your Pictures folder.
  • Screenshot by Bonnie Cha
  • Connect your iPhone to your computer. Launch iTunes, select iPhone from the top toolbar and check the Sync Photos box. Select the folder and then click Sync.

Method 2: Use a third-party app or a cloud service

Screenshot by Bonnie Cha

Copy My Data also works well for wirelessly transferring photos and video from Android to iPhone. It synced all the files from my Nexus 5 to the iPhone 5 without incident.

Depending on how many photos you have, you may want to avoid migrating all images to the iPhone. Undoubtedly, you’re going to be taking snapshots with your new phone, and you don’t want to run out of internal memory. This is where a cloud service comes in handy.

As an Android user, you might already be storing your photos to the cloud via Google+. In that case, you can download the free Google+ iOS app and access your photos that way. Or you can try other cloud solutions, like Dropbox. My colleague Katie Boehret wrote a handy guide to using these various online photo storage options.


As I noted in my guide on switching from iPhone to Android, you won’t be able to transfer any of your apps when changing platforms. Instead, you’ll have to download and purchase them all over again from Apple’s App Store. It’s a pain, but with many apps, like Instagram and Pinterest, once you have them installed and enter your login details, all of your information is still there.

The iTunes App Store currently offers more than 1.4 million apps, and many of Google’s apps and services like Google Maps and Google Docs are available in an iOS version.

Change is always scary, but change can also be good. If you’re not happy with your current smartphone situation, it may be worth the time and effort to make a switch.

This article originally appeared on

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