How to switch from Android to iPhone

Our step-by-step tutorial will get all your Android content onto your new iPhone easily.

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What about my apps?

Apple’s Move to iOS app will automatically install free apps on your iPhone that it finds on your Android device if they can also be downloaded for free from the App Store.

Apps that you have on your old device that are also available from the App Store for a fee will be listed in your Wish List. To find your Wish List, open the App Store app and tap the three lines (burger icon) at the top-right of the Featured screen. It is up to you to decide whether you then want to pay for and install those apps.

If you choose to migrate to iOS manually, then you will need to visit the App Store on your iPhone and search for the apps you have been using on Android. In most cases, you’ll find that app, or a close equivalent, available on the App Store.

If you need to repurchase an app you have already paid for on Android, it may sometimes be worth contacting the software developer to explain you already acquired its app for Android and now need it for iPhone. As long as you have a purchase invoice to prove you didn't grab it from a “free” app site, some developers may offer you a free install of the iOS version.

Where do I get apps?

You can purchase apps only through the App Store. Apple strictly controls the apps it allows to be sold on that store, making them much safer and highly unlikely to contain hidden viruses, keyloggers or spyware. Android users can purchase software from lots of places, but these tend to be less well policed, and some apps can be insecure.

Can I still use Google services?

Most Google services are made available as apps for your iPhone. Anything you have saved in a Google service will be made available on your iOS device using a Google app, or online using your iPhone’s Safari browser.

Open the App Store on your iPhone and search for the Google services you want to use. You’ll find Google Maps, Google Translate, YouTube, Chrome, Google Drive and all manner of other Google apps there. Here is a complete list of Google services provided through iOS apps.

But it is worth testing Apple’s equivalent services now that you are on an iPhone, since they are built to act seamlessly on the platform — Apple’s Siri voice assistant can spring into life when you say, “Hey Siri,” for example, whereas Google Now requires you to open the app before it works.

If you’ve chosen to migrate to an iPhone because you’ve decided to avoid using Google services, you don’t need to install them. You can even go one step further and change the default search engine used by Safari from Google to DuckDuckGo, Yahoo or Bing in Settings > Safari > Search Engine.

What about my peripherals?

While docks, most phone cases and some other items probably won’t fit your new device, almost all the rest of your existing Android peripherals may also work with your new iPhone.

  • Wireless Bluetooth headsets, speaker systems and some other wireless accessories can be paired with your iOS device in Settings > Bluetooth.
  • Peripherals that use a headphone jack will work fine with most older iPhones, but recent models will work with these items only with the small Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter you get when you buy a new iPhone.
  • You can purchase replacement Lightning-to-3.5mm adapters for $9 from the Apple Store, if yours is lost or missing.

Getting to know iOS

Becoming familiar with a new operating system takes a little while, but iOS is pretty easy to get around. Once you’ve transferred your data and installed the apps and those Google services you want to continue to use, you should find it easy to begin making use of the system. Trial and error is the best way to learn this stuff, but here are a few pointers to help build your relationship with iOS.

The Home button

You won’t find a “back” or task-switcher button on your new iPhone, but you will see the big Home button on the lower front of the device. It is your primary navigational tool (apart from your finger). All you need to remember is that if you ever get lost, all you need to do is tap the Home button to get back to the main menu. It’s also worth swiping your finger up from the bottom of the Home screen (or within many apps) to explore Control Center, which lets you access Android-like widgets to help you get things done. Apple’s iOS 11 mobile operating system makes some big changes to this feature.

[Also read: The 50+ best features in iOS 11]

At the time of writing, Apple is expected to introduce a new family of iPhones. There is speculation that one or more of these models will lack a Home button. If this is true, that will change how people interact with iOS devices, but we will be sure to explain what’s new when the product is released.

An introduction to iOS Settings

When you transferred content from your Android to your iPhone, you may have spent time in Settings. This is a highly important part of iOS 11, since it is where you can tweak a whole range of system, service, application and user interface features. Here are three useful Settings you may want to tweak on your new device — you don’t have to, but doing so should give you some sense of how settings work:

LED Flash

Make your iPhone’s torch flash when a call or notification comes through in Settings > General > Accessibility, toggle LED Flash for Alerts to on.

Silent keyboard

If you don’t want the iPhone’s keyboard to click, you can switch the sound off in Settings > Sounds > Keyboard Clicks, toggle to off.

Power miser

You can make your iPhone battery last much longer if you switch to Low Power Mode in Settings > Battery > Low Power Mode.

You may also want to read 50+ essential iOS 10 tips you’ll use every day.

Make yourself at home

One of the best ways to personalize your smartphone is to choose what wallpaper you want to use. That’s easy on an iPhone: Open Settings > Wallpaper > Choose Wallpaper. Here you can use one of Apple’s default sets of Dynamic, Stills and Live wallpapers, or select an item from your Photos library. If you choose to use an image of your own, make sure it’s 1,334 by 750 pixels or larger, since that’s the resolution of the device and it will look better that way.

You’ll also want to choose a ringtone. You can do this in Settings > Sounds. Scroll down the page and look for Ringtone. Tap this and you will be able to set a Vibration pattern and choose among a huge variety of tones. Tap Store and you can forage through thousands of ringtones Apple sells through iTunes. You can even make your own ringtones.

Be secure

Security matters. If you’ve been using Android devices, you’ve probably read the many scare stories about it in comparison to iOS. Apple frequently issues software patches to all current devices, and around 85% of existing iPhone users are running devices equipped with the latest OS release. One of the advantages of Apple’s mobile platform is that it is not fragmented.

To check whether there’s an update available for your new Apple device, find and tap the Settings icon, then tap General > Software Update. If one exists, you’ll be told. It’s always a good idea to upgrade your software, since Apple makes regular security and usability enhancements in them.

When setting up your device, be sure to use an alphanumeric password, since this makes the iPhone much more secure.

Read the manual

Apple offers a free book, The iPhone User Guide, to help you get a grip on your new device. It’s written in plain English, has clear and useful images and is designed to help you quickly figure out what your new device can do. You can access it as a PDF or via iBooks. You’ll find it at this link, or you can use this one to download and read it using the iBooks app on your iPhone.

More ideas

I’ve written extensively on some of the things you can do with your iPhone. If you’re new to the platform, this selection of guides may be especially helpful:

8 useful iPhone tips for busy professionals

16 essential iOS typing tips for iPad and iPhone

20+ iPhone tips you’ll use frequently

How to manage and use iOS Notifications

How to improve Mac, iPhone & iPad battery life in 26 tips

3 hidden iOS Settings you need to know

Most importantly, enjoy your new iPhone.

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